While there are a lot of alternatives (many of them mentioned here) to the Raspberry Pi, only a few of them sport Gigabit Ethernet. But what's worse, upon a closer look none of them are a real alternative, having one or more of the following drawbacks:

  • No bare PCB
  • > 100$
  • Not readily available
  • Difficult to run an ARM port of a GNU/Linux flavour1
  • No I/O port to get data from2 which can saturate the gigabit port

Essentially, I'm trying to create a low-footprint3 system to serve data with from with reasonable speed, hence the major requirement Gigabit. Are my findings correct that there really is no similar system to the raspi for that?

1 Android does not count as GNU/Linux for me, but as a bastardized Linux, and is not what I'm seeking.
2 PCIe, SATA, etc..
3 Meaning Size & Power consumption.

  • 3
    You want a tiny x86 PC. Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 21:38
  • 1
    I don't think most people would consider gigabit speed "reasonable", is part of the issue -- most people would consider it "extremely fast"; it's not even available to the majority of NA or Europe. So whatever it is you need to do transferring ~8 GB/minute may require a bit more dollars and watts.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 22:59
  • 1
    Would USB gigabit ethernet stick be an option? Then you can get to 400Mb. Anyways, RPi is not quite powerful to handle large amounts of data, and similar computers with low-power passive-cooled processors will have the same problem.
    – yo'
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 9:11
  • 1
    USB gigabit would not be an option, as described. And I mean Gigabit ethernet for LAN purposes, I do not care about Internet up/downlinks. Do note that there are low-power, passively-cooled solutions which can put through at these speeds, but none of those I know of really fit the criteria in my question.
    – roeme
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 18:55
  • 1
    Would a router running OpenWRT suffice? The 1/2/3 pointers you mention are available after some searching, and if needed, many have GPIO available.
    – EDP
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 12:43

14 Answers 14


The closest you can get are the ShevaPlug and its derivatives I think. Specifically TonidoPlug2 or DreamPlug. They're more expensive and are enclosed, but are the closest thing I can think of that's ARM.

There's the Intel Galileo but that's 100 mbit. It does have a mini-PCIe slot so you may be able to add gigabit ethernet. It may make more sense to add USB3 to it though, that way multiple fast devices can be attached.

  • Thank you! The Plugs, with the revisions that have an SATA port certainly look interesting. I originally excluded Galileo since it was positioned (and touted) as an Arduino-alike, but realizing that it's <100$ and has mini-PCIe makes it a viable contender.
    – roeme
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 19:05

There is the Banana Pi: enter image description here

It can apparently run Debian (or Raspbian, but apparently Debian can be used), Ubuntu and 'bastardized Linux' (Android). It seems to have all/most of the features of the Raspberry Pi, with a few more:

  • Allwinner A20 ARM Cortex-A7 dual-core 1GHz GPU with Mali400MP2 GPU
  • Extensible Storage with SATA connection
  • Microphone input
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • IR receiver, Micro USB OnTheGo connector, power switch, reset switch ...

It can apparently run off of a 5V USB supply, but might need at least 2 Amps

More info:

  • 1
    I bought this myself. It's very good! Currently I'm using it as a NAS and does a good job at it. Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 1:17
  • @TatakaiWasumi What software did you use for your NAS? Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 12:46
  • 2
    @PiotrDobrogost I'm using bananian based on Debian Wheezy to run openmediavault Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 22:12
  • I'm using it with bananian based on jessie and openmediavault 3 now, it is still running strong. I'm thinking of ordering an odroid xu4 later in 2017 because of the USB 3.0+ Gigabit Ethernet. I've been waiting 2 years and they still haven't brought their prices down... Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 23:38
  • May want to include a link to the Banana Pro in this answer as well Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 7:49

FYI you can at least get faster speeds through the Pi (in terms of raw bandwidth), using a USB 3.0 Gigabit network adapter; the USB 2.0 bus still hampers the ability to fully utilize gigabit networking, but in my iperf testing, I was able to reliably get ~222 Mbps over the USB 3.0 adapter.

A comparison of the different networking options I have available:

  • Internal LAN (10/100): 94.4 Mbits/sec (11.8 MB/sec)
  • USB 802.11n WiFi: 44.5 Mbits/sec (5.6 MB/sec)
  • USB Gigabit LAN (10/100/1000): 222 Mbits/sec (27.8 MB/sec)

See more: Getting Gigabit Networking on a Raspberry Pi.

  • 1
    Also, I just finished some testing with an ODROID-C2, which has a native Gigabit interface that's extremely fast compared to any current Pi. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 2:09
  • Note that this needs to share bandwith with other USB-devices, notably harddisks as there is - to my understanding - only a single USB 2.0 controller in the Pi. Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 22:03

For gigabit ethernet:

UDOO - http://www.udoo.org/

Intel MinnowBoard Max - http://www.minnowboard.org/meet-minnowboard-max/

Banana Pi - http://bananapi.org/ (I can't believe they got away with this.)

PandaBoard ES - (10/100Mbps Ethernet) http://pandaboard.org/content/pandaboard-es


I think the Cubietruck might be of interest to you. The specifications from Exp Tech's page are:

Allwinner Tech SOC A20 ARM® Cortex™-A7 Dual-Core ARM® Mali400 MP2 Complies with OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1
2GB DDR3@480MHz
HDMI&VGA 1080P display output on-board
10M/100M/1G Ethernet
WIFI + BT wireless connection with antenna on-board
SATA 2.0 interface support 2.5’ HDD (for 3.5’ HDD, only need another 12V power input)
Storage solution NAND + MicroSD
2 x USB HOST, 1 x OTG, 1 x SPDIF, 1 x IR, 4 x LEDs, 1 x Headphone, 3 x Keys
Power [email protected] with HDD support Li-battery & RTC
54 extended pins including I2S, I2C, SPI, CVBS, LRADC x2,UART, PS2, PWM x2, TS/CSI, IRDA, LINEIN&FMIN&MICIN, TVIN x4 with 2.0 pitch connectors
PCB size 11cm *8cm*1.4mm

It's available from 89 USD at several resellers.

The board runs lubuntu and other Linuxes as well.


pcDuino is a great embedded device purely for the use of Linux (Or the Bastardized Version of Linux, called Android)

The biggest version with comes in at $76 at SparkFun (But other venders are available and may be cheaper) but sadly it doesn't meet the Gigabit requirement (But you can add a USB Gigabit) Otherwise it is packed with allot more features and runs Ubuntu LTS!

--Edit Nov'2015

There are newer version available now, Like PCDuino8 Uno

enter image description here

enter image description here


Newegg has a host of embedded boards with gigabit NICs on them. The boards themselves are < $100 and simply need power, memory and storage in most cases. Most low-powered boards like the RPi do not have gigabit controllers on them to cut down on cost and energy consumption. There is a company called UDOO with onboard gigabit but it does not fall under $100.

Hope this information is helpful.

  • Unfortunately, with the form factor of Mini-ITX and the requirement of seperate peripherials and components, these systems are quite a different story for me.
    – roeme
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 19:08
  • did you look at the UDOO board? Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 20:16
  • Thanks for reiterating, I must admit I missed it. Though it seems to need quite hefty heatsinks and is a bit pricey, i'd put in the same category as the Galileo, as it needs less additional components to satisfy my needs. Have an upvote!
    – roeme
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 21:13

Another bord is the parallella

It's a more exotic board focused on compute, with a special 16 core coprocessor and a FPGA.

It has:

  • 18-core credit card sized computer ( Dual core ARM, 16-core Epiphany coprocessor )
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Up to 48 GPIO pins• User configurable hardware (FPGA)
  • Starting at $99

The main drawback for me is that a fan recommended (especially for the kickstarter boards).

There is also ODROID-C1

  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1Gbyte DDR3 SDRAM
  • 40pin GPIOs
  • $35

Another alternative now is Banana Pro, which has gigabit ethernet, built-in WiFi and also a SATA port. I ordered mine direct from China via AliBaba but you can now find them (both bare and in kits) on amazon.com


The odriod C1 is the closest thing to a Pi with a igabit ethernet port that i'm aware of.


It is worth mentioning the Beaglebone Black even though it does not fit your 1G ethernet criteria.

  • Nope, already looked at and GigE is the most important criteria for me as evident from the question.
    – roeme
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 19:02

The BananaPi and HummingBoard meet all your needs.

Note that the HummingBoard's max practical ethernet speed is 470Mbps due to internal limitations.

The BananaPi has no official info regarding practical ethernet speed. But according this article it is roughly 800Mb.


Another way is to use a more advanced USB-Ethernet adapter (The Pi's existing 10/100 Ethernet adapter uses a internal USB bus) - for example this one suggested here. There is also a list on the elinux wiki of available that should work on the Pi.

Combine this with the Raspberry Pi 2 (which is faster, supports a newer version of ARM, more USBs, probably uses less power etc), and you should be able to get what you are looking for.

N.B. USB 2.0 theoretically supports up to 480 Mbit/s (60MB/s). USB 3 will work on the Pi but currently only due to backwards compatibility, so you may not get the speeds you expect from a USB 3 device.


Netgear Stora has a full speed gigabit port

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