9 Best Raspberry Pi Alternatives for You to Try in 2023

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The Raspberry Pi has revolutionized small single-board computing. Its affordable price, versatility, and thriving community have made it a beloved development board for DIY tech and IoT projects.

However, as technology progresses, many enthusiasts seek alternatives that offer more power, flexibility and specialization. Though Raspberry Pi continues to upgrade its capabilities, these 9 alternatives are exciting options that can meet diverse performance and application needs.

Why Consider Raspberry Pi Alternatives?

While Raspberry Pi boards excel as budget-friendly general-purpose computers, they have some limitations:

  • Processing power may be insufficient for AI, machine learning and computer vision applications.
  • Graphical capabilities may not support complex 3D development or high FPS gaming.
  • Lack of certain specialized features like PoE headers or onboard wireless connectivity.

Enthusiasts building projects with these specific requirements often desire alternatives designed to excel in these niches. Thankfully, the thriving maker market has produced plenty of excellent options.

Overview of Raspberry Pi Alternatives Covered

Here are 9 of the most compelling Raspberry Pi alternatives to consider:

  1. Libre Computer Board AML-S905X-CC – General purpose Pi 3 alternative with wide OS support.
  2. Waveshare Compute Module 4 – Compatible with Pi 4 add-ons and HATs.
  3. Firefly ROC-RK3588S-PC – Specialized for AI and edge computing use cases.
  4. Orange Pi 4 – Rockchip SBC for advanced networking and media applications.
  5. Khadas VIM4 Amlogic – Powerful, versatile board with excellent multimedia capabilities.
  6. Orange Pi 5 – Cutting edge Rockchip RK3588S for deep learning development.
  7. Khadas VIM4 A311D2 – Upgraded VIM4 model with active cooling for sustained performance.
  8. Tinker Board S – ASUS made board optimized for IoT, data analysis and graphics.
  9. Geniatech RK3128 – An extremely compact and affordable Pi alternative.

Now let‘s look at their capabilities, pros and cons in more depth:

1. Libre Computer Board AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato)

The Libre Computer Board AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato) is a versatile alternative to the Raspberry Pi 3B and 3B+. Its open source Amlogic processor powers leading media streamers like Amazon Fire Stick.

Key Specs:

  • Amlogic S905X SoC with ARM Cortex-A53 1.5GHz quad-core CPU
  • Mali-450 GPU – Good 2D performance and 4Kp30 video decoding
  • 1GB or 2GB RAM options
  • Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, 40-pin GPIO header
  • Runs vast range of Linux distros and Android

Pros of AML-S905X-CC:

  • Hardware decoding for fast and efficient 4K video playback
  • Significantly better CPU and GPU over Pi 3B+ at similar prices
  • Wide OS support including Android 9.0


  • No onboard wireless connectivity
  • Lacks some Raspberry Pi accessories compatibility
  • Minimal developer community compared to Pi

Use Cases:

As a Raspberry Pi alternative, the Le Potato excels as a media streaming box on open source platforms like Kodi, or for building digital signage solutions. Its ample GPIO pins also make it suitable for home automation projects.

For basic server applications, AI development or computer vision the Pi 3B+ has far more software resources and guides available.

2. Waveshare Compute Module 4

As a seamless alternative to Raspberry Pi 4 itself, the Waveshare Compute Module 4 packs an incredible amount into its small form factor.

Key Specs:

  • Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core ARM Cortex A72 64-bit processor
  • Same core specs as Raspberry Pi 4 up to 4GB RAM
  • Onboard PoE header
  • Pre-soldered eMMC flash storage rather than microSD card
  • Compatible with Pi 4 accessories and HAT add-ons

Pros of Compute Module 4:

  • Improved reliability from eMMC storage rather than SD cards
  • Enables PoE capabilities for power over Ethernet
  • Re-uses Pi 4 ecosystem of cases, OS images and extensions


  • More expensive than Pi 4 itself
  • Some limitations around USB 2.0 port availability

Use Cases:

As a drop-in replacement for Raspberry Pi projects where PoE capability, space savings or eMMC storage are beneficial, the Waveshare CM4 is an easy choice. It saves having to design an integrate a PoE HAT while maintaining Pi 4 software and hardware compatibility.

3. Firefly ROC-RK3588S-PC

With its cutting edge Rockchip RK3588S processor, the Firefly ROC-RK3588S-PC leaves even the Pi 4 far behind for AI, edge computing and modern workloads.

Key Specs:

  • Rockchip RK3588S with Cortex-A77 4 x 2.2GHz and Cortex-A55 4 x 2.0GHz cores
  • Mali G610 GPU with impressive graphics capabilities
  • Up to 16GB RAM and 128GB storage
  • PCI Express 4.0, USB 3.2 Gen2 and HDMI ports
  • WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 support

Pros of ROC-RK3588S-PC:

  • Much higher CPU and GPU performance for AI development
  • Significantly faster memory and storage technologies
  • Leading connectivity with WiFi 6 and PCIe 4.0


  • High price
  • Still an early adopter platform, less guides than Pi

Use Cases:

With specifications rivalling higher-end laptops, the Firefly ROC-RK3588S-PC excels for workloads like:

  • Building smart cameras with advanced Vision AI capabilities
  • Machine learning with compute-intensive frameworks like TensorFlow
  • Software-defined networking and NAS systems

Its 8K video encoder also makes this an excellent board for handling and streaming Ultra HD content from drones or multi-lens systems.

4. Orange Pi 4

The Orange Pi range provide cost-optimized alternatives for simpler applications, with the Orange Pi 4 packing Rockchip‘s hexa-core mobile processor.

Key Specs:

  • Rockchip RK3399 with 2x Cortex-A72 and 4x Cortex-A53 cores
  • Mali T-860 GPU with modest graphics capabilities
  • Up to 4GB RAM and 16GB eMMC flash storage
  • Gigabit ethernet, WiFi ac/BT 4.2 plus 40-pin header

Pros of Orange Pi 4:

  • One of few sub-$100 boards with 6 CPU cores
  • Strong networking connectivity with WiFi ac and GbE
  • Runs most major ARM Linux distributions


  • More locked down and less open source than Pi
  • Weaker OS support and accessory compatibility

Use Cases:

With its hexa-core Rockchip application processor and strong network connectivity, the Orange Pi 4 works well for:

  • Network appliances like VPN routers, firewalls and media servers
  • Running multiple containerized applications in clustered deployments
  • Basic ML with OpenCV or media transcoding

It saves costs over Pi for mass deployment of simple networked devices, though can‘t match Pi‘s software maturity.

5. Khadas VIM4 Amlogic

With its high performance Amlogic A311D2 SoC, extensive connectivity and multimedia prowess, the Khadas VIM4 is a more premium Raspberry Pi alternative.

Key Specs:

  • Amlogic A311D2 with Cortex A73 quad core CPU up to 2.2GHz
  • Mali G52-MP4 GPU – Good balance of graphics and AI capabilities
  • 8GB LPDDR4 RAM & 16GB eMMC 5.1 flash storage
  • USB 3.0, GbE, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 plus MIPI DSI and eDP display interfaces

Pros of VIM4:

  • Excellent thermals from aluminum unibody design + heatsink
  • Great OS support including Android
  • Leading connectivity with WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 and fast USB


  • Higher cost than mainstream boards
  • Fewer HAT add-ons or accessories available

Use Cases:

With its polished design, ample horsepower and connectivity the Khadas VIM4 excels at roles like:

  • High quality media playback systems – Partners well with multidisplay or touchscreen panels
  • Prototyping machine learning applications – G52 GPU designed to balance ML workloads
  • Running Android custom ROMs or other niche OS projects

6. Orange Pi 5 Rockchip RK3588S

Leveraging the same next-gen RK3588S silicon as the Firefly SBC highlighted earlier, the Orange Pi 5 delivers blistering performance at more affordable pricing.

Key Specs:

  • Rockchip RK3588S with Cortex-A77 and Cortex-A55 cores
  • Mali G610 GPU
  • Up to 8GB RAM and 64GB eMMC storage
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2, PCIe 3.0, HDMI and 40-pin header
  • WiFi ac/BT 5.2 support

Pros of Orange Pi 5:

  • Leading performance from RK3588S at under $120
  • Solid memory and storage for software development
  • Official support for Android 12L OS project


  • Still maturing software support as new platform
  • Lacks NVMe storage capabilities of Firefly option

Use Cases:

The exceptional horsepower per dollar makes the Orange Pi 5 ideal for:

  • Machine learning training and inferencing workloads
  • Building Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices
  • Multimedia applications – supports 8K H.265 video playback

Its PCIe and USB connectivity also lend well to robotics applications.

7. Khadas VIM4 Amlogic A311D2

Building on the strengths of the original VIM4, the updated Khadas VIM4 A311D2 adds an active cooling fan to enable sustained high performance.

Key Specs:

  • Identical VIM4 Amlogic A311D2 base specs
  • Aluminum alloy cooling fan housing
  • Dual ball-bearing high speed cooling fan

Pros of VIM4 A311D2:

  • Identical VIM4 feature set
  • Active cooling fan maintains high clocks under load
  • Industrial grade design for 24/7 operation


  • Active cooling adds some noise
  • Increased cost over passive cooled VIM4

Use Cases:

The Khadas VIM4 Amlogic A311D2 shines for applications like:

  • Edge servers performing continual video analytics
  • Mining cryptocurrencies or blockchain transaction validation
  • Running object detection on live camera feeds

For any project requiring sustained high compute, its active cooling makes this an easy choice over passively cooled options.

8. ASUS Tinker Board S

ASUS leverages its hardware design expertise to squeeze impressive capabilities into the hacker-friendly Tinker Board S single board computer.

Key Specs:

  • Rockchip RK3399 SoC with dual Cortex-A72 + quad Cortex-A53
  • Mali T860 GPU – Supports 4Kp30 h.265 decode
  • 2GB LPDDR4 with 16GB eMMC 5.1 storage
  • Gigabit LAN, WiFi ac/BT 4.1 connectivity
  • 40-pin plus 24-pin extended GPIO headers

Pros of Tinker Board S:

  • Excellent performance per cubic cm
  • Feature packed despite small form factor
  • ASUS IoT ecosystem integration


  • More proprietary than community driven boards
  • Limited OS support beyond Android 6.0

Use Cases:

The ASUS Tinker Board S works well for:

  • Compact IoT and robotics applications
  • Projects leveraging ASUS IoT services
  • Graphics intensive workloads like computer vision

Its small size but abundant memory and wireless connectivity also make this a capable choice for drones or other space constrained applications.

9. Geniatech RK3128

If you‘re seeking a basic yet super affordable Raspberry Pi alternative, the Geniatech RK3128 offers solid capabilities in a miniature footprint.

Key Specs:

  • Rockchip RK3128 Cortex A7 quad core up to 1.3GHz
  • Integrated ARM Mali-400 GPU
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • MicroSD card slot, 10/100 Ethernet, 4x USB 2.0

Pros of RK3128:

  • Extremely low cost at under $50
  • Tiny credit-card size form factor
  • Decent community distro support


  • Older generation ARM Cortex A7 CPU
  • 100Mbps Ethernet – Gigabit more common today
  • Maximum 1GB RAM can be limiting

Use Cases:

As a basic SBC for simpler tasks or hobbyists, the Geniatech RK3128 works nicely for:

  • Retro gaming emulation like Nintendo
  • Learning Linux administration and scripting
  • Building basic IoT/smart home automation

It lacks the performance for heavier workloads, but fills a niche for cost-conscious tinkering projects.

While the Raspberry Pi family of boards continue to boom in popularity, alternatives like those covered provide more specialization. For those requiring enhanced CPU horsepower, GPU acceleration, wireless capabilities or other niche features, these 9 options are worth considering.

I encourage weighing your specific performance, budget and application needs. The best Raspberry Pi alternative depends hugely on your project objectives and constraints. With the overview provided on strengths of each board, hopefully matching requirements to the right option is straightforward.