Thursday, 20 November 2014

Comparison of Raspberry Pi vs Beaglebone Black vs Banana Pi

Update (2015-2): I'll update the below when I get more info on the new BCM2836 chip used in the Raspberry Pi Generation 2 model B. It CPU performance should jump up by about six, the RAM has doubled, but the GPU is the same as is everything else. RAM performance will be the same, no clocking improvement, just size. The quad core CPU (ARMv7) does now have NEON support so SIMD, should improve data processing ability. But the real bottleneck to the RPi is getting data into and out of the CPU from the real world, it is like a giant head sitting on a straw.


From each of the /proc/cpuinfo files shown below, in theory if an application is single threaded the Banana Pi should win, and if it is multithreaded the Banana Pi should still win. I have not run any direct benchmark, just looking at the BogoMIPS and the Features supported by each ARM chip.

Raspberry Pi (Model A,B,B+,A+ all have the same ARM1176JZF-S)
Processor       : ARMv6-compatible processor rev 7 (v6l)
BogoMIPS        : 697.95
Features        : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp java tls
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant     : 0x0
CPU part        : 0xb76
CPU revision    : 7

Hardware        : BCM2708
Revision        : 000f

BeagleBone Black
processor    : 0
model name    : ARMv7 Processor rev 2 (v7l)
BogoMIPS    : 990.68
Features    : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp thumbee neon vfpv3 tls
CPU implementer    : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant    : 0x3
CPU part    : 0xc08
CPU revision    : 2

Hardware    : Generic AM33XX (Flattened Device Tree)
Revision    : 0000
Serial        : 0000000000000000

Banana Pi (The Banana Pro has the same Allwinner A20)
Processor       : ARMv7 Processor rev 4 (v7l)
processor       : 0
BogoMIPS        : 2004.17

processor       : 1
BogoMIPS        : 2011.05

Features        : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 tls vfpv4 idiva idivt
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant     : 0x0
CPU part        : 0xc07
CPU revision    : 4

Hardware        : sun7i
Revision        : 0000


Raspberry Pi:  Broadcom VideoCore IV (Graphics and compute) 24 GFLOPS
Beaglebone Black: PowerVR SGX530 (200 MHz) (Graphics, video encoding, decoding only) 1.6 GFLOPS
 Banana Pi: ARM Mali400MP2 dual GPU core (Grahpics, video encoding, decoding only) 6.3 GFLOPS 


Raspberry Pi ( A, A+, B rev 1): 256MiB DDR
Raspberry Pi (B rev 2, B+): 512MiB DDR
BeagleBone Black: 512MiB DDR3L
Banana Pi: 1024MiB DDR3

[DDR3 is 1.35 volt and DDR3L 1.25 volt (lower power = less heat = longer life)]



Raspberry Pi A: 1 x Standard A host port (direct).
Raspberry Pi B: 2 x Standard A host port (via hub with Ethernet).
Raspberry Pi A+: 1 x Standard A host port (direct).
Raspberry Pi B+: 4 x Standard A host port (via hub with Ethernet).
Beaglebone Black: 1 x Standard A host port (direct) 1x mini B device port (direct)
Banana Pi: 2 x Standard A host port (direct) 1x mini AB OTG port (direct)


Raspberry Pi (B, B+): 10/100Mbps (shared USB)
Beaglebone Black: 10/100Mbps
Banana Pi: 10/100/1000Mbps



Raspberry Pi A,B: SD card
Raspberry Pi A+, B+:  microSD card
Beaglebone Black:  microSD card
Banana Pi:  SD card

8-bit eMMC 

Raspberry Pi: None
Beaglebone Black ((Rev B): 2 GB Ångström pre-installed
Beaglebone Black ((Rev C): 4 GB Debian pre-installed
Banana Pi: None


Raspberry Pi: None
Beaglebone Black: None
Banana Pi: SATA 2.0

Me personally I hate devices with inbuilt flash, 3000-5000 writes per block and the device ready for the bin.

GPIO/Low-level peripherals

Raspberry Pi A, B rev 1: UART, SPI, 2x I²C,MIPI CSI-2, (not yet enabled DSI, CEC)
                                       8-17GPIO pins
Raspberry Pi B rev 2: UART, SPI, 2x I²C,MIPI CSI-2, (not yet enabled DSI, CEC)
                                  12-21GPIO pins

Raspberry Pi A+, B+: UART, SPI, 2x I²C,MIPI CSI-2, (not yet enabled DSI, CEC)
                                   EEPROM ID feature for auto-configuration with add-on "HAT" boards
                                   21-30GPIO pins

Beaglebone Black: 4xUART(1xTX only), 8x PWM, LCD, GPMC, MMC1, 2x SPI, 2x I²C, 7xADC(1.8v), 2x CAN bus, 4 Timers, 25xPRU
                                  65 GPIO pins
Banana Pi:  UART, SPI, I²C, CAN, ADC, PWM
                  CSI (or 21 additional GPIO pins), LCD display LVDS (or 36 additional GPIO pins)
                  7-17 GPIO pins (or 7-74 GPIO pins if CSI and LCD are re-purposed)
                  IR receiver
                  On board microphone

Overall I'd probably pick the Beaglebone Black as having the best GPIO/Low-level peripherals support (and very easy access to the pins).


Raspberry Pi A: 500mA-1000mA
Raspberry Pi B: 700-1000mA
Raspberry Pi A+:  500mA-2000mA
Raspberry Pi B+: 600-2000mA
Beaglebone Black: 300–500 mA @5 V
Banana Pi: 200mA*-2000mA (*requires 700-800mA during boot)


Raspberry Pi A:  45 g (1.6 oz)
Raspberry Pi B:  45 g (1.6 oz)
Raspberry Pi A+:   23 g (0.81 oz)
Raspberry Pi B+:  45 g (1.6 oz)
Beaglebone Black: 39.68 g (1.400 oz)
Banana Pi:  48 g (1.7 oz)

My conclusion would be if it is light weight I needed, then I'd go with a Pro Trinket (2.6g/0.09oz), unless I needed a 1920x1080HD camera as well then it would be the Raspberry Pi A+ (23g/0.81oz) with a camera module (3g/0.11oz). If it was easily accessible GPIO that I needed, with loads of inputs and outputs I'd pick the Beaglebone Black (It is a great piece of open hardware) 7ADC is nice. And finally if it was shoving large amounts of data about fast, or processing that data, I'd pick the Banana Pi (With SATA 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet and 1GiB of RAM it is an impressive piece of kit) or it's newer incarnation of hardware the Banana Pro (with builtin WiFi).

There are larger communities built up around the Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone Black, than there is around the Banana Pi/Pro hardware.  So if you have a problem, sometimes you may have to solve it yourself rather than looking for a quick fix from someone else in the community  who had the same problem already.

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