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Raspberry Pi with a twist
As versatile as the $35 Raspberry Pi is, it is just one of many single-board computers available to buy today.
The Pi strikes a fine balance between performance, price, and usability, but leaves plenty of room for other boards to tweak that formula.
This Fall has seen the release of a swathe of new boards, some ramping up the price to add PC-like features — such support for fast SSD storage and Intel Core processors — while others trim specs to cut costs.
These boards are generally aimed at software developers, hardware hackers and tech enthusiasts working on projects like home media servers. However, it’s worth pointing out that few boards are as accessible or offer the same breadth of stable software as the Pi.
This gallery is also available as a single-page article.
Click through this gallery to see the most interesting single-board computers revealed or released in recent months.
SEE: The latest Raspberry Pi alternatives for you to try (TechRepublic)
Editor’s note: This gallery has been updated.
What it offers
The $15 La Frite comes close to matching the $35 Pi 3 B+ in some key respects, using the same underlying Arm-based CPU and even offering faster DDR4 memory.
On paper, the La Frite also promises comparable video playback performance to the Pi 3 B+, can output to 1080p displays via HDMI 1.4, and offers two USB 2.0 ports.
As you’d expect there are various cutbacks. The board is missing the Pi 3 B+’s Wi-Fi support, offers a slightly slower wired Ethernet connection, and has a slightly slower processor.
CPU: Quad-core 64-bit Arm Cortex A53 CPU @ 1.2GHz
Memory: 512MB / 1GB DDR4 @ 2400MHz
Display: HDMI 1.4 with 1080P output
Connectivity: 100MB Ethernet
Ports: USB 2.0 host, USB 2.0 OTG
Misc: IR sensor, 128Mb SPI NOR
Where to buy
The board is tavailable to buy here for $15.
SEE: Inside the Raspberry Pi: The story of the $35 computer that changed the world (TechRepublic cover story)
What it offers
tNot a Pi competitor, but the $358 LattePanda Alpha does use the same class of Intel processor as found in the $1,200 12-inch MacBook.
tThe board’s high price buys you PC-like specs, including 8GB of DDR3 memory and 64GB of fast eMMC v5.0 Flash storage, alongside Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, 4K video out and dual M.2 connectors that could be used for hooking up fast NVMe SSD storage.
t tThe board is available with Windows 10 Pro, which pushes the price up to $398, as well as being compatible with a broad range of Linux-based operating systems. The Alpha also has 2 x 50-pin headers for hooking up hardware, as well as an Arduino Leonardo co-processor.
t tCPUuff1aIntel 7th Gen Core m3-7y30
t tCoreuff1a1.6-2.6GHz Dual-Coreuff0cFour-Thread
t tGraphicsuff1aIntel HD Graphics 615, 300-900MHz
t tRAMuff1a8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz Dual-Channel
t tConnectors: 1x M.2 M Key, PCIe 4x, supports NVMe SSD and SATA SSD. 1x M.2 E Key, PCIe 2xuff0csupports USB2.0, UART, PCM
t tConnectivityuff1a WIFI 802.11 AC, 2.4G & 5G Dual Band. Bluetooth 4.2. Gigabyte Ethernet
t tUSB Portsuff1a 3x USB 3.0 Type A. 1x USB Type C, supports PD, DP, USB 3.0
t tDisplayuff1a HDMI Output Type-C DP Support Extendable eDP touch displays
t tCo-processoruff1aArduino Leonardo
t tGPIO & other featuresuff1a2x 50 GPIOs including I2C, I2S, USB, RS232, UART, RTC. Power Management. Extendable power button
t tOSuff1aWindows 10 Pro, various Linux
tWhere to buy
t tAvailable here from $358.
What it offers
tWith specs more akin to a low-end PC, the Odroid-H2 will almost certainly cost more than the $35 Raspberry Pi 3 B+.
tAs an x86 Intel Celeron based board it can run a wider range of Linux-based operating systems than a typical Arm-based, single-board computer.
tIts specs stand out from the crowd too, with the ability to add fast SSD storage via its 4 x PCIe 2.0 NMVe interface and SATA 3.0 ports, and support for up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM. Additionally, there is fast network connectivity via the two gigabit Ethernet ports, although no mention of Wi-Fi support. However, while Odroid boards have a good reputation for software support, this board doesn’t appear to be targeting hardware hackers, with only a 20-pin expansion header.
tThe board’s 2.3GHz Intel J4105 processor — a “Gemini Lake” system-on-a-chip dating from 2017 — is also faster than the Arm Cortex A53 / A72-based CPUs found in recent SBCs.
tCPU: 2.3Ghz Quad-core processor J4105 (14nm) with 4MiB cache.
tMemory: Dual-channel Memory DDR4-PC19200 (2400MT/s), support for up to 32GB RAM with two SO-DIMM slots.
tExpansion: 4 x PCIe 2.0 for one NVMe storage, 2 x gigabit Ethernet ports, 2 x SATA 3.0.
tGPU: Intel UHD Graphics (Gen9.5) 600 (GT1) 700Mhz. Support for SSE4.2 accelerator (SMM, FPU, NX, MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AES).
tDisplay: HDMI 2.0 and DP 1.2 multiple video output.
Where to buy
tHardkernel says the H2 will ship from late November for an unannounced price.