9 Raspberry Pi alternatives in 2021: Hackboard, Zimaboard, RockPi, ODROID and more

Need a SBC for a project? Checkout my recommendations for Raspberry Pi Alternatives in 2021 below.

HackBoard 2
A very small but powerful x86 SBC
Buy Now at Crowd Supply!More Info
ZimaBoard
Small but Mighty, dual NIC x86 SBC Designed specifically to be used as a home server.
More at ZimaboardMore Info
Rock Pi4
A powerful Hex Core ARM based SBC sharing the same physical form factor as a Raspberry Pi Model B
Buy Now at Amazon!More Info
ODROID-H2+
Powerful Quad Core x86 SBC With Dual NICs.
Buy Now at ODROID!More Info
NanoPi R4S
A tiny Hex Core ARM SBC With Dual NICs and up to 4GB RAM.
Buy Now at Friendly Arm!More Info
ZeroPi
A ultra budget Quad Core ARM SBC with a Gigabit NIC at a very low price.
Buy Now at Friendly Arm!More Info
Jetson Nano Developer KitNVIDIA Jetson Nano
A powerful Arm SBC featuring an onboard NVIDIA GPU.
Buy Now at Amazon!More Info
Asus Tinker Board  
A powerful Well supported Quad Core SBC
Buy Now at Amazon!More Info
ImageSipeed XuanTie C906
A yet to be released $12 RISC-V SBC
More Info on TwitterMore Info

Hackboard 2

Hackboard 2

Details

The Hackboard 2 is a newly crowdfunded mid sized SBC that is larger than the Raspberry Pi 4 model B at 120x80mm.

The specs are as follows:

  • Dual Core Intel Celeron N4020 CPU
  • 4GB DDR4 RAM
  • 64GB EMMC
  • 2x M.2 slots
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 3x USB 3.0 Type B ports
  • HDMI
  • Audio Jack
  • 40 pin Pi compatible GPIO
  • Wifi and bluetooth

The board design is compact but functional featuring a Power button, LED power status/system LED and a small RTC battery.

Windows is installed out of the box and any x86 compatible Linux distributions can easily be installed.

Keep an eye out for my upcoming review!

Pricing

The hackboard 2 starts at $99 Shipping with Ubuntu or $140 Shipped with Windows 10 Pro. This may seem pricey in comparison to the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B however the Windows 10 version is cheaper than a Windows 10 Pro Licence and almost any Linux distro or x86 OS is compatible out of the box.

The HackBoard 2 is available to purchase now at crowdsupply.

ZimaBoard

ZimaBoard-Case
Zimaboard With its passive heatsink/case

Details


Running a home server on a SBC isn’t anything new, I’ve personally been doing it since the release of the Raspberry Pi Model B in 2012. However no SBC has been designed specifically for this purpose. That is until now! The ZimaBoard is a SBC designed to be used for server applications and is available in two different configurations:

SpecZimaBoard 216ZimaBoard 832
CPUIntel Celeron N3350Intel Celeron N3450
RAM2GB LPDDR48G LPDDR4
Onboard Storage16GB eMMC32GB eMMC
HDD/SSD2x SATA 6.0 Ports2x SATA 6.0 Ports
LAN2x GbE Ports2x GbE Ports
USB2x USB 3.0 Ports2x USB 3.0 Ports
PCI-E1x PCIe 2.0 4x1x PCIe 2.0 4x
Display1x Mini Display Port 1.21x Mini Display Port 1.2
TDP6w6w
Dimensions120 x 74.5 x 25 mm120 x 74.5 x 25 mm
ZimaBoard Specs

The ZimaBoard is small, fanless and very low powered with its 6w Apollo lake CPU making it perfect as a lightweight home server.

Whilst the ZimaBoard has not yet been funded it is expected to be released at some point during 2021.

Check out my press release on the ZimaBoard here

Pricing

Both models will soon be available to back on kickstarter priced at $69.90 and $129.90 respectively.

RockPi 4 Model B

RockPi 4

Details

The Rock Pi 4 is a small SBC that uses the same form factor as the Raspberry Pi Model B. Featuring a Hex Core Rockchip RK3399 it is very powerful for the form factor and price.

The Specs are as follows:

  • 1.8Ghz 6 Core 64Bit Rockchip RK3399 CPU
  • LPDDR4 RAM Available in:
    • 1GB
    • 2GB
    • 4GB
  • Storage
    • Optional EMMC Module in 8,16,32,64 and 128GB
    • Micro SD Card
    • NVME M.2 Connector supporting up to 2TB SSD
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • 802.11 ac wifi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • GbE NIC with PoE Support (Additional HAT required for POE)

Pricing

The RockPi 4 starts at $49 for the 1GB Model, $59 for the 2GB Model and $75 for the 4GB Model.

The RockPi 4 is available to purchase on Amazon.

ODROID-H2+

Odroid-H2+ [77800]
ODROID-H2+

Details

The ODROID-h2+ is a Quad core x86 board featuring a 2.5Ghz Intel J4115 CPU. Whilst this is not strictly a SBC due to the removable memory DIMMS it is still fitting with this list although the lack of GPIO may make it unsuitable for some projects.

Due to the Dual Nics this would make a great software router or home server.

Specs

  • Intel Quad-core processor J4115 (14nm) with 4MiB Cache, up to 2.5Ghz(Single Thread) or 2.3Ghz(Multi Thread)
  • Dual-channel Memory DDR4-PC19200 (2400MT/s)
  • Total 32GiB RAM Space with two SO-DIMM slots
  • 4 x PCIe 2.0 for one M.2 NVMe storage
  • 2 x 2.5Gbit Ethernet ports
  • 2 x SATA 3.0
  • SSE4.2 accelerator (SMM, FPU, NX, MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AES)
  • Intel UHD Graphics 600 (Gen9.5 LP GT1) up to 700Mhz
  • HDMI 2.0 and DP 1.2 multiple 4K/60Hz video outputs
  • RTC / BIOS backup battery is included

Pricing

The ODROID-h2+ is available at $119.00 although keep in mind you will need to purchase DDR4-PC19200  SODIMM RAM separately.

The ODROID-h2+ is available to purchase in the UK here or for the rest of the world here.

NanoPi R4S

The NanoPi R4S is a tiny SBC designed to be used as a firewall or router featuring the Hex Core RK3399 CPU and Dual Gigabit Ethernet. The friendly ARM range isn’t new to me and their support is fantastic. Check out my previous review of their NanoPi Fire 3.

Specs

  • 1.8Ghz 6 Core 64Bit Rockchip RK3399 CPU
  • 1GB DDR3 or 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • MicroSD Storage
  • Dual Gigabit NICs
  • 2x USB 3.0 Type A
  • MicroSD Card Storage

Pricing

The NanoPi R4s Starts at $45 for the 1GB model and $69 for the 4GB Model.

The NanoPi R4S is available directly from friendly arm here

ZeroPi

The ZeroPi is another product from Friendly Arm starting at the very low price of just $9.99. Featuring a Quad-core Allwinner H3 CPU running at 1.2Ghz. Although there is no GPIO making it useless for some projects for anyone wanting a low powered very cheap Linux SBC this is a bargain!

Specs

  • 1.2Ghz Quad Core Allwinner H3 CPU
  • 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • MicroSD Slot for storage
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1x USB 2.0

Pricing

The ZeroPi is available now for $9.99 or for an extra $3 you can have a nice metal enclosure.

Available to purchase now at Friendly Arm

NVIDIA Jetson Nano

Jetson Nano Developer Kit

The NVIDIA Jetson Nano is the latest in the line of NVIDIA SBC Development Kits featuring a Quad Core Arm A57 @ 1.43GHz and a 128 Core Maxwell GPU.

Specs

  • 128 Core Maxwell GPU
  • 1.43GHz Quad Core A57 CPU
  • 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • MicroSD Storage
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • HDMI

Pricing

The NVIDIA Jetson Nano is available for £64 from Amazon UK or for around $119 on Amazon US

Asus Tinker Board  

Asus Tinker Board

The ASUS Tinker Board is ASUS’ first commercial SBC designed as a direct competitor to the Raspberry Pi Model B. Although this board is using ageing technology it is still a viable alternative down to the level of documentation and support provided by ASUS.

Specs

  • Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288 processor
  • 2GB Dual Channel DDR3
  • MicroSD Storage
  • 802.11 WIFI
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 40-pin Pi compatible GPIO

Pricing

The ASUS Tinker Board is priced at around £40 in the UK and can be purchased on Amazon.

Pricing for the rest of the world is around $60

Sipeed XuanTie C906

Little is known about the Sipeed XuanTie C906 as it is yet to be released however it looks to be the first budget SBC to use the RISC-V architecture making it somewhat special.

The only details available for this board were released back in November of 2020 in a tweet however I have spoken to sipeed and they confirmed the following:

Hello,
We will release it in February, please keep following us on twitter, we will update in time on twitter.Thank you very much for your support and attention to us.
Best regards,
Orgmar
www.sipeed.com

Conclusion

If you are looking at Raspberry Pi alternatives in 2021 there is a range of options at various specifications and prices. Although at the time of writing some of these options are yet to be released I believe that they will be relevant within the next few months.

Raspberry Pi alternatives have always been an interest to me as they often create innovating products before the Raspberry Pi foundation. This is not to say I have anything against Raspberry Pi’s they are absolutely the well deserved leader in this market and still offer the best support and community.

If anyone believes I have missed a Raspberry Pi alternative from the list please comment below and I will review it and potentially add it to the list.

Watch this space as a good amount of the SBC’s mentioned in this list will be reviewed by myself in early 2021.

8 comments

    1. I haven’t personally used any of the Orange Pi Product line although I’ve contacted them recently to request a few review units so they may be featured here soon!

        1. I’ll definitely check them out, same can be said about the raspberry pi in regards to static. I’ve killed a few of them!

  1. The Rock Pi X was a slight disappointment: Atom x5-Z8350 (Cherry Trail) CPU at 1.44GHz, 4 GB of LPDDR3 RAM , eMMC, USB3, wifi. More expensive than a Raspberry Pi 4, not as powerful. The DDR3 bandwidth really does for its performance — that, and it’s using a 4 year old low-end tablet CPU. Yeah, it’s nice that it accepts standard x86 boot media, but it’ll likely join my graveyard of under-supported SBCs (Firefly, VIA APC, Beaglebone Black, …) while my small army of Raspberry Pis continue to do real work.

    1. I’ve never used one but I haven’t heard great things.

      Its still cheap as far as x86 SBC’s go though I think the Atomic Pi is slightly cheaper but I’ve never seen it available for purchase.

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