The Raspberry Pi, a tiny, low-powered, cheap system-on-a-chip laptop, has turn into well-known as the most well-liked device of DIY gadget builders and tinkerers. However thanks to its explosive success, it’s not the solely alternative on the marketplace for low cost all-in-one gadgetry and improvement. In case you can’t get your arms on a Pi, otherwise you need to strive one thing else, give these options a glance.
There are clearly much more choices than are listed right here for system-on-a-chip PCs, however we’re specializing in these which might be in the similar ballpark as the Raspberry Pi when it comes to measurement and worth. So we’re on the lookout for one thing smaller than a Mini-ITX motherboard and underneath $100 USD.
NanoPi Neo Plus 2 ($30)
The NanoPi Neo Plus 2 makes use of a Allwinner A53 quad-core processor, a single gigabyte of RAM, built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet, and help for MicroSD playing cards to increase its meager 8GB of onboard storage. Energy comes from MicroUSB, and there are a pair of USB 2.zero ports onboard. Whereas this competitor lacks the HDMI and audio ports of the Raspberry Pi three B, it’s additionally about half the measurement, making it an reasonably priced different that comes with UbuntuCore out of the field.
ODroid Xu4 ($60)
The most recent revision of the ODroid, constructed from the floor up with open-source builds of Android in thoughts, packs a severe punch thanks to a fan-cooled Samsung Eight-core CPU. Although the worth is nearly double that of the Pi 3B, it contains double the RAM each audio and Micro-HDMI ports. Storage comes from the onboard MicroSD card slot. The bigger measurement and further clearance for the fan make it much less perfect for small builds, however for an Android PC that may run out of the field with solely a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, you’d be hard-pressed to do higher.
C.H.I.P. Professional Dev Package ($50)
The C.H.I.P. Professional itself is extra of a competitor to the Pi Zero, with a tiny footprint meant for integration. It sports activities a single-core 1GHz ARM processor and up to 512MB RAM, plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. However add the improvement equipment in a $50 bundle, and also you’ll get entry to USB energy and knowledge and a regular headphone jack. You’ll additionally get a second C.H.I.P. Professional for while you’re prepared to construct. It’s a great alternative if you would like a smaller challenge.
FriendlyElec’s Nano collection is one in every of the hottest options to Raspberry Pi thanks to a dense pack of options. The T3 mannequin features a Samsung octa-core processor with an included heatsink, the customary 1GB RAM, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, an SD card slot, and 8GB of storage. The video out and audio out are available the type of full-sized HDMI (1080p) and headphone jacks, and there’s even a tiny onboard microphone and a full energy swap. 4 USB ports might be expanded with a 2.54mm header. The one downer is a 5-volt energy enter that doesn’t help USB. It’s additionally a bit bigger than the Raspberry Pi, however the vendor affords a terrific assortment of add-ons which might be assured to work with the T3.
ASUS Tinker Board ($60)
ASUS is one in every of the largest laptop producers on the planet, so it’s shocking to see them deal with a conventionally hobbyist area. However they’re welcome to it, with as small and highly effective as the Tinker Board. The most recent revision features a 1.8GHz quad-core RockChip CPU with 2GB of RAM, giving it extra oomph than most of the entries on this checklist. It has the customary Ethernet/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo, plus an included MicroSD card slot and 4 USB 2 ports. the $60 bundle comes with the Debian-based TinkerOS pre-installed.
Banana Pi M3 ($82)
The Banana Pi collection is an alternate to sure different fruity-named merchandise. The M3 mannequin is super-powered with an octa-core ARM A7 CPU, 2GB of RAM, and the normal Ethernet and wi-fi options. As well as to the MicroSD card slot, there’s a full-sized SATA port for including straightforward connections to customary PC exhausting drives and different equipment. HDMI and headphone ports make video and audio straightforward, however sadly there are solely two onboard USB 2.zero ports—a bit low for one thing that prices over $80.
Orange Pi Plus 2E ($50)
Orange Pi is one other collection of single-board machines that kind of tries to replicate Raspberry’s success. The Plus 2E mannequin boasts a comparatively enormous 16GB of flash storage paired with 2GB of RAM and a quad-core 1.3GHz processor. The bundle comes with two USB 2.zero ports, an onboard infrared port, and even an exterior Wi-Fi antenna, however oddly, no energy provide. That’s a bummer of an exclusion on a $50 board.
Pine A64 ($15-29)
The Pine A64 is supposed for embedded initiatives in large-scale industrial purposes, but it surely works effective as a hobbyist board, too. Fashions are provided with RAM from simply 512MB all the manner up to 2GB, paired with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. Each comes with a wide range of growth bus choices, Ethernet, MicroSD card growth, and onboard HDMI, however for the least expensive mannequin you’ll want to add an exterior Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module. Even so, its versatile pricing is nice when you’d like to construct a number of devices.