Monday, 28 July 2014

UDOO Quad VS Raspberry PI VS Banana PI: Benchmark comparison

I just finished benchmarking the UDOO Quad (running Linaro Ubuntu 12.04). It’s the first quad core ARM SBC I benchmarked and as expected it performs quite nice compared to its single and dual core rivals. It comes with a little price, power consumption. During the tests the board was hooked up to a power supply feeding it 13V DC, at peak levels the board needed more then 700 mA, I can tell you, without a fan the heat sink becomes quite hot…

In the meantime I also got a confirmation that my Hummingboard is on its way, I’m really curious to see how that one will perform compared to the Raspberry and Banana Pi… to be continued

The complete benchmark details are available here.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Best alternatives to the Raspberry Pi

2014-12-26: here's also an update of the new rivals for 2015.

For a lot of people the Raspberry Pi opened the door to a cheap but quite powerful Single Board Computer (SBC). Its success also revealed that there’s a huge market for these kind of devices. The result (as everybody knows): wherever there’s success, there’re competitors.

As some interesting alternatives where launched recently and because the list of competitors keeps growing, I decided to pick the four alternatives I currently like the most.

Before sharing this list, I want to point out that this not exact science. As many other comparisons have already point out, every board has its own strengths and weaknesses and the best choice will largely depend on the project build around the board. A second big differentiator is of course the price. These boards go from $50 to $116.99. With these things in mind, here are my favourite competitors for the Raspberry Pi.

Price: $99


Easy to hook up a 2,5“ SATA drive without the need of an extra power supply. Comes with a nice enclosure out of the box (with mount possibilities and cables to hook up a 2,5” drive)

Main benefits over the RPI:

  • Storage reliability: possibility to store your data on a hard disk drive instead of on a SD card.
  • Performance:
    • Dual core CPU gives extra processing power
    • SSD drive boost you IO operations
  • IO:
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • Onboard Bluetooth

Board specs:

  • AllWinner A20 SoC (dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1 GHz CPU, with Mali–400MP2 GPU).
  • 2 GiB DDR3 @ 480 MHz
  • 8 GB NAND flash built-in, 1x microSD slot, 1x SATA 2.0 port.
  • HDMI 1080p output
  • 10/100/1000 RTL8211E Ethernet connector
  • 2x USB Host, 1x USB OTG, 1x CIR.
  • S/PDIF, headphone and HDMI audio out, mic and line-in via extended pins
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on board with PCB antenna (Broadcom BCM4329/BCM40181)
  • 54 extended pins including I²C, SPI

BeagleBone Black (Rev C)
Price: $55


If it comes to power per dollar then the BeagleBone Black is king.

Main benefits over the RPI:

  • Performance:
    • 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8
  • Storage:
    • 4GB on-board flash memory
  • IO:
    • 2x 46 pin headers

Board specs:

  • AM335x 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8
  • 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • 4GB 8-bit eMMC on-board flash storage
  • 3D graphics accelerator
  • NEON floating-point accelerator
  • 2x PRU 32-bit microcontrollers
  • USB
  • USB host
  • Ethernet
  • HDMI
  • 2x 46 pin headers

Banana Pi
Price: $50


Raspberry Pi compatible layout: Banana Pi is a fork of the Raspberry Pi project using different components while maintaining compatibility as much as possible.
The main SoC chip is different. Raspberry Pi has a Broadcom ARM11 core chip while Banana Pi has Allwinner ARM Cortex-A7 dual cores. The ARM architecture is the major differences. Banana Pi has more features enabling by ARM v7 architecture and still be compatible to run applications on ARMv6. The physical dimension of Banana Pi is wider than Raspberry.

Main benefits over the RPI:

  • Performance:
    • ARM Cortex-A7 dual-core CPU
    • 1GiB DDR3 SDRAM
  • IO:
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • On-board microphone,
    • SATA connector
    • IR receiver
    • OTG connector

Board specs:

  • Allwinner A20 SoC (Cortex-A7 dual-core CPU, with Mali–400MP2 GPU).
  • SD slot (maximum 64GB),
  • 7-pin SATA data port (with a separate power connector), supporting maximum 1 TB hard drive.
  • HDMI 1080p/CVBS output.
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet connector.
  • 2x USB Host, 1x USB OTG, 1x CSI camera connector.
  • 26 extended pins including I²C, SPI, UART, CAN bus
  • Power and Reset switches mounted on board.
  • Onboard IR receiver
  • Microphone-In
  • Ø3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Expects 5V/2A source to microUSB connector.
  • Dimensions: 9.2cm × 6cm; (The board size of Banana Pi is similar to Raspberry Pi)

Price: $44.99 - $116.99


Another contender for the Raspberry Pi is the HummingBoard, it packs a nice amount of power and connectivity into the same size and shape as the Raspberry Pi. Just released and available in 3 flavours.

Main benefits over the RPI:

  • Performance:
    • ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core CPU
    • 1GiB DDR3 SDRAM
  • IO:
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • On-board microphone,
    • mSATA connector
    • IR receiver
    • PCI-Express

Board specs (i2eX)

  • Freescale i.MX6 Dual
  • GPU GC2000
  • OOpenGL ES1.1,2.0 Quad Shader
  • Multi format video decoder and encoder
  • HDMI 1080p with CEC 1.4, 3D support
  • LVDS Display Out
  • MIPI 2 Lane CSI–2
  • Wired Network 10/100/1000
  • PCI-Express Gen 2
  • mSATA II
  • 2 USB 2.0 Ports
  • UHS–1 Micro SD interface
  • RTC with backup battery
  • Coax SPDIF audio out
  • Audio Out Stereo out and MIC In
  • Infra Red Remote Control Receive
  • GPIO header UART, 8 GPIO, SPI with 2 CS, I2C

Friday, 25 July 2014

Raspberry Pi B+ VS Raspberry PI B: benchmark comparison

Although the new Raspberry PI has almost the same hardware under the hood, I just couldn’t resist to compare it with its predecessor on the test bench.

As expected, the outcome of the tests doesn’t show a performance difference between the old and the new version…. but although there is no difference in performance, power consumption is another story. During benchmarking, the Pi’s were connected to a bench top power supply to monitor their power consumption. This is the result.

The full benchmark report can be found here.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Cubietruck Benchmarks (with and without SSD): Cubietruck VS Raspberry Pi VS Banana Pi VS BeagleBone Black

I just benchmarked another board: the Cubietruck. It’s one of my favourite boards because you can easily hook up an SSD to it. To see if that makes any difference in performance, I ran all test with and without an SSD attached. Here are the results:

Full Phoronix test is available here.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

BeagleBone Black (rev B) benchmarks: BeagleBone VS Raspberry Pi VS Banana Pi

Since I was running some benchmarks anyway I decided to add some extra competitors to the list. The first one I added is the BeagleBone Black revision B. The next boards on my list are:
  • Cubietruck
  • Wandboard (Quad) 
  • Radxa
  • UDOO Board
  • HummingBoard (ordered)
  • Cubieboard 8 (not yet available for ordering) 
You can expect some benchmark results for these boards in the next couple of weeks. Here are the latest results for the BeagleBone Black.

The Black was running Ubuntu 14.04

Monday, 7 July 2014

Quick Start Guide: Phoronix and

Install and run Phoronix

  1. Install the Phoronix test suite

    > sudo apt-get install phoronix-test-suite 
  2. (optional) make an account on

  3. (optional) login to

    > phoronix-test-suite openbenchmarking-login
  4. Install the tests you want to run.

    > phoronix-test-suite install [Test 1] [Test 2] ...


    > phoronix-test-suite install nginx phpbench pybench compress-pbzip2 compress-7zip openssl scimark2 encode-mp3 x264 stream
  5. Prepare Phoronix to run your tests

    > phoronix-test-suite batch-setup
  6. Run your tests

    > phoronix-test-suite batch-run [Test 1] [Test 2] ...


    > phoronix-test-suite batch-run nginx phpbench pybench compress-pbzip2 compress-7zip openssl scimark2 encode-mp3 x264 stream

Some more commands

  • The easiest way to compare your system against an existing published benchmark is to run Phoronix with a referral to that test. Here’s an example based on

    > phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1407059-GLND-ARMSBCB91

    Running Phoronix like this will automatically merge your result with the source benchmark it is based on.

  • List all available tests:

    > phoronix-test-suite list-available-tests
  • List all test results:

    > phoronix-test-suite list-results
  • Remove a result

    > phoronix-test-suite remove-result [Test-Result]
  • Rename an identifier in a result file

    > phoronix-test-suite rename-identifier-in-result-file [Test-Result]
  • Upload a test result to

    > phoronix-test-suite upload-result [Test Result]
  • Run a benchmark. This is more verbose compared to a batch-run, for each test some extra user input could be required:

    > phoronix-test-suite benchmark nginx phpbench
  • Merge results manually on different systems.
    • copy ~/.phoronix-test-suite/test-results/

      > phoronix-test-suite merge-results [Test Result]  ...

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Banana Pi Benchmarks: Banana Pi Vs Raspberry Pi

I just ran some benchmarks on the Banana and Raspberry Pi. Basically my setup looked like this:
  • Raspberry Pi Model B, Raspbian version June 2014
  • Banana Pi, Lubuntu version 3.0 (14.04)
Here’s an overview of the results, i think they speak for themselves.