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I already own a Raspberry Pi model B, and I am looking for a more powerful alternative. I want it to be able to run as a server (email, file, and web) and also as a media center. I know Raspberry Pi can do these things too, but I want something faster.

I also am very concerned about its support. I have found many boards that look good, but it's hard to get them to work properly. I don't want to go on and by some random board that may seem good just by reading the specifications and regret it later.

These are the conditions

  • Price range: US$0-100
  • Runs Linux
  • Capable of 1080p
  • Has good community support

What about Hackberry and MarsBoard? Their specifications seem very good. What about their support?

  • would you mind to elaborate, for what purpose you're going to use this device. more powerful video player? more powerful file server? more powerful light bulb / beer fridge controller? – lenik Oct 14 '13 at 3:28
  • I agree with @lenik with this question being too broad to have specific answers. – syb0rg Oct 14 '13 at 3:58
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    The Hackberry and Marsbaord seem to be made by the same people. They both can run Android (Pi cannot yet) and use a 3D processor that is well established within Mobile development so the libraries are ready to use! the Hackberry has WiFi built in with dedicated LAN and Audio output AND recording! So it is much better design than Pi - It is as they took what was wrong and missing on the Pi and made their own version. I would consider buying Hackberry even though its missing GPIO because you can use an Arduino via the UART port instead making it work better than the Pi!! – Piotr Kula Oct 15 '13 at 8:47
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    @ppumkin Thanks. Very helpful information. I don't really care about GPIO. I already have a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino so i want something more powerful to use as secondary regular computer. – Christos Baziotis Oct 15 '13 at 9:50
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    You do realise you can buy proper x86 boards for under $100 - You can run normal Windows and/or Linux on there with proper SATA, RAM PCI and other support. There are also ARM versions that try and compete with the Pi starting at about $50. – Piotr Kula Oct 15 '13 at 10:06

14 Answers 14

19

I would look into the BeagleBoard Black:

enter image description here

What is BeagleBone Black?

BeagleBone Black is a $45 MSRP community-supported development platform for developers and hobbyists. Boot Linux in under 10 seconds and get started on development in less than 5 minutes with just a single USB cable.

Processor: AM335x 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8

  • 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • 2GB 8-bit eMMC on-board flash storage
  • 3D graphics accelerator
  • NEON floating-point accelerator
  • 2x PRU 32-bit microcontrollers

Software Compatibility

  • Ångström Linux

  • Android

  • Ubuntu

  • Cloud9 IDE on Node.js w/ BoneScript library

  • plus much more

Connectivity

  • USB client for power & communications
  • USB host
  • Ethernet
  • HDMI
  • 2x 46 pin headers

From what I have heard they have a pretty large community. In my opinion it is the closest option to the Raspberry Pi community wise than any other similar device (at the time of posting this answer).


Keep in mind that the Raspberry Pi is still a work-in-progress. The GUI doesn't fully take advantage of the graphics processor yet (it uses the CPU), plus many other little optimizations could be made (with soft-float and hard-float for example).

The point is that lots of development is still being done, and if you one of the early owners of a Raspberry Pi (like I was), then you know lots of progress has been made since the initial launch of the Raspberry Pi.

  • 2
    It's a nice alternative but it does not support 1080p which is a dealbreaker for me. I should have mentioned it in my post. Thanks for your answer. – Christos Baziotis Oct 14 '13 at 11:54
  • Its nicer because it has the LAN running on a dedicated controller but its not Gigabit :( -still better than sharing LAN with USB though. It is more for prototyping this than media. So lack of HDMI out is sad :( – Piotr Kula Oct 14 '13 at 14:14
  • @syb0org I also remember BBB doesn't support 1080p playback. Where do you get the idea that it does? – Penghe Geng Oct 15 '13 at 4:18
  • @syb0rg from it's official wiki page:circuitco.com/support/… – Christos Baziotis Oct 15 '13 at 9:47
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    Also, the connectivity is mini HDMI, not HDMI, which means you'll require an appropriate mini HDMI adapter. – Rohan Durve Nov 7 '13 at 22:25
10

I think there has been an explosion of these things recently -- e.g. the parallella board is not even the only one to come out of kickstarter!

Most (75%+) of the questions I see here are really linux oriented questions that aren't very pi specific,1 so if you keep that in mind, you have that very large community for support on anything that runs a reasonably stock version of GNU/linux (such as the pi).

So, vis. linux, some of the boards using a Cortex A8 based ARM A1X chip should have better support than the rpi because they can use the vanilla kernel source unmodified. [src]/Documentation/arm/sunxi/README mentions specifically the A10, A10s and A13. In this case, it would be easy to port any linux distro to a device based on them. I'm sure I've seen a few such things around, although I don't know how much more powerful than the rpi they would be.

Unfortunately the beefier dual core chips like the A20 used by the Cubieboard 2 are in the same boat as the pi, but this is still not so bad, since (I believe) the issue is just adding some machine specific code to the kernel; the userspace should all be compilable via GCC.

There are a slew of other ARMv7 processors in [src]/arch/arm, including the Armada 510 used in the cubox, and maybe the AM335x used in the BeagleBone Black -- although other people seem to maintain a source tree for that, so maybe not.

Linux-sunxi.org, which seems to include the kernel devs who do the implementation for the A1X chips, have a decent wiki that covers what works on various devices. Elinux.org, which provides a lot of coverage for the rpi, also covers other similar things.

Although Android uses the linux kernel, I would avoid devices that are android centric...having written software for Android, I think it is a nice OS but not something very suited to development or experimental use.


1 I can't emphasize the significance of this point enough, so, e.g., here are the 6 questions currently newer than this one here:

My point is not that these questions don't belong here, but that 5 out of 6 of those could easily be answered by people from the larger GNU/Linux community, who may have no particular interest in the pi; the same is true WRT "support" for other devices. Of those five, at least 4 (all except the RaspMC one) would probably be better dealt with (as in, get faster, higher quality answers) in a more general forum...I presume that people ask about stuff like this here because the pi is their first encounter with linux, and they are unaware of this.

9

There are obviously many more powerful alternatives to the Raspberry Pi. However, if you want a board that is significantly more powerful and runs Linux, then I would recommend that you take a careful look at the Parallella board (http://www.parallella.org/).

It is still very new (it was a Kickstarter project which still hasn't shipped boards to all of the original backers), but there is quite a large community of people behind it, and it runs Ubuntu Linux, which is a slightly more slick version of Debian. It has a many-core co-processor and an FPGA in addition to a dual core ARM main processor that is rather more powerful that that of the Raspberry Pi.

However, you probably shouldn't expect that any other low cost Linux computer has the same kind of support and community that the Raspberry Pi has - nearly two million Raspberry Pis have shipped - it is unique in that respect.

  • Wow i have read about this project from to time it appeared on Kickstarter but i forgot about it. I didn't know it succeded. But it is not available to buy for the time being (only pre-order). I will keep it in mind. Any other suggestion? – Christos Baziotis Oct 13 '13 at 22:44
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    Wooo +1 for parallel computing. That is a mind blower.. :) – Piotr Kula Oct 14 '13 at 14:16
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    Minor point: Ubuntu is a repackaging of Debian using the later's "testing" and "unstable" repositories. So the major difference is that default Ubuntu packages will tend to be newer versions than in Debian, which uses the "stable" repository by default (and it takes time to move from "testing" to "stable"). I.e., Ubuntu is more bleeding edge (although really anything available in one is available in the other). Saying one is slicker than the other seems a little nonsensical to me, although Cannonical's marketing for Ubuntu certainly is. – goldilocks Oct 14 '13 at 15:06
7

Just to add to the existing alternatives:

ODroid - the powerful Linux computer,

  • 1.7 GHz Quad-Core processor and 2 GB RAM
  • 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet with RJ-45 LAN jack
  • 3 x High speed USB2.0 Host ports
  • Audio codec with headphone jack on board
  • Xubuntu 13.10 or Android 4.x Operating System
  • Size: 83 x 48 mm. Weight: 48 g, including heat sink

UDOO

  • Freescale i.MX 6 ARM Cortex-A9 CPU Dual/Quad core 1 GHz
  • Integrated graphics, each processor provides three separated accelerators for 2D, OpenGL® - ES2.0 3D and OpenVG™
  • Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 CPU (same as Arduino Due)
  • RAM DDR3 1 GB
  • 76 fully available GPIO
  • Arduino-compatible R3 1.0 pinout
  • HDMI and LVDS + Touch (I²C signals)
  • Ethernet RJ45 (10/100/1000 Mbit/s)
  • Wi-Fi Module (not the Basic version though)
  • Mini USB and Mini USB OTG
  • USB type A (x2) and USB connector (requires a specific wire)
  • Analog Audio and Mic
  • SATA (Only Quad-Core version)
  • Camera connection
  • microSD (boot device)
  • 12 V power supply and external battery connector

A bit cheeky, but now Raspberry Pi 2 is another option :)

  • A 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 4 USB ports
  • 40 GPIO pins
  • Full HDMI port
  • Ethernet port
  • Combined 3.5 mm audio jack and composite video
  • Camera interface (CSI)
  • Display interface (DSI)
  • microSD card slot
  • VideoCore IV 3D graphics core
6

A decent media streaming box called cubox is a decent alternative because it includes dedicated Gigabit network, eSATA and HDMI!

That means streaming to other machines ot TV's at home over LAN is a breeze but also using it to watch from a NAS is great. It fits in the palm of your hand!

Board: Marvell Armada 510 system on a chip.

  • Processor 800 MHz ARMv7 core
  • Video/Audio HDMI and SPDIF optical audio.
  • Memory 1GB 800MHz DDR3
  • Storage Micro SD default 2GB.
  • Connectivity 10/100/1000 Ethernet. Two high-speed USB host ports. E-SATA, microUSB device port for development uses.
  • Other: Infrared receiver.

enter image description here

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Unfortunately, prototyping on this is not really possible..

enter image description here

2

Although im answering bit late but you can also check out banana pi. It runs android , ubuntu , debian and is made in china.
It supports both audio video input output . Even has high defination video output ( 1080p ) as you required . enter image description here -

  • CPU A20 ARM Cortex -A7 Dual-Core
    • GPU ARM Mali400MP2Complies with OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1
    • Memory 1GB DDR3
    • Network 10/100/1000 Ethernet RJ45
    • Video Input A CSI input connector allows for the connection of a designed camera module
    • Video Outputs HDMI,CVBS,LVDS/RGB
    • Audio Outputs 3.5mm jack and HDMI
    • Power Source 5 volt via Micro USB(DC in Only)and /or Micro USB OTG
    • USB 2.0 ports 2(direct from Allwinner A20 chip)
    • GPIO GPIO, UART, I2C BUS, SPI BUS, WITH TWO CHIP SELECTS, CAN bus, ADC, PWM, +3.3V, +5V, GND
    • LED Power Key & RJ45

I have tested this with android 4.2 and it worked fine .

1

There's a review of several single board PCs here. I'd recommend the Cubieboard2.

1

You can also think about a recent one announced last week I guess, Hummingboard:

Enter image description here

There are three different models, which you can find here.

1

Maybe a Pandaboard? Wiki

There is too much to list:

http://www.omappedia.com/wiki/PandaBoard

enter image description here

0

Why not take a look at Tronsmart MK908, or some other Android stick with Rk3188 (quad core A9 CPU & quad core GPU)?

It is a lot faster than raspberry pi. It fits in the given price range and it runs 1080p. Afaik, you can run Picuntu Linux on it.

I'm not sure about the community support though.

Note that psu, wifi, cables and case are included in the price.

0

I think Utilite has pretty good specs and a decent pricing too. Here's the link: http://utilite-computer.com/web/utilite-models

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    Try and elaborate on your answer by comparing specs, support, price, etc. this sort of answer would have been best left as a comment. However, you don't have enough reputation yet. – Impulss Mar 13 '14 at 22:06
0

See also at Olimex with her OLinuXino - Open Source Hardware Boards series of cards. Not all have HDMI but there is a choice.

0

Although not a Raspberry Pi alternative, you can also look into Raspberry Pi SuperComputer. It uses two or more Raspberry Pis using a message-passing Protocol for parallel processing.

It is scalable unto 64 Raspberry Pis. Some tests on the Internet show that it does provide a good amount of performance improvement.

At a little more than US$100 you can buy 3 to 4 Raspberry Pis.

I hope it helps.

0

This is an old (but still relevant) question. You are asking about a dynamic market, with new single board computers (and new versions of Raspberry Pi) being introduced every year. I suggest starting with Wikipedia's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_single-board_computers. You can then branch out to vendor sites for boards that meet your needs.

protected by goldilocks Oct 21 '15 at 12:50

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