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 many alternatives to the Raspberry Pi that bring to the table their own specialist features.
So, what are the top raspberry Pi alternatives that you should be considering for projects in 2020?
Let's take a look.
Udoo x86 II Ultra
- See it now: Udoo
This is a powerful SBC that can easily double as a desktop PC, thanks to its quad-core Intel Pentium N3710 2.56 GHz processor and 8GB of RAM. The main downside of all this power is, well, put simply, the price.
At $267, you're looking at a board that costs as much as a cheap laptop. But you do get a monster of a board that can tackle some heavy-duty workloads.
- See it now: ODROID
At $49, we're looking at a price that's a little saner than the Udoo x86 II Ultra, but it's still dearer than a handful of Raspberry Pi boards. However, this board is powerful, energy-efficient, and can run various flavors of Linux, including the Ubuntu and Android.
LattePanda Alpha 864
- See it now: LattePanda
Powered by an Intel Core m3 processor, 8GB RAM and 64GB eMMC, M.2 interface SSD support and rich GPIO extension ports, as well as having the ability to run Windows 10, this is a perfect platform for developers.
Again, this is less a disposable SBC -- it costs $409, and that's without a Windows 10 license -- and more a desktop replacement for those who don't need the footprint of a desktop system.
It also comes with dual OS support so you can run Linux alongside Windows 10.
Banana Pi R64
- See it now: Banana Pi
What's awesome about this board is the four Gigabit LAN ports that allow you to transform this $68 board into a custom open-source router running OpenWrt. Adding an optional 802.11 ac 4x4 dual-band Wi-Fi module (priced at around $40) opens up doorways into IoT and gateway devices.
- See it now: FriendlyArm
A big bottleneck in the Raspberry Pi design is the microSD card storage. The NanoPC-T4 eliminates this by incorporating the NanoPC-T4 has a 16 GB eMMC onboard, along with an M.2 2280 connector, allowing for high-speed PCIe SSD storage to be used. This makes the board extremely versatile for high-end tasks, and a great platform for machine learning and AI.
Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+
- See it now: Raspberry Pi
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.
- See it now: HardKernel
A small $35 board. Its small size and low power consumption make it a great choice for wearables and embedded controllers, where size and weight are important considerations.
- See it now: VoCore
A coin-sized Linux computer that is totally open-source, and costs under $20.
This is a small, low-cost, totally open-source (both the hardware and software are open-source) SBC that's ideal as the brains for low-cost projects such as IoT or building your own custom router.