[kwlug-disc] Raspberry Pi alternatives

Andrew Kohlsmith (mailing lists account) aklists at mixdown.ca
Fri Dec 13 16:16:41 EST 2013


On Dec 12, 2013, at 1:28 PM, Chris Craig <kwlug.org at ciotog.net> wrote:
> I came across this set of dev boards, which seem to overcome many of
> the issues inherent in the Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately they seem to be
> less readily available:

RPi isn’t really a great development board. If you want to have I/O to play with a BBB is much better in that regard.  There are literally dozens of various boards that run Linux and give you opportunities to let the magic smoke out. A quick Google search led to this decent article which lists 10 open-source boards under $200:

http://www.linux.com/news/embedded-mobile/mobile-linux/732197-top-10-open-source-linux-boards-under-200

Another link with some more boards, not necessarily open-source:

http://eda360insider.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/39-low-cost-boards-for-embedded-linux-application-development-starting-with-raspberry-pi-want-the-list/

Armadeus Systems makes some neat and tiny embedded boards. The processor board and the dev kit board are separate, which is nice in the case where you either damage the hardware or want to build a product with the processor board once you’ve figured out how you want it to connect to the world:

http://www.armadeus.com/english/products-development_boards-apf28_dev.html

Of course free-electrons has a list of vendors as well:

http://free-electrons.com/community/hardware/boards/

I went to an Altera seminar this past summer and for $50 I got a really kick-ass system. It’s an Altera Cyclone IV SoC with a dual core 1GHz ARM A9, dual banks of DDR3, video (VGA), audio, ethernet, microSD and a bunch of other odds and ends on it: 

http://www.altera.com/b/arrow-sockit.html

I see that they’ve upped the price to $100 now, but that’s still a hell of a deal for the seminar as well as the board. The neat thing about these FPGA boards is that not only can you run Linux on them (the seminar shows you how to install and run Linux on them) but you’ve also got a *very* powerful and big FPGA sitting right there with the CPU with a pretty fast interconnect (125Gbit/sec), so you could design some pretty high performance peripherals (SATA controller, video codec, 3D accelerator, etc.) and write the device drivers to go along with them.


-A.





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