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The best Raspberry Pi alternatives: Expert tested

We'll help you choose the top Raspberry Pi alternatives that offer solid performance and functionality while suiting a range of budgets.
Libre Computer Board AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato) | Best Raspberry Pi alternative overall
Libre AML-S905X-CC
Libre Computer Board AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato)
Best Raspberry Pi alternative overall
View now View at Amazon
Orange Pi 5 Plus | Best Raspberry Pi alternative for media
Orange Pi 5 Plus
Orange Pi 5 Plus
Best Raspberry Pi alternative for media
View now View at Amazon
Asus Tinker Board S R2.0 | Best Raspberry Pi alternative for hobbyists
Tinker Board S
Asus Tinker Board S R2.0
Best Raspberry Pi alternative for hobbyists
View now View at Asus
Odroid N2+ | Best Raspberry Pi alternative for power
Odroid N2+
Odroid N2+
Best Raspberry Pi alternative for power
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Udoo Bolt V3 | Best Raspberry Pi alternative for speed
Udoo Bolt V3
Best Raspberry Pi alternative for speed
View now View at Udoo

We know how difficult it is to dedicate an entire PC to a project, which requires time, money, and effort. In this situation, single-board computers come in handy, and the best-known single-board computer (SBC) is, undoubtedly, the Raspberry Pi -- known worldwide for its versatility, low power consumption, reliability, and user-friendliness. 

Also: Finding Raspberry Pi: Where to buy the latest model and its alternatives

However, you can still explore alternatives to the Raspberry Pi, especially considering the current shortage and the recent surge in price. Alternative SBCs can be used to customize unique projects and provide improved performance alongside AI and VR support. Other alternatives are rated for industrial use, and some are suitable for programming and educational products or, perhaps, even for taking advantage of ChatGPT applications. 

What is the best Raspberry Pi alternative right now?

We tested and researched the best Raspberry Pi alternatives available based on performance, connectivity and storage, ease of use, and price. Libre Computer Board (aka, Le Potato) is our top pick for the best Raspberry Pi alternative overall due to its features and price in the single-board computer space, proving itself to be a solid single-board computer suitable for beginners and enthusiasts. 

The best Raspberry Pi alternatives of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • Great price
  • Well-made with great documentation
  • Limited capabilities
More Details

This Libre Computer Board is a solid single-board computer at an affordable price. If you're interested in trying out an SBC for the first time and don't want to invest too much into it, this is a great option for you.  

Plus, it offers endless storage expansion via MicroSD cards, which is great if you use it heavily. You will not break any speed records, and it won't be suitable for heavy-resource projects. Still, this board offers great features, including Linux, open-source graphics, video libraries, and UEFI support -- and for only $35.

Customers love the price point and general versatility of this SBC, although some report booting issues.

Libre Computer Board AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato) tech specs: Processor: Amlogic S905X SoC | Graphics: Mali-450 GPU | RAM: Up to 2GB DDR3 SDRAM | Connectivity: 4x USB 2.0 Type A | Ports: HDMI 2.0 | Storage expansion: MicroSD Card Slot | Interface: eMMC Interface | Speed: 100Mb Fast Ethernet

Pros & Cons
  • Upgradable storage
  • Strong performance
  • Supports multiple OS
  • Expensive
  • Customers report support problems
More Details

The $150 Orange Pi 5 Plus board is an excellent Raspberry PI alternative if you're looking for a board suitable for media purposes. 

The Orange Pi 5 Plus does pack a punch -- sporting a Rockchip RK3588 8-core (64-bit) CPU (2.4Ghz), an Arm Mali GPU, 16GB RAM, support for Debian11, Android 12, Ubuntu22.04, Orange Pi operating systems, and a video output HDMI connector at up to 8K. 

Customers report that they are happy with the power and speed of the system as a Raspberry Pi alternative, although some users also say they have experienced support problems. 

Orange Pi 5 Plus tech specsProcessor: Rockchip RK3588 8-Core 64-Bit (quadcore A76 + quadcore A55) up to 2.4GHz | Graphics: ARM Mali-G610 | RAM: LPDDR4/4x up to 16GB | up to 256GB eMMC storage modules | Video: up to 8K @60fps | Connectors: USB, Ethernet (2xPCIe 2.5G LAN)

Pros & Cons
  • Color-coded GPIO for ease of use
  • Packed with features
  • Great finish
  • Pricey at different stockists
More Details

This board has several excellent features that make it ideal for hobbyists. We particularly appreciate the color-coded GPIO header, which makes it easy to recognize respective pin headers. Plus, the detailed silk-screen print on the face of the board makes it clear where everything goes. 

The Asus Tinker Board features an excellent processor, and the 16GB eMMC speed offers enough power for most projects. There is also HD & UHD (4K) video support and various ports, including LAN and USB. You'll find it for $160 at Asus. 

Customers say there is far less support available compared to Raspberry Pi, but they generally like it as a project SBC.

Asus Tinker Board S R2.0 tech specs: Processor: Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288 1.8GHz | Graphics: Arm Mali-T764 GPU | RAM: 2GB LPDDR3 dual-channel | Bandwidth: 802.11 b/g/n | Bluetooth: V4.0 + EDR | Speed: 16GB eMMC

Pros & Cons
  • Various hardware options
  • Powerful
  • Advanced options such as Petitboot
  • Steep learning curve
  • More complicated than a regular SBC
  • Customers report power supply issues
More Details

Powerful yet energy-efficient, the Odriod N2+ would be ZDNET author Adrian Kingsley-Hughes' first choice if he wanted to replace his desktop computer with a single-board computer. 

This SBC is great for advanced users who want more power than a regular SBC. It offers excellent connectivity and can run the Petitboot app. It can also run various versions of Linux, including the latest Ubuntu, and is compatible with AndroidOS. 

Also: How to install Linux on your Raspberry Pi

Amazon sells a version with 4GB RAM for $105, and Hard Kernel sells a 2GB model for $66. Customer reviews indicate that the N2+ is a great home automation and gaming option, although some users have experienced power supply issues. 

Odroid N2+ tech specs: Processor: Amlogic S922X -- 4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.2GHz, 2x Cortex-A53 @ 1.9GHz | Graphics: Mali-G52 GPU | RAM: 2GB or 4GB DDR4 | Interface: eMMC socket with optional 8GB to 128GB | Features: 8MB SPI flash with boot select switch and Petitboot app | Ports: Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI 2.1 port for up to 4K@60Hz | Connectivity: 4x USB 3.0 ports | Speed: 2.4Ghz with Gigabit Ethernet Port 

Pros & Cons
  • Excellent performance
  • Designed for large workloads
  • Rapid speeds
  • Expensive
  • Overkill for most tasks
More Details

There's not much that the Udoo Bolt V3 can't handle, despite starting as a Kickstarter project back in the day (a realm where many projects fail). It's incredibly fast and great for VR, AR, and AI projects, sporting a Ryzen processor and Vega graphics. If you need to load massive files quickly and effectively, the Udoo Bolt V3 will not disappoint. 

The 32GB eMMC speed is unmatched by any other board we recommend. But it's expensive -- at least $361, depending on the stockists. Customers who have used Udoo Bolt V3 acknowledge this high price point but enjoy the sheer power of this SBC.

Udoo Bolt V3 tech specs: Processor: AMD Ryzen Embedded V1202b dual core/quad thread @ 2.3ghz (3.2ghz Boost) | Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 3 | RAM: 2x DDR4 dual-channel 64-bit SO-DIMM Sockets With ECC Support up to 32GB | Speed: 32GB eMMC 5.0 high-speed drive

What is the best Raspberry Pi alternative?

Le Potato is ZDNET's top pick overall due to its affordability and features in the single-board computer space. We've broken down each Raspberry Pi alternative below based on processor, storage, and speed. If one of these qualities is a priority for you, this analysis may help you choose the best single-board computer for you.

Best Raspberry Pi alternative 




Libre Computer Board AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato)

Amlogic S905X SoC


100Mb Fast Ethernet 

Orange Pi 5 Plus

Rockchip RK3588 8-core, up to 2.4GHz

16GB LPDDR4 RAM, up to 256GB eMMC modules

2.4Ghz with Gigabit Ethernet Port

Asus Tinker Board S R2.0

Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288 1.8GHz

2GB LPDDR3 dual-channel, 16GB eMMC

16GB eMMC high-speed drives, overclocking speed of up to 3.6 GHz

Odroid N2+

Amlogic S922X -- 4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.2GHz, 2x Cortex-A53 @ 1.9GHz

2GB or 4GB DDR4

2.4Ghz with Gigabit Ethernet Port

Udoo Bolt V3

AMD Ryzen Embedded V1202b dual core/quad thread @ 2.3ghz (3.2ghz Boost)

2x DDR4 dual-channel 64-bit SO-DIMM Sockets With ECC Support up to 32GB

32GB eMMC 5.0 High Speed Drive

Which is the right Raspberry Pi alternative for you?

Sometimes, you need to get on with a project, so you buy a cheap single-board computer -- or, perhaps, you've just begun exploring the field of SBCs. But if you want to invest in better hardware, you want to ensure you're not wasting money. 

To find the best SBC for you, we suggest starting with a clear idea of the projects you'll use it for. This can be the hard part, but it's worth the time. Getting derailed partway through a project can result in a massive setback that costs time and money.

Next, do some research. How much power and performance do you need? What operating system do you need to use? This SBC guide offers the best Raspberry alternatives so you can find the board that fits your budget and needs.

Choose this SBC...

If you want...

Libre Computer Board AML-2905X-CC (Le Potato)

A budget option for hobbyists and enthusiasts, and the perfect way to explore SBCs.  This Libre model is a great Raspberry Pi alternative for those who want to learn about SBCs without spending a fortune.

Orange Pi 5 Plus

A single-board computer set up for video and media support. The Orange Pi 5 Plus supports up to 8K video processing at 60 fps and has high levels of performance.

Asus Tinker Board S R2.0

While it has a price point on the higher side, the Asus Tinker Board has everything you need for a variety of projects. 

Odroid N2+

A range of hardware options. The Odroid N2+ is a top performer that one of our own authors would select as a desktop PC replacement.

Udoo Bolt V3

A high-end SBC with the kind of performance you would expect from a desktop computer. It's expensive, but the speed and support for VR, AR, and AI projects may make it worth it.

How did we choose these Raspberry Pi alternatives?

The Raspberry Pi is an excellent piece of hardware, but it's been built within specific constraints that enable mass appeal. These SBCs take what the Raspberry Pi brought to the table further with features that allow you to customize your experience. 

Our list includes options personally tested by ZDNET authors and highly recommended products based on customer reviews and feedback, with these factors specifically in mind:

  • Performance: Performance is critical when you consider purchasing a new SBC. We have considered processing power, RAM, and graphics. 
  • Connectivity & storage: SBCs offer a range of connectivity options. Some provide Bluetooth, for example, whereas others only have HDMI and Ethernet. Furthermore, some SBCs include storage, while others provide USB ports for connecting your own drives. 
  • Ease of use: SBCs don't have to be complex, and some of our options include practical color coding or other features to make your projects easier to handle. 
  • Price: Not everyone wants to invest in the most high-spec SBC out there, especially if they are just starting out and exploring their interests. We have considered a range of devices with beginners, hobbyists, and tech enthusiasts in mind. 

Factors to consider when choosing a Raspberry Pi alternative:

When you are selecting your new Raspberry Pi alternative, you should consider the following essential factors:

  • Price: How much are you willing to spend on your new project? The use case matters, too: if you are just starting out, a cheaper SBC should be fine, whereas you might want to spend more on long-term projects. 
  • Project: If you want an SBC for hobbyist projects, you won't need the most advanced or expensive kits out there -- minimal RAM and processing will do. However, if you want to explore the capabilities of AI, for example, you might want to consider a model with higher specifications. 
  • Media: If you intend to use your Raspberry Pi alternative for media, such as streaming audio and video, ensure that the SBC you are considering has the required components and support. 

What's the best way to get started with a single-board computer?

The Raspberry Pi is still the best place to start if you want to get experience with a single-board computer. 

Also: Struggling to buy a Raspberry Pi? It could become a lot easier

These alternatives are a great next step to expand your SBC knowledge. The Raspberry Pi is a great tool for familiarizing yourself with the setup and GPIO pins. It's also a useful tool if one of your kids has an interest in programming that you want to encourage. 

What's a good source for cases for your Raspberry Pi or an alternative SBC?

There are various options. You can find a lot of generic cases out there to protect your Raspberry Pi or alternative SBC, and I recommend getting one. After all, if you're investing in an SBC, you should protect it. 

Also, if you are lucky enough to own a 3D printer, then you'll have an endless supply of them! Alternatively, you can visit the 3D printing marketplace Shapeways to find your perfect case. 

Can you make your single-board computer waterproof?

You can try to waterproof the case by using seals or silicone grease. You could also spray the board with a conformal coating to resist moisture. 

But beyond these steps, there's no way to make them completely waterproof, and you risk damage if you don't keep your electronics away from adverse weather conditions and environments.

Why are Raspberry Pi models so expensive now?

Inflation aside, the cost of Raspberry Pi models -- once only 15 dollars or so -- has increased due to a number of factors. Supply shortages, made worse during the pandemic, have impacted supply and demand, and furthermore, the price of computing components and chips has increased. 

Are there other alternative Raspberry Pis worth considering?

We chose a variety of Raspberry Pi alternatives based on performance, hardware options, and pricing. If these don't work for you, here are some suitable alternatives: 

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