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Best Raspberry Pi alternatives in 2020: Banana Pi, Odroid, NanoPi, and more

Need a single board computers for a project? Here are a selection, with prices ranging from around $10 to over $250.

For many projects, dedicating an entire PC to a project is overkill. This is where Single Board Computers (SBCs) come in handy. The best know SBC is, without a doubt, the Raspberry Pi. But there are a number of alternatives to the Raspberry Pi available that can be used to bring their own uniqueness to a project.

So, what are the top raspberry Pi alternatives that you should be considering for projects?

Let's take a look.

Banana Pi M3

A lot of power in a small space.

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The octa-core processor along with the PowerVR GPU makes the Banana Pi M3 one of the best Raspberry Pi alternatives I've used that doesn't come with an eyewatering price tag.

Tech specs:

  • Octo-Core 1.8GHz
  • PowerVR SGX544MP1
  • 8GB eMMC
  • 2GB LPDDR3
  • USB Sata
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0
View Now at Banana Pi

Odroid XU4

A desktop computer in the palm of your hand.

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Powerful but yet energy efficient, this would be my choice if I wanted to replace a desktop computer with an SBC. This board can run various flavors of Linux, including the latest Ubuntu 16.04 and Android 4.4 KitKat, 5.0 Lollipop and 7.1 Nougat.

Tech specs:

  • Samsung Exynos 5422 Cortex-A15 2 Ghz and Cortex-A7 Octa core CPUs
  • Mali-T628 MP6
  • 2GB LPDDR3 RAM PoP stacked
  • eMMC5.0 HS400 Flash Storage
  • 2 x USB 3.0 Host, 1 x USB 2.0 Host
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • HDMI 1.4a for display
View Now at Hard Kernel

NanoPi NEO4

Half the size of a Raspberry Pi.

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If you are looking for a cheap six-core single-board computer, look no further than the NanoPi NEO4, which at $50 is hard to beat. The only downside to this board is that there's only 1GB of RAM, which may introduce a bottleneck for some applications.

Tech specs:

  • RK3399 SoC featuring ARM-based dual-core A72 and quad-core A53 processors
  • Mali T-864 GPU
  • 1GB DDR3-1866 RAM
  • USB 3.0
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet
  • PCIe x2 interface
View Now at Friendly Arm

UDOO BOLT V8

Almost twice as fast as the 13-inch MacBook Pro for VR, AR, and AI projects.

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There's not much that the UDOO BOLT V8 can't handle, from AAA gams, high-end VR, cryptocurrency mining, AI, IoT, edge computing, and much more. But at $418, this is a very expensive board.

Tech specs:

  • AMD Ryzen Embedded V1605B quad core/eight thread @ 2.0GHz (3.6GHz boost)
  • AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics
  • 2x DDR4 Dual-channel 64-bit SO-DIMM sockets with ECC support up to 32gb 2400 Mt/s
  • 32GB eMMC 5.0 High Speed Drive
View Now at Udoo

UDOO X86 II ULTRA

Run all the software available for the PC world!

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The UDOO x86 II ULTRA is something special. It is a powerful x86 maker board and an Arduino 101-compatible platform, combined onto the same board. This combination results in a board that's ten times more powerful than a Raspberry Pi 3. 

But at $270, this is not a cheap "disposable" board (unless your project has deep pockets!).

Tech specs:

  • Intel Pentium N3710 2.56 GHZ
  • Intel HD Graphics 405. Up to 700 MHz
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 2 x miniDP++
  • 32GB eMMC storage
View Now at Udoo

Nvidia Jetson Nano Developer Kit

Comes with support for many popular AI frameworks.

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The $99 Nvidia Jetson Nano Developer Kit is a single-board computer that allows you to work with multiple neural networks in parallel for applications like image classification, object detection, segmentation, and speech processing.

It also comes with support for many popular AI frameworks, like TensorFlow, PyTorch, Caffe, and MXNet. 

There's also a full desktop Linux environment to make it even easier to work with.

View Now at Nvidia

ASUS Tinker Board

A great kit for hobbyists and enthusiasts.

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This board has a number of nice touches that make it great for hobbyists. I particularly like the color-coded GPIO header, which makes it easy to recognize respective pin headers. I also like the detailed silk-screen print on the face of the board that makes it clear where everything goes.

Tech specs:

  • Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288 processor
  • Arm Mali-T764 GPU
  • 2GB Dual Channel DDR3
  • 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth V4.0 + EDR
View Now at Asus

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+

A Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ gutted down for industrial use

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This is a Raspberry Pi board aimed at industrial applications and businesses. Think of it as a Raspberry Pi 3B+ (it features the same Broadcom BCM2837B0 CPU) but without the USB and HDMI ports.

It also features eMMC flash, which replaces the bottleneck that microSD cards create, and comes with support for two cameras, two displays, and extra GPIO pins.

Tech specs:

  • Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit SoC at 1.2GHz
  • 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • 8GB/16GB/32GB eMMC Flash memory, or a Lite variant without eMMC Flash memory
View Now at Raspberry Pi