Raspberry Pi: Five alternatives for hackers and modders

Banana Pi

No relation to the Raspberry Pi, in spite of the name, this small board computer aims to take on the Pi with its higher specs.

If imitation really is as flattering as is claimed then the Raspberry Pi should be blushing, as the Banana Pi is identical to the Raspberry Pi down to the layout and footprint of the board.

Compared to its namesake the Banana Pi has double the RAM, a higher-clocked CPU and can support faster data transfer with attached devices via its SATA port.

The makers claim the board is compatible with a range of Pi-targeted operating systems. However, the software listed as working on the board is sparse, with the official page only mentioning the drag and drop programming language Scratch.

There are also reports of the Banana Pi struggling to play 1080p video in XBMC due to a lack of support for hardware accelerated video decoding.

And as pointed out on the Raspberry Pi forums this board doesn't have the community that can help new users get up to speed and get the system performing as they want.

The Banana Pi is available for $74 with shipping.


  • Processor: Allwinner A20 ARM Cortex-A7-based dual-core
  • Graphics: ARM Mali400MP2, supports OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1
  • Video/Audio: HDMI, CVBS , LVDS/RGB. 3.5 mm audio out
  • Memory: 1GB DDR3 (shared with GPU)
  • Storage: SD card (Max. 64GB) / MMC card slot. Up to 2TB on SATA disk
  • Connectivity: Two USB 2.0 ports. Sata
  • Network:10/100/1000 Ethernet RJ45 (optional USB WIFI Dongle)
  • Expansion: General purpose input output pins, UART,I2C bus,SPI bus with two chip selects, CAN bus, ADC, PWM
  • Dimensions: 92mm × 60mm
  • Power: 5V via MicroUSB (DC In Only) and/or MicroUSB (OTG)
  • Operating system: Android 4.4, Debian, Ubuntu, Raspberry Pi

Image: Lemaker

By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is a computer science student and was formerly a journalist at TechRepublic and ZDNet.