I have to admit, I did jump on this whole Raspberry Pi bandwagon really fast... almost too fast, some may say. Don't get me wrong, I still believe the Raspberry Pi is a great product and the Raspberry Pi foundation is doing wonderful things in the way of expanding global computer literacy in the creation of Raspberry Pi and the spin off programs.
The thing is, there are still some very serious delivery issues with Raspberry Pi. Part of this is definately manufacturing, the other, and more important aspect is the Raspberry Pi foundations insistance on limiting the distributors of the Raspberry Pi. In essense, the Raspberry Pi foundation has created a monopoly distribution system with companies which have an obvious inability to maintain appropriate service levels with the delivery and stocking of Raspberry Pi boards.
So, here we go with a growing list of Alternatives to Raspberry Pi, if you prefer, a list of Raspberry Pi Alternatives. Some of these mini PC's are on par with Raspberry Pi, some are more geared towards being a portable media server, while others are more expensive, but offer far more, or promise to offer far more in the way of power and functionality over the Raspberry Pi.
Now this is an interesting unit. I first discovered the Beagleboard, ironically, in the forum of one of the select few Raspberry Pi distributors. A person came into the forum looking for information on developing a mini webserver to host a social networking community. With all the worry about Prism and the privacy issues around it, many people are looking for alternative social networking communities who do not fall under the surveillance of Prism.
The moderator of the forum point blank suggested the future client use the Beagle Board instead of Raspberry Pi. So, I decided to check out this Beagle Board and find out what was so great about it. In fact, I even tried contacting the Folks over at Texas Instruments who designed the Beagle Board in their spare time to see if I could purchase the Beagle Board Directly and distribute the Beagle Board through http://www.alarmparts.ca They forwarded me to the manufacturor, and apparently, Alarmparts is not open source enough for them to consider it as a distributor. Odd, but who am I to argue. So the search continues for the board which will end up being the Hub of the Loxone Home Automation project.
My opinion of the Beagle Board??? well, I quite like it. As with Raspberry Pi, they seem very dedicated to the open source community. The price point is only 10 bucks more and the unit has more power, and to be quite honest, looks a little better as well. Of course, this is coming from an alarm guy.
Parallela The Super Powered Raspberry Pi Alternative
Now this baby got me excited. Aside from having an easy to misspell name, the Parallela is an awesome alternative to the Raspberry Pi. Not in production yet, the Parallela site has a sign up link for those interested in being notified when the Parallela, Raspberry Pi replacement is available. Of course I signed up instantly. I also expressed an interest in distributing the Parallela via alarmparts.ca and or the LoxOne online mini pc store - http://www.loxone.ca/Raspberry%20pi%20Arduino%20online%20store%20buy%20r...
So what is better about the Parallela vs Raspberry Pi, you ask? well, first of all this baby has up to 64 Cores. Are you frickin' kidding me, I said. So I did some more reading, here are the specs of the Parallela and you can decide whether you want the jr or sr mini pc
- Zynq-7010 Dual-core ARM A9 CPU
- Epiphany Multicore Accelerator (16 or 64 cores)
- 1GB RAM
- MicroSD Card
- USB 2.0 (two)
- Two general purpose expansion connectors
- Ethernet 10/100/1000
- HDMI connection
- Ships with Ubuntu OS
- Ships with free open source Epiphany development tools that include C compiler, multicore debugger, Eclipse IDE, OpenCL SDK/compiler, and run time libraries.
- Dimensions are 3.4” x 2.1”
- Once completed, the 64-core version of the Parallella computer would deliver over 90 GFLOPS of performance and would have the the horse power comparable to a theoretical 45 GHz CPU [64 CPU cores * 700MHz] on a board the size of a credit card while consuming only 5 Watts under typical work loads
The Raspberry Pi replacement, Parallela is expected to be released in the summer of 2013 and will list for around 99 bucks. Yes, abit more than the Raspberry Pi, but the power has me interested. If you are interested in reserving a Parralela, here is the link to their website http://www.parallella.org/board/
Utilite by CompuLab offers a pretty box "plug and play" alternative to the Raspberry Pi
Also selling for 99 bucks, Utilite, by Israeli manufacturer CompuLab, is more of an out of the box solution consisting of 4Gigs of RAM, ontop of a freescale i.MX6 chip with an ARM Cortex A9 processor. The Ulite has a few options available including a HDD bay, micro SD slot with up to 128GB of storage.
CompuLab is not exactly new to the mini PC market, in fact, CompuLab has a couple of other products (Trimslice and fit-PC) both of which are substantially more expensive than the Utilite
I will update this list of Raspberry Pi Alternatives when I have a little more time. I just wanted to get some info out there.
If any LoxOne Open Source Home Automation Team members would like to add to this list, and perhaps do so with a little more intelligence than my mindless drivel, drop me a note and I can give you permission to alter this page.
Enjoy the rest of your week :