Six clicks: Single board computers: Banana Pi, Raspberry Pi, and more

Six clicks: Single board computers: Banana Pi, Raspberry Pi, and more

Summary: We all know about the Raspberry Pi, but it's far from the only single-board computer out there that makers might find both useful and affordable.

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  • UDOO

    UDOO, pronounced You Do, was one of the first Raspberry Pi rivals.

    This SBC is built around a Freescale i.MX 6 ARM Cortex-A9 CPU Dual/Quad core running at 1GHz. For an SBC that's a lot of processor and to take care of its resulting heat it includes large heat sinks. That makes it, by SBC standards, much bulker than most such computers.

    On the other hand, the $134.99 UDOO also comes with three separate graphics accelerators for 2D, OpenGL ES2.0 3D and OpenVG. To get those graphics to the world the UDOO uses HDMI. For programming room, it has 1 GB of RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 ports, and it uses a Micro SD card for booting and storage.

    Finally, for operating systems, the UDOO supports Linaro Ubuntu, Android 4.3, Debian, and Yocto.

  • BeagleBone Black

    A more affordable SBC, the $45 BeagleBone Black is powered by a Texas Instruments AM335x 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor. It also comes with a 3D graphics accelerator, and a NEON floating-point accelerator. For memory and storage it has 512MBs of RAM and 2GBs of on-board flash storage. As for secondary storage and booting it uses the usual micro-SD card. For networking it uses 10/100MB Ethernet and graphics output is done by both S-Video and HDMI.

    The BeagleBone family runs Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, and Android. In addition, the BeagleBone has its own Linux distribution: Angstrom. It also comes with a great deal of support and several books on how to get the most from this SBC. This makes it, to my mind, one of the best SBCs for beginners.

  • Banana Pi

    The Banana Pi, despite the name, is not a next-generation Raspberry Pi. Instead it's more of a Raspberry Pi clone. Like many similar SBCs from Chinese manufacturers, it's essentially a more powerful Raspberry Pi with, of course, a higher price tag.

    This sized SBC costs just over $74 after shipping. It comes with a dual-core, Cortex-A7-based Allwinner A20 system-on-chip running at 1GHz. The Banana Pi also has 1GB of RAM and built-in Gigabit Ethernet. It also also includes a SATA port, a micro-USB port, and a Display Serial Interface (DSI) for graphics.

    For operating systems, the Banana Pi supports Android 4.4, Ubuntu, Debian, Raspberry Pi Image, and the Cubieboard Image. If you like the Raspberry Pi a lot, but crave more power, then the Banana Pi is worth a look.

Topics: Hardware, Linux, Open Source, Software Development

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18 comments
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  • Looks like the last frame is missing the text..

    Just the last frame.
    jessepollard
    • Now it is frame 4 of six

      Though the image is the same.
      jessepollard
  • The offical website is wrong

    The Banana Pi official website is lemaker.org, the bananapi.org seems to be a fake as its content is too little.
    zt_tony
    • offical website

      http://www.banana-pi.org/
      sinovoip-02
    • They're resellers

      Lemaker.org is the manufacturer. All the other websites are distributors. For example, http://www.bananapi.com.au is the Australian Distributor.
      xQx
  • Pika μWarp

    Along similar lines is the Pika μWarp Open Source device here -
    http://www.pikatechnologies.com/english/View.asp?x=1296

    Ideal for network traffic manipulation because of its 2 Ethernet ports and network processor.
    1000069361
  • Nice round-up but

    ...that annoying slider mode. I'm on a regular PC/browser and clicking on each slide makes normal reading tedious. Please publish articles in single page mode for easy scrolling.
    josef.weaver
  • Manufacturer of Banana PI in China // SINOVOIP Cherry

    we Sinovoip design & manufacturer Banana PI in China ,shenzhen.
    I would like to share with you our new product Banana PI ,same as Rasberry pi and totally competible with it. but more stronger function than raspberry pi, pls kindly see the enclosed manual of the Banana pi.
    (Dual core, 1GB, Ethernet Gigabit, Android 4.2, support wifi, with power adapter &Arduino)

    You can get intouch with me through: email : cherryjiang@sinovoip.com.cn
    skype ID: sinovoip-02
    or visit our website to learn more about us: www.sinovoip.com.cn

    Anyneeds just kindly let me know.
    Thanks again!
    Cherry
    sinovoip-02
  • Slide Show Stevie at it again

    Steve, give us a one-page option or get lost. Can't use it, no matter what the content. You've been told for years. NO EXCUSE!
    And, yes, we'd all like a very prominent written apology.
    Leo Regulus
  • Got a Banana Pi

    Welcome the age of the low cost mini computers.
    I have three Raspberry Pi's and when I saw the Banana Pi I could not resist trying it.
    It has two cores more speed and a built in Sata port. Seemed like an interesting upgrade.

    I read a long thread about this earlier about ragging about the website
    and not believing they are real. Well.. they are.

    I paid $60 for one through Ali Express that included shipping.
    I have had the Banana Pi about 2 days and have spent a total of
    4 hours with it. It took 17 days from the time of order to receive it here in the USA.

    Things you should know.
    1) You need a 2amp 5V supply, I picked up a 2.5amp USB charger from
    Walgreens(local drug store) and it worked just fine. It uses a micro USB input
    to power the board.

    2) I recommend a good 8GB SD card to start with. I have a San Disk Class 10.The image for the Raspberry Pi image they provide requires an 8GB card.

    3) It does not come with any directions. Just a white box and a static bag. Just like raspberry pi's. The website/forum have plenty of information for anyone to get started. www.lemaker.org

    I have tried both the Android and Raspberry Pi images.

    They work and the UI performance makes my Raspberry PI seem so slow.

    Installation, for Android
    After fixing my own mistake of not formatting the image correctly onto the SD drive
    the Android name came up as the Banana Pi booted.

    But alas the image file is set up for Chinese.
    I spent a little time guessing what Android setting in the GUI would allow me to configure this to
    English. Once I found it I was on to my next challenge. The built in ethernet adapter was not set to on.
    I poked around in the settings until I found the location to switch it to on in the settings.
    After that I was off to the races.

    You log onto the Play Store via Play.Google.com.
    I downloaded FireFox, Hangouts,

    I was able to surf the web, and and basically do anything I could do with my smart phone except with Android.
    I nabbed ESFile server and was able to connect to my NAS drive

    The performance was decent. I type pretty quickly and the keyboard input did not lag at all. The web pages came up in good order and basically it did very well.
    I am not sure everything is up and running and configured to my liking yet as I only spent about 2 hours on it but I could not find a fault or anything that I could not work around. Horray a $60 dual core mini Android computer.

    On the Raspberry Pi Side, installed the image and it started up without a hitch, expect the keyboard was setup for the UK. The PI GUI was very responsive and really outperformed the Raspberry PI. That said I have read about some pinouts being
    different so not everything is the same. Everything seemed to work OK. I surfed the web and tried only a few things.
    I never used the Raspberry GUI for the projects I did with my other Pi's were all headless. The browser seemed to render fine.

    Next up on my plate is to try and get the SATA port going so I can see how this thing
    flies with a real hard drive.

    So that's a report from someone who owns both Pi's.
    Would I recommend this for a novice, well I think with the support on the forums you
    can get by, for a semi pro if you want a low powered mini computer I dont see a better deal
    around, if so let me know I will order that as well.
    I am getting into automating/computerizing my environment.
    Cheers Bob
    ChicagoBob123
    • Test and benchmark

      Interesting test and benchmark vs Rapsi : http://hardware-libre.fr/tag/banana-pi/

      Seems to be really powerful but many resellers are scams for the moment.
      HWL said that first production batch is for this month.
      el_panda
  • Can't wait to try the Banana Pi

    The Raspberry Pi has finally brought us an affordable mini computer that can be adapted to an infinite variety of applications. I own 3 Raspberry Pis and I can't say enough good things about them. I also can't thank the community enough for developing the Linux distributions that run on the Raspberry Pi. I've used the Raspberry Pi mainly for running small servers and they are performing extremely well. They've already saved us quite a bit in electrical costs, and they have the realiability of GNU/Linux which as we all know can run for hundreds of days or more without a single issue.

    The Banana Pi should allow us to run more of a "desktop" environment. Sure, the Pi can handle a GUI such as X11 but the Banana Pi brings in more resources so that it will function pretty much like a desktop. Dual core, 1 GB or RAM, and SATA support... it doesn't get any better than that for the power consumption and size (fits in the palm of your hand). Looking forward to this and many more just like it.
    Chris_Clay
    • then contact with me

      then contact with me for the banana pi sample :)
      skype: sinovoip-02
      email: cherryjiang@sinovoip.com.cn
      sinovoip-02
  • easy to buy a Banana PI Sample

    skype: sinovoip-02
    email: cherryjiang@sinovoip.com.cn
    link:http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Raspberry-PI-camera-1GB-Memory-10-100-1000-Ethernet-RJ45-optional-WIFI/302756_1738027357.html
    sinovoip-02
  • Easy to buy a Banana Pi sample link

    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Raspberry-PI-camera-1GB-Memory-10-100-1000-Ethernet-RJ45-optional-WIFI/302756_1738027357.html
    sinovoip-02
  • UDOO - major omission

    When I looked further into UDOO, I learned that it has an Arduino built in--Explains the Arduino looking headers. I didn't see that mentioned in this piece. That would seem to make it a wonderful platform for physical computing.
    Ian Smith
  • Big problem

    A BIG problem with most of these boards is that they still have a video connection while crt-based displays are almost all gone or need repairs for most who still have one and parts getting scarcer. The manufacturers should get rid of these connections and reuse the real estate, which is at a premium on these minuscule boards for something much better, even if the board is slightly more costly.
    bart001fr
  • Banana Pi Benchmarks (vs Raspberry Pi)

    I just ran an extensive benchmark comparison between the Raspberry and Banana Pi. You can find the results here: http://gleenders.blogspot.be/2014/07/banana-pi-benchmarks-banana-pi-vs.html
    glnds