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Best Raspberry Pi alternatives (March 2019)

Here is a selection of single board computers for homebrew projects, automation, and even AI and ML, with prices ranging from around $10 to over $250.

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Topic: Hardware
Coral Dev Board
1 of 19 Google

Coral Dev Board

This one is specifically aimed at developers working with AI and ML.

The Coral Dev Board is a $150 board that features Google's Edge TPU machine-learning accelerator for low-powered devices that sit on the edge of a network. 

Coral Dev Board Tech Specs:

  • NXP i.MX 8M system on chip 
  • Quad-core Cortex-A53 and Cortex-M4F,
  • Vivante GC7000 Lite Graphics graphics processor
  • 8GB of eMMC storage
  • 1GB of LDDR4 RAM
  • Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO (802.11b/g/n/ac 2.4/5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 4.1

Highlights:

  • SOC + ML + Connectivity all on the board running a derivative of Debian Linux called Mendel

More information.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+
2 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+

This is the latest update of the Raspberry Pi boards aimed at industrial applications and businesses. You can think of this 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 less reliable SD cards, and comes with support for two cameras, two displays, and extra GPIO pins.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ Tech Specs:

  • Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.2GHz
  • 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • 32GB eMMC Flash memory

Highlights:

  • Doesn't rely on SD Cards for storage
  • Smaller form factor
  • Availability until January 2026
  • Support for more cameras and displays

More information

RockPi 4
3 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

RockPi 4

ROCK Pi 4 features a six core ARM processor, 64bit dual channel 3200Mb/s LPDDR4, up to 4K@60 HDMI.

It can run Android and also certain versions of Linux, and comes in two models -- Model A and Model B, each model has 1GB, 2GB or 4GB RAM options.

RockPi 4 tech specs:

  • Rockchip RK3399 SoC featuring a 64-bit hexa core processor with dual 1.8GHz Cortex-72 and quad 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 cores
  • Mali T860MP4 GPU
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB 2.0/3.0
  • Camera interface
  • Model B features Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Highlight:

  • Good documentation
  • Model A and B options allow hardware to be customized for the job at hand

More information.

Libre Computer AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato)
4 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Libre Computer AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato)

This is pretty close to being a full-on Raspberry Pi 3 clone, having a similar form-factor, port layout, and feature set. What is stand-out about the Le Potato is that it features HDMI 2.0 support, allowing it to output 4K.

Le Potato tech specs:

  • 2GHz quad-core A53 S905X
  • Mali-450 MP2 GPU
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • 8GB to 64GB eMMC storage

Highlights:

  • 4K HDMI output
  • Source code available for a variety of platforms, including Ubuntu, Linux 4.14 LTS, Buildroot with Linux 4.9, and Android builds up to and including 8.0

More information.

LattePanda Alpha 800
5 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

LattePanda Alpha 864

The LattePanda Alpha 864 is a beast of a board both in terms of price ($358) and performance. This board is powered by 7th-generation Intel Core m3 processor (as found in MacBooks and other laptops), 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM, optional 32GB/64GB of EMMC 5.0 storage, and Intel HD 615 graphics.

With all this hardware, it's no surprise that this board can run Windows 10 Pro comfortably.

LattePanda Alpha 864 tech specs:

  • 7th-gen Intel Core m3-7y30 CPU
  • Intel HD Graphics 615
  • 8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz Dual-Channel RAM
  • 64GB eMMC
  • 3x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1x USB-C port supporting Power Delivery
  • Dual M.2 ports

Highlights:

  • Powered by a laptop-grade processor
  • Dual M.2 ports
  • USB-C port
  • Ships with Windows 10 Pro

More information.

UDOO X86 ULTRA
6 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

UDOO X86 ULTRA

The UDOO x86 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.

Intel Quad Core up to 2.00 GHz

  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 2 x miniDP++
  • eMMC 8 GB

More information.

Pine H64 Model B
7 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Pine H64 Model B

The Pine H64 Model B is another alternative to the Raspberry Pi that supports 4K video playback, USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, and Gigabit Ethernet.

Pine H64 Model B tech specs:

  • System-on-a-chip: Allwinner H6
  • CPU: Quad-core, Arm Cortex A53-based processor
  • GPU: Dual-core Mali-T720 MP2
  • Memory: 1/2/3GB LPDDR3
  • Storage: eMMC flash module, micro SD card (bootable), 128 Mbit SPI flash
  • Video: HDMI 2.0a output
  • Audio: 3.5mm stereo earphone/mic plug
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • USB: 2 x USB 2.0 host, 1 x USB 3.0 host
  • Expansion: 2 x 20 Raspberry Pi 2-compatible GPIO header, mini-PCIe connector, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module header, SDIO 3.0 and UART
  • Misc: IR receiver

Pricing has been announced as $24.95 for 1GB RAM, $34.95 for 2GB, and $44.95 for 3GB of RAM.

More information.

nanopim4.png
8 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

NanoPi M4

Looking for a board with plenty of USB ports? this is the board for you!

In addition to a six-core processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, support for 4K displays and hardware-accelerated 4K video playback, the NanoPi M4 also features four USB 3.0 ports, along with a USB Type-C port. It also includes an interface that supports two 13-megapixel cameras.

  • Six cores, 2GHz 64-bit dual-core Cortex-A72 and 1.5GHz quad-core Cortex-A53
  • Mali-T864 GPU
  • 4GB LPDDR3-1866
  • Ethernet
  • 4 x USB 3.0 Type-A ports and 1 x USB Type-C

More information.

2017-11-3016-01-32.jpg
9 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

MinnowBoard Turbot Dual Ethernet Quad-Core

The MinnowBoard Turbot Dual Ethernet Quad-Core is a powerful quad-core board featuring 2GB of RAM and 8MB of SPI flash storage. It also features twin Ethernet ports for flexible wired connectivity.

Another awesome feature that this board offers is an M.2 B slot for WAN cards, as well as a SIM slot. This gives the board amazing flexibility... but at a cost.

At $175 this is not a cheap board, but it does offer a number of high-end features.

More information

NanoPi Neo4
10 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

NanoPi Neo4

The Nano Pi Neo4 is the cheapest six-core, single-board computer to be released, ad at $45 the price isn't too bad either. The only downside to this board is that there's only 1GB of RAM, which may introduce a bottleneck for some applications.

NanoPi Neo4 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

Highlights:

  • Powerful processor
  • Faster RAM than found in the Raspberry Pi 3 B+
  • 4K output support

More information.

t32g05-900x630.jpg
11 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

NanoPC-T3 Plus

The NanoPC-T3 Plus is the bigger brother of the NanoPi 2 Fire, and features an octa-core processor which has enough power for commercial and industrial applications.

  • Samsung S5P6818 octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 up to 1.4GHz
  • 2GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 8/32GB of flash storage
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Two camera interfaces
  • HDMI
  • USB 2.0

More information

2018-09-0614-38-02.jpg
12 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

NanoPi Neo

A cheap, $12 quad-core powered board that's ideally suited for hobbyists.

  • Allwinner H3 quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 up to 1.2GHz
  • 256MB/512MB of RAM
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • USB 2.0

More information

NanoPi NEO Plus2
13 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

NanoPi NEO Plus2

As the image shows, the NanoPi NEO Plus2 is a tiny board, less than half the size of the Raspberry Pi, but it packs a performance and storage punch and doesn't skimp on the features.

  • H5 quad-core A53 ARM Cortex processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB eMMC storage
  • 2 x USB ports
  • Gigabit ethernet

This board comes in two configurations: 512MB of RAM and 8GB eMMC storage for $32, and 1GB of RAM and 8GB eMMC storage for $44.

More information

2018-09-0614-30-32.jpg
14 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

HiKey 970

The HiKey 970 is essentially a PC running Android.

Making use of with LPDDR4X 1866MHz memory, and featuring 64GB of UFS 2.1 storage, Bluetooth, WIFI, and GPS , this is a board specifically aimed at developers, especially those looking for maximize accelerated AI capabilities that are not present of most other development platforms.

At a whopping $299 it's not cheap, but it certainly has the horsepower to handle whatever task you want to throw at it.

  • ARM Cortex-A73
  • ARM Mali G72 MP12 GPU
  • 6GB LPDDR4X 1866MHz RAM
  • 64GB UFS 2.1 flash storage, with Micro SD slot
  • Bluetooth/WIFI/GPS

More information

Parallella
15 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Parallella

The Parallella computer is a high performance, credit card sized computer based on the Epiphany multi-core chips from Adapteva.

Starting at $99, the Parallella can be used as a standalone computer, an embedded device, or as a component in a scaled out parallel server cluster.

  • 16-core Epiphany RISC SOC
  • Zynq SOC (FPGA + ARM A9)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1GB SDRAM
  • Micro-SD storage
  • Up to 48 GPIO pins
  • Open source design files
  • HDMI, USB (optional)
  • 5W energy consumption

More information

2017-08-0112-40-56.jpg
16 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

VoCore2

A coin-sized Linux computer that is totally open-source, and costs $20.

This is a small, low-cost, totally open-source (both the hardware and software) computer that's ideal for projects such as IoT or building your own custom router.

  • MT7628AN, 580 MHz, MIPS 24K
  • 128MB, DDR2, 166MHz
  • 16M NOR on board, support SDXC up to 2TB
  • 802.11n, 2T2R, speed up to 300Mbps
  • 1 port/5 ports, up to 100Mbps
  • Support USB 2.0, up to 480MBit/s

I especially like the VoCore2 Ultimate package, which for $45 represents excellent value.

More information

Raspberry Pi Zero W
17 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Raspberry Pi Zero W

OK, OK, I know that technically the Zero W is a member of the Raspberry Pi family, but this one is too awesome to not list! This has become my go-to board to use for projects. I literally have a handful ready to go at any one time.

Why?

Well, it's not just that it comes in at $10 -- which means I don't have a huge amount of cash tied up in a project -- but also because of the very impressive feature set it offers:

  • 1GHz, single-core CPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • Mini-HDMI port
  • Micro-USB On-The-Go port
  • Micro-USB power
  • HAT-compatible 40-pin header
  • Composite video and reset headers
  • CSI camera connector
  • 802.11n wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4

More information

ODROID-XU4
18 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

ODROID-XU4

NOTE: Currently out of stock! Due back in stock April.

ODROID-XU4 is a new generation of computing device with more powerful, more energy-efficient hardware and a smaller form factor, and costing only $59.

Offering open source support, the 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.

  • Samsung Exynos 5422 Cortex-A15 2GHz and Cortex-A7 Octa core CPUs
  • Mali-T628 MP6 (OpenGL ES 3.1/2.0/1.1 and OpenCL 1.2 Full profile)
  • 2 GB 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
  • Size : 83 x 58 x 20 mm approx. (excluding cooler)
  • Linux Kernel 4.9 LTS

More information

BBC micro:bit
19 of 19 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

BBC micro:bit

We move to the other end of the price spectrum to a board that's pretty much disposable.

While the BBC micro:bit is primarily aimed at schools, its low price (about $16) and ease of use makes it a great tool for learning and prototyping on. This one is not only great for kids who might be prone to handling things roughly, but it's also great for those jobs where you don't want to have a lot of money tied up in hardware.

The micro:bit is powered by a 32-bit ARM Cortex processor and comes with a built-in accelerometer, magnetometer, and Bluetooth.

A unique feature of the micro:bit is the integrated 5x5 LED matrix that offers 25 individually programmable red LEDs to use as a basic display or output.

More information

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