Innovation

Raspberry Pi not powerful enough? Check out these 20 beefy boards

If you're looking for a more muscular alternative to the Pi, this is what's on offer, from the cheapest, through to premium single-board computers for those who prize power over price.

The $35 Raspberry Pi has blown past all expectations, selling more than 14 million boards.

While the Pi wasn't the first single-board computer, its success has helped spawn many similar devices.

Some of these credit card-sized computers are starting to surpass the specs of the Pi 3, cramming in more memory, faster processors and additional features such as Gigabit Ethernet or support for 4K displays.

These extras come at a price, with most of these challengers costing more than the Pi 3, while also not sharing the Pi's extensive range of software, projects and community support.

But if you're looking for a more muscular alternative to the Pi, this is what's on offer, from the cheapest, through to premium single-board computers for those who prize power over price.

This article is also available as a multi-page gallery.

rock64boardside1.jpg

The Rock 64 Media Board.

Image: Pine64

Rock64 Media Board

Price: $24.95 (1GB), $34.95 (2GB), $44.95 (4GB)

Pros

  • Runs Android 'Nougat' 7.1
  • Supports 4K HDR displays at 60Hz via HDMI 2.0a
  • Up to four times the memory of the Pi 3
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB 3.0
  • Similar form factor to the Pi should mean some compatibility with Pi hardware
  • Lots of potential for adding hardware via 62 pins

Cons

Specs

  • Operating systems: Android 7.1, Debian, Yocto, with more promised
  • CPU: Rockchip RK3328 quad core, Cortex A53-based processor
  • GPU: Mali-450MP2
  • Memory: 1/2/4GB LPDDR3 at 1866 MHz
  • Storage: eMMC flash module socket/micro SD card slot/128 Mbit SPI flash
  • Display: HDMI 2.0a up to 4K at 60 Hz with HDR10 and HLG support. Supports video codecs 4K VP9, H.265 and H.264, 1080p VC-1, MPEG-1/2/4, VP6/8
  • Audio output: 3.5mm AV port (composite video + stereo audio)
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB: 2 x 2.0, 1 x 3.0
  • Expansion: 40-pin Pi-2 Bus with GPIOs, 2x I2C, Analog inputs, UART, SPI, and power signals (5V, 3.3V, and GND). 22-pin Pi-P5+ Bus with GPIOs, I2S, S/PDIF, Ethernet, and power signals (5V, 3.3V, and GND)
  • Misc: IR receiver; power, recovery & reset buttons; eMMC jumper
  • Power: 5V 3A power supply via Type H 3.5mm OD/1.35mm ID barrel 'coaxial' type plug
  • Dimensions: 85 x 56 mm

SEE: Hardware spotlight: The Raspberry Pi

Orange Pi Prime

Price: $29.90

Pros

  • Runs Android
  • Gigabit Ethernet, faster than the Pi 3
  • Twice the memory of the Pi

Cons

Specs

  • Operating systems: Android 5.1, Ubuntu, Debian
  • CPU: H5 Quad-core Cortex-A53
  • GPU: Mali 450, capable of 300Mpix/sec and 163Mtri/sec, supports OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenVG1.1,
  • Memory: 2GB DDR3
  • Storage: microSD card up to 64GB
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display: HDMI with HDCP support
  • Audio: HDMI
  • USB: 3 x USB 2.0 host, 1 x USB 2.0 OTG
  • Expansion: 40-pin header with 1 x 3 GPIO pins, UART, ground
  • Other: Camera CSI input connector
  • Dimensions (LxW): 98 x 60mm
  • Weight: 48g

Le Potato

Price: $35 (1GB) $45 (2GB)

Pros

  • Runs Android Nougat and range of Linux-based desktop OSes
  • 64-bit, quad-core processor clocked at a higher speed than the Pi 3
  • 4K, HDR10 video output via HDMI 2.0
  • Up to double the memory of the Pi 3
  • Same form factor as the Pi 3, should help with add-on compatibility

Cons

  • Lacks the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth found on the Raspberry Pi 3
  • Missing the Pi 3's DSI and CSI interfaces
  • Largely unproven manufacturer and board

Specs

  • Operating systems: Android 'Nougat' 7.1, Android 7.1 and 6.0, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Linux 4.9 and Debian 9 with Linux 4.9.
  • CPU: Quad-core, ARM Cortex A53-based Amlogic S905X SoC with cores clocked at 1.5GHz
  • Memory: 1/2GB
  • GPU: Mali-450
  • Display: HDMI 2.0
  • Ports: 4 USB 2.0 Type A
  • Network: 100Mb Fast Ethernet
  • Other: CVBS, Infrared Receiver, S/PDIF Header UART Header, I2S + ADC Header, 40 Pin Header for PWM, I2C, I2S, SPI, GPIO, eMMC Daughter Board Connector
  • Storage: MicroSD Card Slot with UHS Support
  • 3D video: OpenGL ES 2.0
  • Video codecs: Hardware decoding for VP9 P2 4K60, H.265 MP10@L5.1 4K60, H.264 HP@L5.1 4K30, JPEG/MJPEG. Hardware encoding for H.264 1080P60 and JPEG/MJPEG
  • Dimensions (L x W): 85.60 mm × 56.5 mm

NanoPi K2

Price: $39.99

Pros

  • Runs Android
  • Low price for the specs
  • Gigabit Ethernet, faster than the Pi 3
  • 1.5 GHz quad-core processor — benchmarks show faster than the Pi 3's SoC for variety of tasks
  • 4K video output via HDMI 2.0

Cons

  • Officially supported version of Android is several years old
  • No Linux desktop distros listed as having official support other than Ubuntu Core Xenial

Specs

  • Operating systems: Android 5.1, Ubuntu Core Xenial
  • CPU: Amlogic S905 (4x 64-bit Cortex-A53 cores @ 1.5GHz)
  • GPU: Mali-450 MP2
  • Memory: 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage: MicroSD slot (bootable), eMMC socket
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet port
  • USB: 4 x USB 2.0 host ports, Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port with power support.
  • Display: Full-sized HDMI 2.0 with support for 4K resolution
  • Expansion: 40-pin GPIO expansion connector (I2C, ADC, GPIO, UART, PWM, SPDIF, CVBS), Serial debug port, I2S audio connector
  • Misc: LEDs; IR receiver; "user" power key; remote control; mounting holes for heatsink
  • Power: 5V2A DC input
  • Dimensions (L x W): 85 x 56mm

Odroid-C2

Price: $46

Pros

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi/Bluetooth support
  • More expensive than the Raspberry Pi 3
  • Official support only extends to older version of Android
  • Lacking the Pi 3's ease of use

Specs

  • Operating system: Ubuntu 16.04 or Android 6.0 Lollipop and other Linux-based systems
  • CPU: 1.5Ghz quad-core Amlogic ARM Cortex-A53
  • GPU: Mali 450
  • Memory: 2GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Display: HDMI 2.0
  • Storage: eMMC5.0 HS400 Flash Storage slot / microSD card slot
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet
  • Expansion: 40-pin header with GPIO, I2C, UART, and ADC ; All I/Os are 3.3V, except ADC that is limited to 1.8V. I2S interface
  • Power consumption: Generally less than 500mA, up to 2A with USB peripherals.
  • USB: 4 x USB 2.0
  • Weight: 1.41 ounces
  • Dimensions (L x W) : 84.8 x 55.9mm

Banana Pi M2 Ultra

Price: $47

Pros

  • Runs Android
  • Double the memory of the Pi 3
  • Gigabit Ethernet, faster than the Pi 3

Cons

  • Multiple reviews criticize the Banana Pi boards for offering unstable builds of operating systems.
  • Limited software support out of the box compared to the Pi
  • Requires relatively detailed knowledge of Linux to set up and run
  • Based on older system-on-a-chip architecture than the Pi 3

Specs

  • Operating systems: Android and various Linux desktop OSes
  • CPU: Quad-core Arm Cortex A7-based R40
  • GPU: MALI-400 MP2 @ 500MHz
  • Memory: 2GB DDR3 SDRAM (shared with GPU)
  • Storage: MicroSD Card(up to 64GB) / eMMC(8GB onboard), SATA
  • Connectivity: 10/100/1000Mbps ethernet, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video in: Supports 5MP camera and 1080p video @30Hz. CSI connector that supports 8-bit YUV422 CMOS sensor CSI, CCIR656 protocol for NTSC and PAL.
  • Display: HDMI 1.4 1080P at 60Hz. MIPI DSI for RAW LCD panels
  • Audio:3.5 mm Jack and HDMI. On board microphone
  • Power: 5V 2A DC port
  • USB: 3x USB 2.0, USB OTG(Micro USB)
  • Misc: Reset button, Power button, U-boot button, Power status and RJ45 LED, Onboard IR receiver
  • Expansion: 40 Pins: GPIO, UART, I2C bus, I2S bus, SPI bus, PWN, +3.3v, +5v, ground
  • Dimensions (L x W): 92mm x 60mm
  • Weight: 45g

Odroid-XU4

Price: $59

Pros

  • Android support
  • Double memory of the Pi 3
  • USB 3.0 ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet, faster than the Pi 3
  • Work is continuing to ensure support for new operating systems

Cons

  • More expensive than the Pi
  • Lacking the Pi 3's ease of use

Specs

  • Software: Ubuntu 16.04 (with OpenGL ES + OpenCL support), and Android 4.4 KitKat, 5.0 Lollipop, Nougat (via community), Linux Kernel 4.9 LTS
  • CPU: Samsung Exynos5422 Cortex-A15 2Ghz and Cortex-A7 Octa core CPUs
  • GPU: Mali-T628 MP6(OpenGL ES 3.1/2.0/1.1 and OpenCL 1.2 Full profile)
  • Memory: 2GB LPDDR3 RAM PoP stacked
  • Storage: eMMC5.0 HS400 Flash
  • USB: 2 x USB 3.0 Host, 1 x USB 2.0 Host
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Expansion: 30-pin header for access to GPIO, IRQ, SPI and ADC signals and 12-pin headers for GPIO., I2S, and I2C
  • Display: HDMI 1.4a for display
  • Power Supply - 5V/4A power adapter using 5.5/2.1mm barrel
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 83 x 58 x 20mm .(excluding cooler)
  • Weight: 60g

NanoPC-T3

Price: $59

Pros

  • Octa-core processor
  • Faster than the Pi 3
  • Up to double the memory of the Pi 3
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support

Cons

Specs

  • Operating systems: Android 5 / Debian
  • CPU: Samsung S5P6818 octa-core Cortex A53 processor, up to 1.4GHz
  • GPU: Mali-400MP
  • Memory: 1 / 2GB 32bit DDR3 RAM
  • Storage: 8GB eMMC flash and 1x SD card slot
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • Display: 1x HDMI 1.4a, LVDS, MIPI DSI, parallel RGB LCD
  • Audio: HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack, on-board microphone
  • Camera: 1x DVP interface, 1x MIPI CSI interface
  • USB: 2 x USB 2.0 type A host ports, 1 x micro USB 2.0 OTG port; 2x USB 2.0 host ports via 8-pin header
  • Expansions: 30-pin header for GPIO, 8-pin header for power signals, reset and LED 1-2
  • Debugging: 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc: Power switch, reset button, 1x power & 2x user LEDs, RTC battery header, boot selection button (SD card / eMMC)
  • Power Supply: 5V/2A via power barrel; AXP228 PMIC
  • Dimensions (LxW): 100 x 60mm

Tinker Board

Price: $59.99

Pros

  • Runs Android
  • Twice as fast as the Pi 3 in benchmarks
  • Double the memory of the Pi 3
  • Gigabit Ethernet, faster than the Pi 3
  • Same form factor as the Pi 3, should help with add-on compatibility

Cons

Specs

  • Operating system: Debian-based Tinker OS, Android 6.0.1
  • CPU: Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288 processor
  • Memory: 2GB Dual Channel DDR3
  • Graphics: ARM Mali-T764 GPU
  • Storage: microSD card
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display: HDMI
  • USB: 4 x USB 2.0
  • Expansion: 1 x 40-pin header with up to 28 x GPIO pins, up to 2 x SPI bus, up to 2 x I2C bus, up to 4 x UART, 2 x PWM, up to 1 x PCM/I2S, 2 x 5V power pins, 2 x 3.3V power pins, 8 x ground pins, 1 x 2-pin contact pin, 1 x PWM, 1 x S/PDIF, 1 x 15-pin MIPI DSI, 1 x 15-pin MIPI CSI
  • Accessories: Passive heatsink
  • Weight: 55g
  • Dimensions (L x W): 85.60mm × 56.5mm

Banana Pi M3

Price: $84.95

Pros

  • Octa-core CPU clocked faster than the Pi 3
  • Double the memory of the Pi 3
  • 8GB of onboard storage
  • Gigabit Ethernet, faster than the Pi 3

Cons

  • Multiple reviews criticize the Banana Pi boards for offering unstable builds of operating systems.
  • Limited software support out of the box compared to the Pi
  • Requires relatively detailed knowledge of Linux to set up and run

Specs

  • CPU: A83T ARM Cortex-A7 octa-core processor with 512 KB L1 cache 1 MB L2 cache
  • GPU: PowerVR SGX544MP1
  • Memory: 2GB LPDDR3 (shared with GPU)
  • Storage: MicroSD Card(up to 64GB)/SATA (up to 2TB USB-to-SATA; GL830)/eMMC(8GB onboard)
  • Connectivity: 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video In: Parallel 8-bit camera interface MIPI Camera serial Interface(CSI)
  • Display: HDMI 1.4 with DHCP 1.2 supporting resolutions up to 1920x1080,
  • MIPI DSI for RAW LCD panels
  • Audio: 3.5 mm Jack and HDMI, mic
  • Power: Micro USB, optional 5V DC port (center positive 1,6 x 4,4mm)
  • USB: 2 x USB 2.0, USB OTG (Micro USB)
  • Misc: Reset button, Power button, U-boot button, Power LED(red), RJ45 LED(blue), user define LED(green)
  • Expansion: 40 Pins: GPIO, UART, I2C bus, I2S bus, SPI bus, PWN, +3.3v, +5v, ground
  • Operating systems: Android and various desktop Linux OS.
  • Dimensions (L x W): 92mm x 60mm
  • Weight: 45g

UP Core

Price: $99 excluding tax

Pros

  • Runs full Windows 10 and Android
  • 64-bit, quad-core CPU clocked at a higher speed than the Pi 3
  • Twice to quadruple the memory of the Pi 3
  • USB 3.0

Cons

  • No Ethernet
  • More than 3 x the price of the Pi 3

Specs

  • Operating systems: Full Microsoft Windows 10, Linux (ubilinux, Ubuntu, Yocto), Android Marshmallow
  • CPU: 64-bit Intel Atom x5 Z8350 at up to 1.92GHz
  • GPU: Intel HD 400 Graphics, up to 500MHz. Support for DX11.1/12, Open GL 4.2, Open CL 1.2 OGL ES3.0, and H.264, HEVC(decode), VP8 codecs
  • Memory: 2GB/4GB DDR3L-1600
  • Storage: 16GB/32GB/64GB eMMC
  • USB: 1 x USB 3.0 port (OTG), 2 x USB 2.0 port pin header
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11b/g/n @ 2.4GHz, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display: 1 x HDMI, 1 x Full eDP
  • Audio: HDMI
  • Camera Interface: 1 x MIPI-CSI (2 lane), 1 x MIPI-CSI (4 lane)
  • Expansion: 100 pin docking connector
  • Dimensions (LxW): 56.5x66mm
  • Weight: 40g
  • Power: 5V DC-in @ 3A 5.5/2.1mm jack

Cubieboard5

Price: $102

Pros

  • Runs Android
  • Octa-core processor clocked faster than the Pi 3
  • Gigabit Ethernet, faster than the Pi 3

Cons

  • Some reviews complain about the difficulty of getting Linux desktops up and running

Specs

  • CPU: AllWinner H8 octa-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor up to 2.0GHz
  • GPU: PowerVR SGX544 up to 700MHz
  • Memory: 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage: 8 GB EMMC flash built-in, 1 x micro SD card, 1 x SATA 2.0 port (USB 4.0 to SATA bridge)
  • Display: HDMI and DisplayPort
  • Audio: HDMI, optical S/PDIF, 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in mic
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, dual band WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB: 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion: 30-pin, 24-pin and 16-pin expansion headers. Debugging - 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc: IR receiver, 4x LED, power/reset/u-boot button
  • Power: 5V (2A without HDD, 3A with 2.5″ HDD).
  • Dimensions (L x W): 110mm x 80mm

LattePanda

Price: $119

Pros

  • Runs Windows 10
  • CPU is clocked faster than the Raspberry Pi 3
  • Double the memory of the Pi 3
  • USB 3.0
  • Arduino compatible co-processor — allow it to be used like an Arduino board to interact with electronics via the GPIO pins — makes it suited to being an IoT development board.
  • On-board Wi-Fi / Bluetooth
  • Fits Raspberry Pi cases

Cons

  • While Linux-based operating systems run they are not officially supported.
  • Not always faster than the Pi when running open-source software.
  • Reports here and here that the board overheats without additional cooling, resulting in the processor being throttled to a slower speed.
  • More expensive than the Pi

Specs

  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home edition
  • CPU: 1.4GHz (19.2GHz burst) quad-core Intel Atom Cherry Trail Z8300
  • Memory: 2GB DDR3L (also available with 4GB)
  • Display: HDMI out and 3.5mm audio out ports
  • Storage: 32GB Flash
  • Connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 10/100 Ethernet
  • Expansion: 6 x GPIO pins linked to Intel Processor. 20 x GPIO pins linked to Arduino-compatible ATmega processor.
  • USB: 2 x USB 2.0 host, 1 x USB 3.0 host
  • Voltage: 5V@2A
  • Dimensions (L x W) : 88 x 70mm / 3.46 x 2.76-inches
  • Weight: 55g

UDOO X86 Basic

Price: $125, excluding tax

Pros

  • Supports Windows, Android and most Linux desktops
  • Quad-core processor with 2GHz burst speed
  • Double the memory of the Pi 3
  • Gigabit Ethernet, faster than the Pi 3
  • Three USB 3.0 ports
  • Reviews seem to praise relative ease-of-use with various OSes

Cons

  • Base speed of 1.04GHz
  • More than three times the price of the Pi 3

Specs

  • Operating systems: Linux, Android, Windows 7/8.1/10
  • CPU: Intel Atom x5-E8000 (4x Braswell cores @ 1.04GHz with 2GHz burst); 5W TDP; 320MHz Intel Gen 8-LP GPU with 12 execution units. Intel Curie microcontroller — Intel Quark SE core at 32 MHz, plus 32-bit ARC core at 32 MHz
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics at up to 320 MHz
  • Memory: 2GB DDR3L
  • Storage: 8GB eMMC, MicroSD slot, SATA connector
  • Display: HDMI port with CEC, 2 x DisplayPort++. Support for HW video decode for H.265/HEVC, H.264, MPEG2, MVC, VC-1, WMV9, JPEG, VP8 codecs.
  • Audio:Mic/headphone connector, internal speaker header, S/PDIF output
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth Low Energy via Curie microcontroller, M.2 Key B slot with optional wireless module (802.11ac and BT 4.0)
  • USB: 3 x USB 3.0 ports
  • Expansion: 2x UART headers, up to 20x ext. GPIOs (LPC, 2x I2C, GPIOs, touchscreen management), RC5 IR interface. Via Curie: SPI flash, JTAG, Arduino 101-compatible pinout, 14x digital I/O pinout (4x PWM), 6x analog I/O pinout (10-bit)
  • Misc: RTC battery connector, Multiboot from LAN, M.2, microSD, eMMC, USB 3.0, SATA, 6-axis combo sensor with accelerometer and gyro, Supports optional Udoo Bricks sensor modules via I2C connector, optional starter kit with 12V power adapter, HDMI cable, SATA and power cables, acrylic enclosure, optional performance kit with 32GB SATA, M.2 wireless, starter kit items, optional cluster kit with 4x power adapters
  • Power: 3.3V input, all pins protected against 5V overvoltage, optional 12V 3A AC adapter via starter kit or 4x adapters via cluster kit
  • Dimensions (L x W): 120 x 85mm

Bubblegum-96

Price: $130

Pros:

  • Runs Android
  • Quad-core CPU clocked faster than the Pi 3
  • Double the memory of the Pi 3
  • USB 3.0

Cons:

  • Expensive for the specs, with a $50 shipping charge
  • Official support limited to older version of Android

Specs:

  • Operating systems: Android 5.1 Lollipop & Debian Linux & Remix OS 2.0
  • CPU: Actions S900 quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 64-bit SoC up to 1.8GHz
  • GPU: Imagination 600MHz PowerVR G6230
  • Memory: 2GB LPDDR3 DRAM at 800MHz
  • USB: 1 x USB 3.0 (Type A), 1 x USB 2.0 (Type A), 1 x microUSB 2.0
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display: Support for up to 1920 x1080 resolution via HDMI 1.4 with HDCP, up to 4K Ultra HD via MHL 2.1 using USB connector
  • Storage: 8GB eMMC Flash Storage, microSD v3.0 socket
  • Expansion: 40-pin header +1.8V, +5V, SYS_DCIN, GND, UART, I2C, SPI, PCM, GPIO x12.
  • 60-pin header SDIO, MIPI_DSI, MIPI_CSI, I2C , USB2.0.
  • Power: 12V@2A, Plug specification is inner diameter 1.7mm and outer diameter 4.8mm
  • Dimensions (L x W): 85mm x 54mm

Inforce 6410Plus

Price: $143

Pros

  • Runs Android
  • Quad-core processor clocked at a higher max speed than the Pi 3
  • Double the memory of the Pi 3
  • 4GB of onboard Flash storage
  • GPS radio
  • Gigabit Ethernet, faster than the Pi 3

Cons

  • Based on an older SoC architecture
  • No official support for recent Android releases

Specs

  • Operating systems: Android 5.1.1
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064 — 4 x Krait cores clocked at 1.7GHz with 2MB L2 cache;
  • GPU: Adreno 320 GPU
  • Memory: 2GB PCDDR3 RAM at up to 533MHz
  • Storage: 4GB eMMC flash, expandable to 64GB, MicroSD slot, SATA interface
  • Display: micro-HDMI port
  • Video in: Dual MIPI-CSI (4/2-lanes) on 51-pin header; can connect two cameras up a total of 21-megapixel @ 15fps, dual MIPI-DSI (4 lanes each) on 51-pin header
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet, GPS/GLONASS
  • USB: 2 x USB 2.0 host, USB 2.0 OTG
  • Expansion: 34-pin PAC expansion header (I2C, SPI, UIM, UART, serial console, 12x GPIO) with optional PAC shield
  • Power: 12V (5V optional) DC input; 1.5A typical; PMIC
  • Dimensions (L x W): 100 x 70

Firefly-RK3399

Price: $149

Pros

  • Runs Android and Ubuntu
  • Two processors, with six cores total, clocked at up to 2GHz
  • Support for 4K displays via HDMI 2.0
  • Up to 4 x memory of Pi 3

Cons

  • Considerably more expensive than the Pi 3

Specs

  • Operating systems: Android 6.0.1 and Ubuntu 16.04
  • CPU: Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core big.LITTLE processor with dual core ARM Cortex A72 up to 2.0 GHz and quad core Cortex A53 processor.
  • GPU: ARM Mali-T860 MP4 with support for OpenGL 1.1 to 3., OpenVG1.1, OpenCL and DX 11
  • Memory: 2/4GB DDR3
  • Storage: 16/32GB eMMC flash, micro SD card, M.2 socket
  • Display: 1 x HDMI 2.0 up to 4K at 60 Hz, 1x DisplayPort (DP) 1.2 interface up to 4K at 60Hz (via USB type C connector), 1 x eDP 1.3 (4-lanes at 10.8 Gbps), 1 x MIPI DSI interface up to 2560×1600 at 60 Hz. Support for decoding 4K VP9 and 10-bit H.265 video codec support up to 60fps
  • Audio: HDMI or DisplayPort, 3.5mm headphone jack with stereo audio output and mic input, optical S/PDIF, 1x LINE Out and 1x speaker via GPIO header, built-in microphone, I2S output and input interface up to 8 channels
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1
  • USB: 2 x USB 2.0 host, 1 x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.0 type C port
  • Video in: 2 x MIPI CSI interfaces up to 13MP or 2x 8MP, 1x DVP camera interface up to 5MP
  • Expansion: 42-pin GPIO female header with access to 1x I2S, 2x ADC, 2x I2C, 1x SPI, 2x GPIO, 1x LINEOUT, 1x SPEAKER, 1x mini PCIe for LTE, 1x PCIe 2.1 M.2 slot B-key (2x PCIe, SATA, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HSIC, SSIC, Audio, UIM, I2C). Debugging - 3-pin serial header
  • Misc: - RTC battery header; power & user LEDs; power, reset and recovery buttons; IR receiver
  • Power: 12V/2A DC (5.5×2.1mm barrel connector)
  • Dimensions (L x W) 12.4 x 9.3mm
  • Weight: 89g

MediaTek X20

Price: $199

Pros

Cons

  • HDMI 1.4 only supports 1080 resolution output despite the CPU/GPU supporting 4K video playback.
  • No Ethernet

Specs

  • Operating systems: Android 6.0
  • CPU: MediaTek Helio X20 (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.4GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.95GHz, 2x Cortex-A72 cores @ 2.5GHz ); ARM Mali-T880 GPU
  • Memory: 2GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Storage: Built-in 8GB eMMC, MicroSD slot
  • Display: HDMI port for up to 1080p at 30Hz
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS
  • USB: 2 x USB 2.0 host ports, micro-USB 2.0 device port
  • Expansion: 40-pin low-speed expansion connector (UART, 2x I2C, SPI, 12x GPIO, DC power), 60-pin high-speed expansion connector (4-lane MIPI-DSI, 2-lane + 4-lane MIPI-CSI, 2x I2C, USB), 16-pin analog connector for audio and other analog
  • Dimensions (L x W): 85 x 54mm

HiKey 960

Price: $239

Pros

  • Octa-core processor
  • 3x the memory of the Pi 3
  • Support for high-performance storage via PCIe M.2 card interface
  • Future proof software — should work with the latest Android Open Source Project versions and has mainline Linux kernel support

Cons

  • Expensive - almost 7x the price of the Pi 3
  • No Ethernet
  • No HDMI 2.0 — lacks the bandwidth to handle higher frame rate, as well as 10- and 12-bit color, 4K video, as well as not being capable of up to 32 channel audio.

Specs

  • Operating systems: Android Open Source Project / Various Linux
  • SoC: Kirin 960
  • CPU: Quad-core Cortex A73 and quad-core Cortex A53 Big.Little CPU architecture
  • GPU: ARM Mali G71 MP8
  • RAM: 3GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
  • PMU: Hi6421GWCV530 PMU
  • Storage: 32GB UFS Flash Storage
  • Connectivity: WiFi (2.4- and 5-GHz dual band with two antennas) and Bluetooh 4.1
  • USB: 2 x USB 3.0 type A (host mode only) and 1 x USB 2.0 type C OTG
  • Display: 1 x HDMI 1.4 (Type A - full), 1 x 4L-MIPI DSI and HDMI output up to FHD 1080P
  • Video: Encoder — H.265/H.264 3840 x 2400@30fps 4 x 1080p @ 30 fps. Decoder — H.265, HEVC MP/High Tier, Main 10/High Tier, H.264 BP/MP/HP, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1, VP6/8
  • Audio: HDMI output
  • Camera: 1 x 4-lane MIPI CSI and 1 x 2-lane MIPI CSI
  • Expansion: 40 pin low speed expansion connector: +1.8V, +5V, DC power, GND, 2UART, 2I2C, SPI, I2S, 12xGPIO and 60 pin high speed expansion connector: 4L-MIPI DSI, I2C x2, SPI (48M), USB 2.0, 2L+4LMIPI CSI
  • Power:12V@2A adapter with a DC plug with a 4.75mm outer diameter and 1.7mm center pin with standard center-positive (EIAJ-3 Compliant)
  • Dimensions (LxW): 85mm x 55mm

UDOO X86 Ultra

Price: $267

Pros

  • Supports Windows, Android and most Linux desktops
  • Roughly 10 x the faster than the Pi 3 (according to Sysbench multi-thread benchmark)
  • 64-bit, quad-core processor with 2.56GHz burst speed
  • 8 x memory of the Pi 3
  • Gigabit Ethernet, faster than the Pi 3
  • Able to drive three 4K screens at once
  • Three USB 3.0 ports
  • Reviews seem to praise relative ease-of-use with various OSes
  • Programmable 6-axis motions sensors
  • Efficient for the power, with max energy consumption claimed to be 6W

Cons

  • Much more expensive than the Pi 3

Specs

  • Operating Systems: Windows 10, 8.1, 7, any Linux Distribution for x86 platform, Android
  • CPU: Quad-core Intel Pentium N3710 at 2.56 GHz. Intel Curie microcontroller — Intel Quark SE core at 32 MHz, plus 32-bit ARC core at 32 MHz
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3L dual channel
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 405 at up to 700 MHz. Hardware video decode for H.265/HEVC,
  • H264, MPEG2, MVC, VC-1, WMV9, JPEG, VP8;
  • Display: 1 x HDMI, 2 x miniDP++ connectors
  • Storage: Built-in 32GB eMMC storage, Micro SD card slot, SATA connector, M.2 Key B SSD slot
  • Networking: Gigabit Ethernet, M.2 Key E slot for optional Wireless modules
  • USB: 3 x USB 3.0 type-A sockets
  • Audio: Mic + headphone connector, S/PDIF output
  • Serial ports: 2 x UART ports
  • Misc: IR interface
  • Expansion: Up to 20 extended GPIOs, multiplexed with other interfaces, LPC - 2 x I2C - GPIOs - Touch Screen management signals on expansion connector, RTC Battery + Connector
  • Dimensions (L x W): 120mm x85mm

About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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