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The best Raspberry Pi boards, accessories and alternative boards

The Raspberry Pi might be the name that springs to mind when people think of single board computers for homebrew projects, but there are other boards out there worth considering. Also added are a selection of accessories to help you make more from your project board. (Updated Dec 1, 2016)

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Topic: Hardware
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
1 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

This is the king or the Raspberry Pi boards.

  • 1.2GHz QUAD Core Broadcom BCM2837 64bit ARMv8 processor
  • BCM43438 WiFi on board
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) on board
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4x USB 2 ports
  • 40pin extended GPIO
  • HDMI and RCA video output

An excellent board with an amazing reputation for only $35.

More information.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module
2 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Raspberry Pi Compute Module

If you want to integrate a Raspberry Pi into an industrial setting then the Compute Module might be a better choice.

This is essentially a $40 cut-down version of the Raspberry Pi, featuring:

  • 700MHz Broadcom BCM2835 processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB eMMC Flash Memory
  • 6cm x 3.5cm SODIMM sized board

More information.

Raspberry Pi-Top
3 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Raspberry Pi-Top

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a mini laptop with this $275 display and case that's compatible with any Raspberry Pi board.

  • 13.3 inch HD LCD Screen with eDP interface with 1366 x 768 resolution
  • Smart battery with 10+ hours run time, 2-Wire SMBus V 2.0 interface
  • Keyboard (fully programmable) and trackpad
  • 8 GB SD card with pre-installed pi-top OS
  • WiFi dongle
  • Power supply

More information

Adafruit 16-Channel PWM / Servo HAT for Raspberry Pi
4 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Adafruit 16-Channel PWM / Servo HAT for Raspberry Pi

This is a must for robotics!

The Adafruit 16-Channel 12-bit PWM/Servo HAT will drive up to 16 servos or PWM outputs over I2C with only 2 pins. The on-board PWM controller will drive all 16 channels simultaneously with no additional Raspberry Pi processing overhead. What's more, you can stack up to 62 of them to control up to 992 servos - all with the same 2 pins!

All that for $17.50.

Works with any servo that can be powered by 5V and take 3.3V logic level signals.

More information.

EMLID NAVIO2
5 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

EMLID NAVIO2

If you want you Raspberry Pi to take to the skies, then you need the Navio2 Linux autopilot board.

This $170 board features a built-in GPS and barometer, and well as dual inertial measurement unit and ports for Wi-Fi or LTE antennas that allow you to control your drone project even over the internet.

  • MPU9250 9DOF IMU
  • LSM9DS1 9DOF IMU
  • MS5611 Barometer
  • U-blox M8N Glonass/GPS/Beidou
  • RC I/O co-processor
  • HAT EEPROM
  • RGB LED

More information.

Adafruit PiTFT Plus
6 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Adafruit PiTFT Plus

This is an updated 320 x 240 2.8-inch TFT resistive touchscreen specifically designed to fit the Pi Zero, Pi 3, Pi 2 or Model A+, B+ boards.

At $35 this is a great way to jazz up a project.

More information.

Adafruit PiTFT
7 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Adafruit PiTFT

This is a 320 x 240 2.8-inch TFT touchscreen display suitable for Raspberry Pi projects. The display is designed for the form factor of the Pi 1 Model A or B but it will work with the Pi Zero, Pi 3, Pi 2 or Pi 1 Model A+ or B+, or any Pi with a 2x20 connector.

For only $35, this is a great addition to any project.

More information.

2016-12-0110-09-09.jpg
8 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Media Stick for Raspberry Pi

Turn a Raspberry Pi Compute Module into a media stick for your TV's HDMI port for only $24.

Features:

  • 1 HDMI port
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 USB Micro B port (5V input and programming port)
  • 1 LED On/Off button

More information.

Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi 3
9 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi 3

A collaboration between Microsoft's IoT division and Adafruit, this pack's the best way to get started using both Windows 10 on your Pi and to start doing some popular projects with the internet of things.

For $75 you get:

  • Adafruit Raspberry Pi B+ Case - Smoke Base / Clear Top
  • Full Size Breadboard
  • Premium Male/Male Jumper Wires - 20 x 6" (150mm)
  • Premium Female/Male 'Extension' Jumper Wires - 20x6" (150mm)
  • 5V 2A Switching Power Supply w/ 6' MicroUSB Cable
  • Assembled Adafruit BME280 Temperature, Pressure & Humidity sensor
  • Assembled TCS34725 RGB Color Sensor
  • MCP3008 - 8 Channel 10-Bit ADC With SPI Interface
  • Ethernet Cable - 5 foot long
  • 16GB SD/MicroSD Memory Card w/ NOOBS

But that's not all! You also get the following components:

  • 1x Photo Cell
  • 2x Breadboard Trim Potentiometer
  • 5x 10K 5% 1/4W Resistor
  • 5x 560 ohm 5% 1/4W Resistor
  • 1x Diffused 10mm Blue LED
  • 1x Electrolytic Capacitor - 1.0uF
  • 1x Diffused 10mm Red LED
  • 1x Diffused 10mm Green LED
  • 3x 12mm Tactile Switches

More information.

Pimoroni Enviro pHAT
10 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Pimoroni Enviro pHAT

Here is a $20 sensor board for your Raspberry Pi that allows you to you measure temperature, pressure, light level, color, 3-axis motion, compass heading, and analog inputs.

Features:

  • BMP280 temperature/pressure sensor
  • TCS3472 light and RBG color sensor
  • Two LEDs for illumination
  • LSM303D accelerometer/magnetometer sensor
  • ADS1015 4-channel 3.3v, analog to digital sensor (ADC)

More information.

Pimoroni Picade Cabinet Kit
11 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Pimoroni Picade Cabinet Kit

The Pimoroni Picade Cabinet is a stylish, retro, and fun arcade cabinet for your Raspberry Pi!

The Picade Cabinet comes in kit form for you to build at home. All parts, panels, and components are included - you just need to supply the Raspberry Pi and power adapter.

But at $240, retro gaming doesn't come cheap, and you've still got to add the price of a Raspberry Pi to that.

More information.

Raspberry Pi Wi-Fi adapter
12 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Raspberry Pi Wi-Fi adapter

A $9 Wi-Fi dongle compatible with Raspberry Pi as well as PC and Mac.

  • Wireless N speed up to 150Mbps
  • Support AP mode to act as a WiFi Hotspot

More information.

WD PiDrive Foundation Edition, HDD
13 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

WD PiDrive Foundation Edition, HDD

Break free of the limitations of storing data on an SD Card by adding a low-power-consumption hard drive to your project in the form of a WD PiDrive.

250GB of storage starts at $29.

  • Native USB 7mm HDD
  • microSD card (preloaded)
  • WD PiDrive Cable
  • 2-year Limited Warranty

More information.

QK-90015 wireless keyboard with touchpad
14 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

QK-90015 wireless keyboard with touchpad

Why be tied down with a wired keyboard when for $25 you can pick up a wireless keyboard complete with touchpad.

  • 2.4GHz USB Wireless Keyboard with Touchpad
  • Ergonomic design
  • Mini QWERTY keyboard
  • Contains multimedia control keys and PC gaming control keys
  • Auto sleep and auto wake mode

More information.

Raspberry Pi 8-megapixel camera
15 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Raspberry Pi 8-megapixel camera

Give your Pi project some eyes (well, one eye at least) with this $30 camera module.

  • Fixed focus lens
  • 8 megapixel native resolution sensor-capable of 3280 x 2464 pixel static images
  • Supports 1080p30, 720p60 and 640x480p90 video
  • Size 25mm x 23mm x 9mm
  • Weight just over 3g
  • Connects to the Raspberry Pi board via a short ribbon cable (supplied)

More information.

Pocket PiGRRL game emulator
16 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Pocket PiGRRL game emulator

GameGRRL is a portable Raspberry Pi running MAME, NES, Atari2600 and other fine emulators (via RetroPie/EmulationStation).

The $47.50 kit comes with

  • 1x Adafruit PiTFT 2.4" HAT Mini Kit - 320x240 TFT Touchscreen
  • 1x PowerBoost 1000 Charger - Rechargeable 5V Lipo USB Boost @ 1A - 1000C
  • 1x Adafruit Mono 2.5W Class D Audio Amplifier - PAM8302
  • 1x Adafruit Perma-Proto Half-sized Breadboard PCB - Single
  • 1x GPIO Ribbon Cable for Raspberry Pi Model A and B - 26 pin
  • 1x Tactile Button switch (6mm) x 20 pack
  • 1x Tactile Switch Buttons (6mm slim) x 20 pack
  • 1x Tactile Switch Buttons (12mm square, 6mm tall) x 10 pack
  • 1x Mini Metal Speaker w/ Wires - 8 ohm 0.5W
  • 1x Breadboard-friendly SPDT Slide Switch
  • 1x 8GB MicroSD Card with NOOBS 1.9

To this you need to add:

  • Raspberry Pi A+
  • Various colors of silicone stranded wire

More information.

2016-11-0109-45-59.jpg
17 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

VoCore2

VoCore2 is an updated version of the highly-popular coin-sized Linux computer VoCore. Like it's predecessor, VoCore2 is totally open-source, and costs $15. 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.

VoCore2 also features an optional camera and dock.

  • 580MHz MT7628AN CPU
  • 128MB of DDR2 RAM
  • 16MB of flash memory
  • PCI 1.1
  • Ready equipped with header pins for sound, USB 2.0, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi
  • Power consumption of only 74mA

If that's not enough there's a stripped down version of the VoCore2 that's available for a mere $4!

More information

C.H.I.P.
18 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

C.H.I.P.

At $9, C.H.I.P. is a perfect demonstration of how cheap computing has become. You get what would only a few years ago have been desktop power on a tiny board.

  • 1.0GHz CPU
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 4GB of storage
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

More information

cloudBit
19 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

cloudBit

The easiest way to create internet­-connected devices - no programming, soldering or wiring required. IFTTT support allows it to connect with any web service, like Facebook, Gmail and Twitter, or hardware like NEST and Philips HUE.

All for just $59.95.

  • Freescale i.MX23 ARM926EJ-S processor
  • 64MB of RAM
  • 802.11b/g/n

More information

PixiePro
20 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

PixelPro

The PixelPro features a i.MX6Q Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 running at 1.0 GHz, with 2D and 3D GPUs and an embedded 2GB 64-bit DDR3 RAM, which means that it is capable of running rich multimedia applications, embedded web servers, digital entertainment systems, industrial control systems, and high definition video.

At $129.95, the PixelPro is not cheap, but you get a lt of power for the cash.

  • Freescale i.MX6Q Soc Quad Core ARM Cortex-A9 up to 1GHz
  • 2GB of RAM
  • WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • PCIe x1
  • USB 2.0

    More information

    2016-06-1615-12-17.jpg
    21 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

    Intel Edison with Kit for Arduino

    At around $92, the Intel name doesn't come cheap, but this Arduino-compatible board is turning out to be a popular choice.

    • Dual-core, dual-threaded Intel Atom CPU with a 32-bit Intel Quark microcontroller
    • 1GB of RAM
    • 4GB of flash storage
    • Integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
    • Support for Yocto Linux, Python, Node.js and Wolfram

      More information

      2016-06-1615-02-58.jpg
      22 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

      NanoPC-T3

      The NanoPC-T3 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
      • 1-2GB of RAM
      • 8GB of flash storage
      • Gigabit Ethernet
      • USB 2.0

      More information

      BeagleBone Black
      23 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

      BeagleBone Black

      BeagleBone Black is a low-cost, community-supported development platform for developers and hobbyists. This $55 board allows you to boot Linux in under 10 seconds and get started on development in less than 5 minutes.

      • AM335x 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8512MB DDR3 RAM
      • 4GB 8-bit eMMC on-board flash storage
      • 3D graphics accelerator
      • NEON floating-point accelerator
      • 2x PRU 32-bit microcontrollers

      More information

      2016-08-1917-20-38.jpg
      24 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

      Udoo Quad

      A $135 quad-core board that's just as at home running Android as it is Linux.

      • Freescale i.MX 6 ARM Cortex-A9 quad core 1GHz CPU
      • Vivante GC 2000 + Vivante GC 355 + Vivante GC 320 GPU
      • Integrated accelerators for 2D, OpenGL ES2.0 3D and OpenVG
      • Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 CPU (same as Arduino Due)
      • RAM DDR3 1GB
      • 76 fully available GPIO: 62 digital + 14 digital/analog
      • Arduino-compatible R3 1.0 pinout
      • HDMI and LVDS + Touch2 Micro USB (1 OTG type a+b)

      More information

      Arduino INDUSTRIAL 101
      25 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

      Arduino INDUSTRIAL 101

      A $40 Arduino that's idea for integration into a commercial or industrial product.

      • Atheros AR9331 processor
      • 64MB of RAM
      • 16MB of flash storage
      • USB 2.0

      More information

      Parallella
      26 of 28 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
      • HDMI, USB (optional)

      More information

      2016-06-1614-56-08.jpg
      27 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

      NanoPi 2 Fire

      A cheap, $23 quad-core powered board that's ideally suited for hobbyists.

      • Samsung S5P4418 quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 up to 1.4GHz
      • 1GB of RAM
      • Gigabit Ethernet
      • USB 2.0

      More information

      2016-06-1614-45-17.jpg
      28 of 28 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

      Banana Pi M3

      Banana Pi M3 is a super charged single board computer with an Octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It also features Gigabit Ethernet, 2 USB, SATA, WiFi, Bluetooth, and HDMI connection. It can run on a variety of operating systems including Android, Lubuntu, Ubuntu, Debian, and Raspbian.

      • Octa-core 1.8GHz CPU
      • 2 GB RAM
      • 8 GB eMMC flash storage
      • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth onboard

      More information

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