The Raspberry Pi continues to suffer from supply chain issues. They have promised there are a lot of their very old models that should be coming up for purchase within the next 6 months. I’ve been hearing that for years though to be honest with you.
Fortunately you don’t need to wait. There are more and better alternatives to the Raspberry Pi in 2023 than there have ever been before. In this article I’ll cover the best Raspberry Pi alternatives in 2023.
Let’s get started!
Best High Performance Alternative
The Radxa Rock 5B has 8 CPU cores, a PCIe 3.0 interface and a powerful GPU. It’s one of the top performing single board computers available on Pi Benchmarks.
Links: AliExpress*, Amazon.com*
Let’s start with the obvious king of performance on single board computers so far in 2023: the Radxa Rock 5B. This board uses the RockChip RK3588 SoC which has a whopping 8 CPU cores. The board absolutely destroys the Raspberry Pi 4 and Compute Module 4 on both CPU and GPU performance.
Why is this board so great? Not only does it have a M.2 NVMe slot (something we are seeing more and more on alternative boards but not on the Raspberry Pi yet) but it actually supports PCIe 3.0! That means it’s actually worth using a high performance PCIe Gen3/Gen4 drive in this board. Most other boards out there will only support PCIe 2.0 (if they have it at all).
This board is suitable for beginners. It’s suitable for people from the Pi ecosystem who may be trying other boards for the first time. This board is a breath of fresh air because so many of the boards I test work great but are incredibly difficult to get started with. That’s not the case with the Rock 5B and some of the other RK3588/RK3588S models coming out.
The biggest drawback for many people will be the price. If the price seems too high starting around $140 I would highly recommend checking out the Orange Pi 5. The Orange Pi 5 uses the RK3588S which lacks the PCIe 3.0 interface but is much less expensive. We will cover that board later in the article.
This board leaves the Raspberry Pi 4 so far behind in the dust that it’s really questionable if they’ll ever catch up. I personally don’t think so. I’d imagine that Radxa and others shipping the newer RockChip tech are the new kings of the SBC performance world. I have a full review of the Radxa Rock 5B here.
Best Mid-Range Alternative
The Orange Pi 5 the latest release from Orange Pi and is the most powerful model yet. It has a 6 core CPU and options from 4GB of RAM all the way up to 32GB of RAM!
Links: Amazon.com*, AliExpress*, Amazon.ca*, Amazon.co.uk*, Amazon.de*, Amazon.es*, Amazon.fr*, Amazon.it*, Amazon.nl*, Amazon.pl*
We’ve covered the highest performing single board computer with the Rock 5B but now let’s look at a version that costs less than $100: the Orange Pi 5!
The Orange Pi 5 has *almost* the exact same CPU as the Rock 5B with one critical difference. The Orange Pi 5 uses the RK3588S. Notice that it has the “S” at the end. This is a variant of the RK3588 that does *not* contain PCIe 3.0. It only contains PCIE 2.0.
The practical effects of this is that it generally doesn’t make sense to use an extremely powerful PCIe 3.0 NVMe drive with the Orange Pi 5. You can use either a regular M.2 SATA or just a budget/cheap NVMe drive. Since it can’t run at PCIe 3.0 speeds there is no point in putting an extremely powerful drive in this.
Neither the Orange Pi 5 or the Rock 5B come with integrated WiFi. They both have WiFi adapters available. I wanted to mention this difference because Raspberry Pi users will be used to it always being integrated with the board. Although these two boards are much more powerful one drawback is you do need to get the WiFi adapter for them (or use a USB-based WiFi adapter).
We’ve seen a ton of people successfully meet their project needs with the Orange Pi 5 in my review here. This ranges from everything from upgrading their Home Assistant instance from a slow 4-core Raspberry Pi 4 to the smoking fast Orange Pi 5 which dramatically reduced their build time when updating devices in Home Assistant.
The Orange Pi 5 can also achieve 2-3x higher I/O performance (great for servers) than the Raspberry Pi 4 due to having access to NVMe and not having to use a USB to SATA/NVMe adapter. We’ve also seen people have success using emulation if you use Armbian and enable the 3D driver support for the Orange Pi 5.
Best Budget Alternatives
The “Le Potato” from Libre Computers is meant to be a fully open sourced alternative to the Raspberry Pi. It can run a huge number of flavors and has up to date images available for them. Contains a Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 CPU as well as a Mali-450 GPU as well as 2GB of RAM. Make sure you click the $5 off coupon if you are using Amazon!
Links: Amazon.com*, Amazon.ca*, Amazon.com.au*, Amazon.co.jp*, Amazon.co.uk*, Amazon.de*, Amazon.es*, Amazon.fr*, Amazon.it*, Amazon.sg*
Now let’s get to the budget options. These budget options are so cheap they will rival the Raspberry Pi at retail price (which nobody can buy it at and hasn’t been able to for years). They’re also the most compatible of all of the options I’ve covered.
The Libre Computers boards can literally run Raspberry Pi OS. Not only that, it can actually dual boot between Libre Boards and the Raspberry Pi. You can run a script while inside Raspberry Pi OS that will enable booting with Libre Computers boards. You can actually take that SD card out of the Raspberry Pi, use it with the Libre board and then put it back in the Raspberry Pi and it will work perfectly!
I’ve covered this in this guide here called enabling Raspberry Pi OS to run on Libre Computers Boards here.
But wait, there’s more! The Libre Computers boards can also use the majority of Raspberry Pi hats. Now this does require using a tool to help enable the overlays but this is something that is usually impossible on alternative boards. Libre Computers has a translation layer tool that will let you use Raspberry Pi overlays with the Libre Computers boards. You can see the tool here on GitHub for more information about using Raspberry Pi overlays.
The “Le Potato” only costs $35 on Amazon at time of writing. You can read my full review of the “Le Potato” here. It’s meant to be an alternative to the Raspberry Pi 3.
It also has a big brother called the “Renegade” that is more equivalent to a Raspberry Pi 4:
The ROC-RK3328-CC Firefly “Renegade” from Libre Computers is a very powerful RockChip based single board computer. The “Renegade” features 2G of DDR4 RAM, USB 3.0, a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, a Mali-450 GPU and 1 USB 3.0 port!
Links: Amazon.com*, Amazon.ca*, Amazon.com.au*, Amazon.co.jp*, Amazon.co.uk*, Amazon.de*, Amazon.es*, Amazon.fr*, Amazon.it*, Amazon.sg*
The Renegade is more powerful and has USB 3.0. It comes in a nice black color in contrast to the white color of the “Le Potato”.
With the on-board USB 3.0 port you can achieve very high I/O performance scores rivaling anything a Pi 4 can do. The quad-core CPU is no slouch either and the 2GB of RAM included doesn’t leave you starving for resources. It’s very comparable to a entry-level 2GB Pi 4 but you can buy 2-3 of these boards for the prices that the Pi is going for right now. Benchmarking showed excellent performance gains using a SSD with this board (and pretty impressive SD card performance as well).
It’s only slightly more than the “Le Potato” going for $40 on Amazon at time of writing.
You can view my full review on the Libre Computers “Renegade” here.
Best Pi Zero / Pi Zero 2 Alternative
The Radxa Zero comes in the form factor of the Raspberry Pi Zero but is upgraded to USB-C and a quad-core CPU. Available with RAM options of 1/2/4GB and eMMC options of 8/16/32/64/128GB.
Links: AliExpress*, Amazon.co.uk*, Amazon.de*, Amazon.es*, Amazon.fr*, Amazon.it*, Amazon.nl*, Amazon.pl*, Amazon.se*
This category is easy. It’s the Radxa Zero. It’s everything that the Raspberry Pi Zero 2W should have been including USB-C, much higher memory options than anything offered on the Pi Zero / Zero 2W and much more.
If you need a very small form factor or the form factor of a Raspberry Pi Zero this will be a fantastic alternative for people who can get away with not having to use Raspberry Pi OS. If you’re able to use Armbian / Debian / Ubuntu instead then it’s very likely you can use this alternative to the Raspberry Pi Zero 2W.
Cooling is definitely recommended. The copper heat sinks I recommend are great* but make sure you have something. The quad-core CPU is quite powerful and if you run it bare you’ll run into throttling and other issues a lot more frequently. It will perform better / smoother with a heat sink on it for sure.
This board is suitable for beginners. You don’t need to do any firmware flashing or anything fancy to get this one working. A USB to TTY serial console is not required with this board. You can plug it into a monitor and configure it that way. It also includes WiFi/Bluetooth capabilities which avoids having to try to buy an extra adapter for it.
You can see my full review of the Radxa Zero here.
It has been really hard to recommend Raspberry Pi alternatives in the past. They were just so far behind what Raspberry Pi was doing and the level of support they offered. I think the majority of people will be very, very happy to know that has changed dramatically.
Radxa / Orange Pi / Libre Computers have all been at this working hard for years. The support on their boards is finally ready for mainstream users. You can use one of these boards for projects you likely want to do. There are many choices of images available for each of them with the number growing every day.
I’ve reviewed a ton of other boards on the site as well that are worth considering. Don’t be too offended if your board/company didn’t make the 2023 best boards list. These are just the most compelling choices I have seen after reviewing dozens of these at this point. These are the ones that are worth your time / consideration that I’ve reviewed so far. If you know of other hidden gems out there I haven’t reviewed let me know in the comments as I’d love to check them out!
Hey! Thanks for all the good info here. One thing that may become more relevant over time is the ARM instruction subsets supported by the CPU on this chip. For example, mongodb began requiring support for Armv8.2-A in mongodb 5.x and 6.x mid-last year, effectively cutting off the RPi4 and many of the cheap alternatives from receiving updates. A couple of weeks ago, they did the same for the 4.4.x series without warning. Any SoC using the Cortex A53 or older Cortex A7x cores won’t cut it–you’ll need something with a Cortex-A55 or Cortex-A75 at minimum. From what I can tell, the only chips in SBCs right now that fit the bill are the RK3568 and RK3588 variants, and the cheapest thing you can find one of those in right now is an ODROID-M1, which will run around $100 once you include shipping. I do hope that the price of these SoCs comes down, or cut down versions that still have the newer instruction sets appear to replace the current chips, because otherwise, long-term, we may be seeing more of this. (I don’t know the technical reason that the mongodb devs impose this requirement in their build process, and haven’t come across other projects with this issue, fwiw. So this might be something niche enough not to matter, at least for now. But I’m wary.)
Oh, while we’re discussing price–the Orange Pi 5 is now more or less the same price as the Radxa, and nowhere near the $100 it was in the past. I’m not sure if this is a temporary or permanent change, but either way, you may want to update this post accordingly.
Hey Eli B,
That’s fascinating about the ARM instructions. I guess I’m not really surprised. It’s why I’m a huge RISC-V fan. They just aren’t ready for consumers yet but I’m no fan of ARM really. They play games like this. It’s why it sucks compared to open hardware technologies such as RISC-V. There’s no doubt about that. ARM is a proprietary technology stack.
As for the Orange Pi 5 it is even cheaper than when I wrote this. It is now $82.99 from Amazon.com. You won’t find a Radxa Rock 5B for less than $140 or so. It’s not even close. The RK3588 is *much* more expensive than a RK3588S.
If you can even find someone to sell you a Radxa Rock 5B it will be almost $200 on Amazon (not recommended). Ameridroid will sell you it for $149 (authorized reseller for Radxa and recommended). It’s still more than 50% more expensive than an Orange Pi 5.
Do you live in Europe? I’ve heard Orange Pi is much more expensive to people living in Europe for some reason. That was true even at launch for Europeans and it’s probably even more true today but that was never true for the US. It’s literally unbeatable in the US. It’s about $82 today. Shipping is $13.99 making it still under $100 (even with shipping). You won’t get a better deal than that. A Raspberry Pi 4 is over $200 in comparison and is outright trash compared to an Orange Pi 5.
Hopefully that helps!
While I’m also very intrigued by RISC-V, and am very wary of any one privately-held company holding so much power in a specific part of the market in the way ARM does, I don’t think this is really a matter of open vs non-open–it’s just looks like technical progress, akin to some modern x86 programs expecting at minimum SSE3 be supported on the processor. Here’s the jira ticket at mongodb which is why I qualified my post so much. In other words, I don’t know how many other programs really rely on this kind of newer functionality. For me personally, the relevance of this is that TP-Link Omada Controller software, which has otherwise been pretty solid for me, uses mongodb on their backend, and I noticed that it stopped working soon after the 4.4.19 update was pushed. There is no separate ARM64-v8.2+ target repository on e.g. Ubuntu Server 22.04 (what I’ve been using on my Le Potato), so everybody running that on even a somewhat newer device like an RPi4–a fair amount of people, I bet, since the standalone hardware Omada Controllers run at about $100 to start and are much less capable than any SBC–let alone other competitive low-end boards, will end up in this situation. I ended up having to revert back to 4.4.18 and pin all related packages (as per this post here) and running a quick
mongodb --repairin order get things back up and running. Anyway, I just wanted to point this out since it may threaten the long-term viability of some of the cheaper boards, unfortunately, if pinning packages is not an option.
As for the pricing situation, I’m not in Europe–somehow when I posted this yesterday what I was looking at was the 16GB version, which is around $140ish with shipping.
I didn’t notice this when I posted last night, mea culpa. I’m not sure if that was the top hit when I clicked on the affiliate link, if I somehow got redirected to it, or if that’s where I had landed after a quick Google. I found a listing that has 4, 8, and 16gb options, with and without power supplies, here.
The seller is listed as Orange Pi, which if you click through to the seller in page here.
claims to be
“‘Shenzhen Xiao Tudou Technology Co., Ltd.’, ‘the source manufacturer of Orange Pi'”
Checking orangepi.org, while they do not list any Amazon.com affiliate links right now, they list three different aliexpress affiliates, the first of which, here is indeed the ‘Shenzhen XiaoTuDou Technology Store’.
So it seems legitimate enough, though I’m not sure why they have three different official distributors. The second distributor, ‘Shenzhen Xunlong Software CO’,
has been around for longer and has slightly higher ratings on both Amazon and especially on AliExpress. In any case, ordering via FBA/Prime should mitigate any risk here considerably, and they do have the 8GB models available via FBA right now, fwiw. I don’t need another SBC yet but it is tempting at $108+tax. (Actually, maybe this should be the basis for a like-for-like comparison price-wise with the Radxa? Since it seems like the Radxa doesn’t come in a 4GB base model, but rather an 8GB one, but I might have missed it.)
Aside, while I’ve seen a 32gb version in news reports, and it is mentioned briefly on orangepi.org, I’ve never actually come across a listing for it or seen it for sale. Nor have I ever seen the 5B models that come with WiFi/BT built-in. Have you come across either of these for sale anywhere?
(also–I see that your comments have embedded links, how exactly does that work? Can we use markdown? Straight-up html? There are no instructions, and I hate how messy these posts look.)
Hey Eli B,
Beautiful, I can confirm those are all official Orange Pi listings on both Amazon and AliExpress that you’ve shared here. 100% all legit. The reason as to why there are so many labels and distributors is complicated. It has to do with how large tech companies work in China as well as the difficulty for them to distribute to other parts of the world sometimes. It’s easier for them to have a European distributor for example, and a North American distribution company, etc.
In fact I can explain the Amazon listings you’ve shared as well such as the multilisting. Those are available for Prime delivery for me but only for the 16GB model. What that means is that Orange Pi shipped a giant crate of Orange Pis to Amazon and that is what that listing is drawing from. The “direct” listings are the ones that come from China that you have to pay shipping on and usually take several weeks to arrive (at least to NA).
All of their direct listings are still up though which will have like $13.99 shipping. That means everyone already bought the low end models and exhausted the supply of whatever they sent to Amazon. You have to order those directly now to get them. It’s still pretty cheap though even with the shipping. If you get the 16GB one though so few people have bought that it’s still available through Prime with free shipping. Very interesting.
I can confirm I’ve never seen the 5B for sale. That’s a great question. Razor Burn (a frequent reader here) just pointed that model out to me. That’s pretty new though and I don’t think it has been sold yet. If you find a listing of it anywhere let me know as I don’t have one for that either yet. That’s a great question about the links too. I usually just do that for people to keep them clean. It’s a lot easier to read that way but I’ll take care of that part as I don’t think it does it on the frontend very well (although I think there is some WordPress related code to do it somehow). I haven’t seen the 32GB version either but it’s got to be crazy expensive (if they have even offered it).
That makes sense that not a lot of applications use those new extensions. This is actually the first I’d heard of this but it makes sense. You’re right that it’s not usually a problem. When I build ARM applications I typically will build them without a lot of the newer extensions. This allows my code to run on almost any ARM SBC depending on the version of ARM I was targeting. Thanks for sharing this information though. I have no doubt it will only continue to become more relevant and that some SBCs might get “pinched” by this for sure.
Great questions and thoughts, thanks and take care!
Ah, I see, that makes sense about how the FBA works, and glad to know that both listings are legit–thanks for all this background info, and you take care as well!
Wow excellent contribution from @eli b especially the news about ARM support for older generation chips as its the first I’ve seen mentioned and maybe why we haven’t seen any news from Raspberry Pi on what the future holds as relying on older chips with A72 or A53 cores doesn’t cut it in 2023 and why we see Radxa and others pushing the RK35XX SOCs in their newer boards…?
Thanks for the clarification regarding Orange Pi and the reason for multiple sellers and Amazon as I’ll admit its a maze trying to search for boards as on Aliexpress you see the Radxa Rock 5B, Orange Pi 5 and others sold for insane prices so I always aim to refer to the company websites or reputable sites such as yours as that way I know I’m purchasing from a legit seller and not some scammer and as for Radxa you’re correct as they seem to use allnetchina for Asia/Oceania; ameriDROID for North America/Europe and OkDO for UK/parts of Europe and taxes and shipping add to already expensive costs for their boards and what’s really frustrating is you order a SBC but the seller doesn’t have the accessories so you’re stuck waiting or placing multiple orders that inflate already expensive costs. A real shame as they manufacture excellent hardware but far from flawless as you demonstrated in some recent reviews eg. Radxa CM3. Its not only Radxa that do this as some places like FriendlyELEC or Pine64 have limited options and when they sellout you have to wait for restocking.
I see on the Orange Pi 5B website they list 2 stores but not available yet with talk that a full RK3588 SBC is in the plans and work being done in github updating the OPi 5/5B and as for pricing I see the official stores on Aliexpress offering similar pricing to the presale and some offering accessories that seem affordable so unless people are holding out for the OPi 5B which I don’t see a need for myself, now’s a good time to buy as its still the cheapest RK3588S SBC available with excellent community support and I see FriendlyELEC released the R6C which is an upgrade to the R6S with added GPIO headers, one less 2.5GB port so they could include an M.2 slot but since its RK3588S its still limited in I/O with only 2 usbs ports and software support is lacking but they offer an Android 12 TV version with GApps and usb wireless dongle drivers preinstalled but again shipping and lack of certification are my biggest concerns but its good to see manufactures adopting faster hardware and now we just need ODROID to come along with a RK3588 version as Pine64 are happy to wait for mainline kernel support as 3D graphics is still largely unsupported.
As for 32GB RAM on the RK3588, its possible but way too costly with Genentech DB3588V2 supposedly offering it on their SBC and the only real confirmation being a recently announced PlanetPC XR2 Mini PC offering 32GB LPDDR5 RAM but its super expensive and unless we see massive demand its just no feasible or worthwhile as the RK3588 is still not optimised for power hungry applications due to the limited GPU support and for most general use or gaming 8-16GB RAM is more than enough and despite advertising for AI or 8K many of the devices fail to deliver as Rockchip do a bad job dropping these chips and expecting the community to customise the software!
I agree that RISC-V is the way of the future yet its still not ready for SBC applications and works wonderfully in microcontrollers due to the low power yet they’re a pain to image if your a newbie but then again so are most of the ARM based boards and forget about trying Android as half the time it causes issues as is regularly experienced with the Orange Pi 5 and the main reason why I’ve stuck to using Armbian for now and even that was a bit difficult writing bootloader from SPI flash to nVME and no operation is perfect. Khadas do have an inbedded system for flashing on their newer boards called OOWOO but even then you can only do it from the device so far from perfect, Hardkernel uses a petitboot system which is one of the better methods so I’d like to see an industry wide solution as it would save on the need for dodgy tools and the like and add to the user experience but I’m well aware this won’t happen anytime soon… Great discussion!
(looking again, it does seems like the base Radxa board does come with 4gb, so nvm the bit on price at the end. Right now I’m seeing the 4GB boards go for $175 on AliExpress, when clicking on the affiliate link and sorting by ascending price. In comparison with the Orange Pi 5, the value proposition really isn’t there…)
Yes, the Radxa boards are *crazy* expensive through normal retail channels unfortunately. I actually bought mine from Ameridroid which is why I specifically mentioned them. It has gone up since I bought mine though. The 4GB used to be 139 but it looks like it’s gone up $10.
Another great place to get the Radxa boards is allnetchina. Unfortunately they’re completely sold out of the Rock 5B right now it looks like. Not an affiliate of any kind but it’s where I bought my Radxa Zero from as well as my Radxa Rock 3 Compute Module (which both were and remain very hard to get otherwise at least at a good price).
With Radxa it’s really hard / expensive to use both Amazon and AliExpress. You really get rewarded for using authorized resellers like allnetchina and Ameridroid in the case of Radxa. It’s more similar to the Raspberry Pi like that (not a good thing in my opinion as that’s one of the most horrible things about Raspberry Pis, the scalping).
Orange Pi has a different strategy. They absolutely flood every marketplace with their own listings and undercut anyone trying to sell their stuff on there. They flood Amazon. They flood AliExpress. They keep the price low and it’s honestly a wonderful thing. I completely agree with you that it’s a much better value proposition. The Orange Pi 5 seems to be a lot more popular due to this despite the Rock 5B having some advantages. The value proposition is pretty tough to swallow though because realistically it’s so much harder to get a Radxa for a decent price compared to Orange Pi (and Raspberry Pi at least for the past several years). I completely agree with you on the value propositions here.
Thanks and take care!
Mmm, cutting out the middlemen and trying to get directly into as many marketplaces as possible is a boon, and otherwise with these kinds of things I do try to stick to official channels. I did manage to get a Pi 4 from Adafruit at list price in late 2021, and am very glad I jumped on that without thinking–the situation since has been basically impossible, and is what turned me onto these alternative Amlogic and Rockchip boards in the first place. Actually, while I was on the fence on this, I’m pretty sure that it was your post on the Le Potato that put me over the edge. The top reviews on Amazon on many of them are several years old and tell of a dire software situation, which is much less true today than it was in, say, 2018. While I’ve seen some more contemporary complaints related to GPIO (and I’m not sure if they used the wiring tool or not), my Le Potato has been pretty solid, and is actually the *only* Linux machine I use right now that’s already on kernel 6.0, supported directly by the manufacturer! I restart it once every couple of weeks because the swap gets used up rather quickly by mongodb, but otherwise, it’s been pretty much fine serving its purpose as a basic network services device (separate from the main gateway/router). So again, much appreciated!
Hey Eli B,
That’s definitely true! I have no doubt it had a rough beginning. One thing I really like about the Amlogic-based boards though is that they do seem to be a lot less proprietary than RockChip. As we’ve kind of been talking about to even reimage a RockChip eMMC requires proprietary flashing tools (just like the Raspberry Pi and the Compute Modules). The Amlogic boards in comparison seem to just let you image them as a drive and other things like that which seem like something we should be able to take for granted but we can’t.
That’s the incredible part about these boards being around so long as well. They’ve been out for so long that we’re actually seeing mainline kernel support! This is something a lot of other boards promise they’ll work toward but usually never make it within their lifetime before they are obsolete / replaced by a new model. Libre has stuck with their boards for a while without replacing them with a new model. That means we’re going to see really awesome stuff such as the Linux 6.0 kernel probably being able to support the entire board without any proprietary drivers.
I think I prefer the “Le Potato” to the “Renegade” even though the Renegade has a USB 3.0 port. It’s the simplicity of using it. It feels more like a Raspberry Pi. I think that’s a fair thing to say.
Thanks and take care!
I liked that “they promiced to get available more 4 year old raspberry pi’s 4” market failure
Or they dont care at all or they dont know what they doing
You forgot the odroid N2L and the stil a beast after all this years XU4
I played with Rpi-zero2 a little, it lacks compatibility a lot compared to the Rpi3,things that work in Rpi3 they fail on Z2 even with bullseye OS, what a shame a disaster i begin to think they dont know what they doing
Welcome back! Oh man, I really thought about including the ODROID N2+/N2L on the list. It’s still one of the best ones to buy especially for emulation in my opinion. You’re right to bring this one up and I did consider it for sure. The reason I ultimately didn’t include it was it seems like 2023 is shaping up to be the year of the RK3588 and the ODROID N2+ is still running the 6 core generation. Even so it would probably still be my top pick for things like game emulation (and the Android support is really strong too). If I had put it in the list it would have gone in the mid-range section (at least for the N2L).
One of the great things about the ODROID N2+ is that it is compatible with the older ODROID N series models. That means that they’re able to essentially refresh/upgrade some parts of the board and have it remain compatible with all of the existing images. This is part of what makes it good for emulation. All of the original ODROID N2 (without the plus or the L) images will still work with them. There’s a prebuilt EmuELEC image available for example. They do have one already for the new N2L model as well.
I totally agree about the RPI Zero 2. I know you’ve read my article on it and know how I feel about this but you really have to get your hands on one to understand. You can *feel* it. You can just feel that they didn’t care about that board. The love and care that you legitimately *could* feel on the other models wasn’t there. It was kind of fading on the Pi 4 even a little bit but even the Pi 4 still had some of the magic. The Pi Zero 2W was the board that (once I got a hold of it) I realized that something was wrong over there at Raspberry Pi even at the hardware/quality level (as opposed to just supply chain issues).
Thanks for your thoughts, I find myself in complete agreement. Take care!
Shame for the Z2 it lacks of compatibility and quality, overpriced (now) and slappy work
I said it will replace my pi3 but i dont see it,
The only think was that the card reader works better than pi3 i think,, instead of making pi’s5 they making pi’s4 wrong strategy but people will still buy it like crazy even if is old
They are way back from the competition
I read that pi5 will be again quad core,so even if they released a pi5 it will be slower than the competition again.
Great thoughts. If they release the Pi 5 as quad-core that would definitely confirm my suspicion that they aren’t going to try to compete for the high end. I couldn’t agree more that this is a bad strategy for them. Once you start using these alternative boards you see how much the Raspberry Pi does need to move beyond 4 cores. The competition’s *last* generation was 6 cores. This generation is 8 cores!
They apparently don’t realize this at Raspberry Pi but there were a lot of us who really loved the performance side of the Raspberry Pi. It was the best for a long time (and the top performer). Since I run pibenchmarks.com it’s hard for me to ignore how far behind they’ve fallen.
It’s honestly amazing to me they’ve fallen so far behind. This is the company that put a computer into something the size of a credit card when nobody had ever done it before. They were by definition a bleeding edge tech company and they were always a step or two ahead of the other guys historically. They held the crown for years too. All throughout the Pi 2, 3, etc.
You have a good night as well!
Morning,i started with pi1 model b, although i was not using it a lot cause it was slow for me,i was using more my mk802 that was arm7 with 1gb ram and could take ubuntu,then pi2 came etc.
I think they dont care about competition they know that they will sell like crazy even if they have the slowest sbc,people just buys coz its a raspberry pi.
The 8 cores exist from 2015 with xu4,were pi2/pi3 was the top model back then,they said back then odroid c2 was 10 times faster than pi2/pi3,even odroid c4 that was released the same year at pi4 can play 8k at 25fps were pi4 plays 4k only,thats not competition at all.
They bet only in people they know they buy it whatever it is
I’ll admit I was on the fence with the Odroid N2+ as every time I went to place an order it was sold out and then I saw they came out with the compact N2L and I was ready to pounce but was ultimately put off with the fact that it uses the older AMLogic S922X chip which is still a beast for most emulation and media streaming yet the limitation of 2-4 GB RAM made me look elsewhere and now that we’re seeing ‘affordable’ RK3588S devices that allow up to 16GB RAM it makes more sense to go for the added performance. Not to discredit Hardkernel as they provide heaps of accessories and the N2+ is very popular with a large following due to reliability and ease of use.
Regrettably I was late to reading your review of the RPi Zero 2W as its a fair assessment of what was marketed as a new product from the RPi Foundation yet the build quality leaves a lot to the imagination and knowing about viable alternatives now means I’d be hard pressed in rushing to add any more even when supplies return and especially since they recently announced a price increase which adds to the disappointment and leaves a bitter taste!
Its hard to argue with your selection as there’s a board to fit most peoples budgets and I’d be curious to see an update in the next few months as you could argue for the StarFive VisionFive 2 to be included once they workout the issues and get proper support pluswe’re sure to see more RK3588/S boards released on the back of the success of the Rock 5B and Orange Pi 5 that should push pricing down…?
Hey Razor Burn,
Great thoughts! I legitimately believe that if they could have offered that product at $15 in a way that it was actually available for most people to order in sufficient quantities (or any quantity outside of pre-orders) that product would have been okay. It would have still had all of the flaws we’ve discussed here such as no USB-C, no higher memory options, no eMMC options and the list goes on and on but if it was $15 it would have still been a decent option in this market even as disappointing as it was.
It’s the fact that people are paying $100+ for these on eBay (and have been since launch) when things get *really* gross. I mean I only paid something like $33 for my Radxa Zero which has the eMMC and *way* more memory than the Pi Zero 2W. I paid twice that for my scalped Pi Zero 2W. I was extremely disappointed with the Pi Zero 2W and extremely impressed by the Radxa Zero as a comparison.
In other words if the board was really $15 (and the people who got it for $15 should be happy enough) it’s really not that bad. It’s cheaper than the Radxa Zero by just a little bit there on paper theoretically. We all know though that unless it was a pre-order though that isn’t a $15 board and that’s where things start going off the rails.
Any of you who got it for $15 should have no regrets in my opinion. If you were smart enough to pre-order this board you did get a good deal. You definitely shouldn’t feel bad. That’s definitely winning to get that board for $15. I’m glad both you and Jim can see that the issue actually is largely the availability and pricing. The reason that’s the case is because Raspberry Pi could only deliver on that $15 price promise for pre-orders. For everyone else it’s either be scalped or get nothing at all for the most part.
For a $15 board it’s just disappointing but still capable. For a $100 or even $80 board it’s criminal. Nobody should pay that for it because you can get 3 Radxa Zeroes for that. That board is just as powerful, also quad-core but got USB-C and all of the other goodies like the Pi Zero 2W should have.
You’re right about all of your thoughts for the ODROID N2+. It was still so close to making this list. I really think we’ll start seeing some ODROID RK3588 boards before too long though. I feel like ODROID N2+ is the last generation of 6-core boards (although it was definitely one of the best of them). It’s hard to want to say that’s going to be the hot board for 2023. I don’t think that’s going to be true with the RK3588. I think if we were doing a 2022 list the N2+ would have dominated it though.
I will be shocked though if we don’t see some RK3588 refreshes for ODROID this year. Maybe it’s time for the N3 with the RK3588. It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve done something similar.
Thanks and take care!
When the Raspberry pi zero 2w hit the market I immediately ordered for around 100€, each one was at 16.5€ and I still use some of them in daily usage (audio player). I deactivated some cores and defined an ultra low speed for the last core. I am happy with the card like that, consumption is ultra low and I can still listen to the music and let the player on. Not a bad card for sure at this price.
They shouldn’t have let you buy more than one. How did you buy more than 1? I think they only recently lifted the buyer restrictions on the *original* Pi Zero W where you could even buy more than one of the old model. If an official reseller sold you more than one than they violated Raspberry Pi policy. It’s a limit of 1 per customer through all official resellers for the Raspberry Pi Zero 2W.
Nobody is getting this for $15 unless they pre-ordered it. It’s not going to be a $15 board in 6 months either. It’s not a $15 board. You will be able to buy a Pi Zero (the original model only) within the next 6 months but the Pi Zero 2W is not planned for the Raspberry Pi availability dump.
You’re right. It’s a great board for the price of $15. I mean do you really believe them that it costs that at this point renaud? It has been years. It’s like NVIDIA saying the 3000 series of GPUs had a great MSRP. Okay, but does that really mean anything if nobody will sell you one for MSRP? Not really. We went nearly that entire generation without most people having any of those cards. We will go this generation of the Pi Zero 2W without most people ever being able to buy one (and it’s already obsolete vs. the Radxa Zero).
I’m not sure why people have such a hard time understanding that just because they say MSRP is $15 that doesn’t actually mean anything. Did you guys not learn anything from the past several years? The Pi Zero 2W was essentially a lottery giveaway. The only people who got it for $15 are the people who pre-ordered it and won the lottery (as well as a second batch sometime last year of a few hundred thousand). There were not even a fraction of the amount available needed to satisfy demand. That is how scarce this board really is. You basically have $90-$100 if you have one of these all day long. I’d frankly take the $100 and buy 3 Radxa Zeroes instead.
The only way for them to really make this a $15 board is to do a giant dump of Raspberry Pi Zero 2Ws which they’ve already said those are *not* a part of the big planned supply dump. Otherwise it’s just going to be the same thing 6 months from now. Just like it was 6 months ago.
The best thing you can look forward to for Raspberry Pi is that *maybe* in the next 6 months their OLD models will become available to buy (like the ones from 5 years ago). That’s all we’re waiting to see. We’re just waiting to see if they can even make their OLD boards from 5+ years ago available again in a quantity that anyone will even notice. They haven’t been able to even do that for years.
If they can finally manage to do it then the best news Raspberry Pi fans have to look forward to this whole year is that they will be able to buy the 4-5+ year old Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi Zero W (NOT THE 2) again. That’s the best case scenario. That’s a really grim outlook renaud. The outlook is really grim for the Pi Zero 2W aging very well at all. We know that from their own very announced plans and all of their CEOs interviews. It’s not my opinion. This is literally their announced plan.
Renaud do you not know that they raised the price of the ORIGINAL Raspberry Pi Zero W to $15? That’s the “good news” about their supply chain update!
if we kept to the old price we’d be making a loss on every single Zero we sell. We have therefore reluctantly decided to increase the price of Zero from $5 to $10, and Zero W from $10 to $15.
There they are saying they are LOSING MONEY selling the original Pi Zero W for $10 and they have to raise it to $15. Do you still believe them that the Pi Zero 2W is really a $15 board? You shouldn’t. How is that possible when they can’t even make the original Pi Zero without selling it for $15?
Again, people are out of their minds / uninformed if they think the Pi Zero 2W will become available again any time soon (certainly this year). They’re out of their minds if they think it’s really a $15 board or that Raspberry Pi can realistically start making and selling it for that again. They’ve already ANNOUNCED otherwise! If it EVER becomes available again it won’t be $15 because the original Raspberry Pi Zero W now costs $15 (and no, you can’t even buy that one yet still).
Calling it a $15 board at this point is a LIE. The Pi Zero W is now a $15 board (again, if they can even manage to produce them in a quantity anyone will notice, even that remains to be seen). The Raspberry Pi Zero 2W is basically an unavailable board. It’s not even planned to be produced again any time soon. If they do produce it again it will cost more than $15. It has to because they JUST SAID they can’t make the Pi Zero W (the original) without a price increase. We already know that. I doubt it will even happen. It makes more sense for them to make a different model that is easier to produce at this point (and has better availability for parts).
I really hope at least one person reading this actually clicks the link and reads about what they’re really doing. They’ll tell you. Read about the price increase on the Raspberry Pi Zero W. Once you do it’s kind of hard to look at their Raspberry Pi 2W listing (which still advertises it as available for $15) as anything but deceptive. They know that board isn’t coming back for $15. They know it 100%. They can’t even make the old one for that and they’ve admitted that just recently here. It’s all of their fans that don’t know it. It’s Raspberry Pi’s own fans that don’t read their announcements at least in my experience.
If this board was going to be available any time soon you better believe they would have raised the price just like the Pi Zero W. They would have done it at exactly the same time because that was the “bad news” in the announcement. It would have looked a lot better if they just got it over with then. Do you know why they didn’t? The reason they haven’t bothered is because they’re not making it for the availability dump. This isn’t even in the cards to come back. It’s not even on their minds. The price not being raised yet isn’t an issue because the board isn’t coming.
Hard to argue James as the biggest argument I still hear from Raspberry Pi enthusiasts is how you can’t compare something new as its such and such times more than a Zero or Pi A/B, forgetting the fact that nobody is actually selling any Pi’s at near pre-pandemic pricing besides the popular Pico’s and only then due to the low cost inhouse RP2040 chip and even then the clone boards come just as cheap or ESP32 make for a more suitable option.
The days of a cheap RPi are forever gone and the quicker users realise this the better as judging by the direction set during the last few years I see less emphasis on the charitable side and more on catering for larger clients who can afford to buy in bulk for what really is 2020 technology leaving the average consumer with the dilemma of ‘pre ordering’, over paying or looking elsewhere but that’s hard as the same fanbase cloud peoples judgement with ill informed statements that such and such board is crap or unsupported which is almost always the case blatantly wrong as was recently observed with the Radxa Rock 5B or Orange Pi 5.
Its easy to see why Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd is stuck in there ways as its more profitable catering for an existing ‘industrial’ client base that buys in hundreds if not thousands of units which is why we never see the magical releases and they’re own numbers state 100,000s produced weekly yet licenced retailers still have no units for sale and even those that do don’t ship anywhere near MSRP which technically goes against the mission statement but we’re no longer in 2011 so time to move on and ignore the naysayers as this blog alone has reviewed many viable alternatives that beat the RPi for performance, affordability and have adequate support ensuring average users can quickly adapt the board of their choice instead of holding out hope of seeing a mythical Pi 5 that will remind everyone of past glories but nothing they’ve recently done fills me with any confidence that its coming soon or will release with pricing that made the brand so popular…?!
I write this as somebody who commenced last year searching for a Raspberry Pi device and was fortunate enough to land a 4B 8GB for near MSRP by pure chance and overpaid for 2 Zero 2W’s and they’re decent kit but 12 months later I’ve seen the light thanks in large part to blogs such as this one where I learned about other brands and the risks choosing an alternatives as supply constraints have seen prices go up across the industry making it difficult as what used to cost tens of dollars now costs hundreds so its not only limited to RPi but they seem to get a pass whilst other brands have managed to keep their products available and reasonably priced so it really bothers me seeing quotes of MSRP for devices that clearly don’t sell for that even through licensed stockists!
I respect your position James as it comes from somebody who is well experienced having owned and reviewed the Raspberry Pi devices and compared them to other SBC’s at great cost to yourself yet some people can’t see beyond the brand and stay loyal despite all indications showing that the RPi strategy of making boards easily accessible to the average maker is no longer viable and unless your a ‘mum & pop / industrial’ client you’re no longer the target audience which is a real shame as the devices are great tools for educating new users to Linux but can’t be seen as the standard for SBCs in 2023.
The alternatives come with better performance and a community growing by the day as witnessed with the RK3558 boards where we’re now seeing support across the devices and newer distros that where only possible on a RPi device, not to mention emulation that makes the appeal of using a Pi 4B for retro gaming a distant memory as once you tackle the initial setup process you’re greeted to better performance at reasonable prices and availability as opposed to false promises made by RPi that we could expect to see units ready for sale in 2023 yet there’s no signs and we already know they’re increasing pricing which will only get added to already ludicrous costs for 2020 technology that has very little relevance to todays high demands and user expectations… I too hope I’m wrong as I want to see improvements being made but all I’ve seen so far indicates stagnation and I’m not willing to wait for 2024/2025 to see improvements so we’ll see what the remain months bring for the industry.
Hey Razor Burn,
Great thoughts, I completely agree! I didn’t mention it in my previous reply but the CM4 also got $5 price raises across the board. The truth is that they’ve been unavailable for MSRP for so long that most Raspberry Pi fans don’t understand that things are *not* going back to how they were. In many cases that has already been *officially* announced. These aren’t just going to become available again at the old price they remember it for 2-3+ years ago. The price has already been raised. Despite that I get a lot of posts from people arguing in favor of boards that aren’t actually available for anyone to buy using fantasy data about pricing.
Raspberry Pi’s costs did not go down during the pandemic and this inflation period just like everyone else. The only difference is Raspberry Pi hasn’t been selling people boards and the other companies have. We know the other boards have gone up in price generally but the Raspberry Pi is so unavailable that their fans don’t even realize they don’t cost what they remember them costing anymore.
I hope people understand that I take no pleasure in the current state of affairs. I’ve been a top ranked Raspberry Pi blogger for years. I’m comfortable with that ecosystem. I was able to be successful in that ecosystem. If the Raspberry Pi becomes widely available again for cheap it will only help me.
Hopefully that reply is able to reach a few others as well as you have been here. It doesn’t mean you have to throw away Raspberry Pis or be ashamed if you got Raspberry Pis for MSRP. If you were lucky enough to get them for a reasonable price then you should absolutely use them. I would and I still have my Pis even though I keep telling people I should sell all of mine to them on eBay because they will buy them for $100+ all day on there.
I’m honestly getting less and less pushback from people on this. When I was saying this stuff 6 months to a year ago everyone lost their minds (as I’m sure you remember). Now it’s only a very small group of fans. *That* group I’m hearing from a lot more lately and honestly I think it’s because they’re afraid it’s true at this point. I think when I was saying it 6 months to a year ago it seemed a lot more impossible what I was saying. Now with official announcements out about their plans (and there no longer being any speculation in the calculations) most reasonable people are able to be reached now by information like this. That’s a welcome change.
My arguments apply to the ecosystem today and going forward. They’re purely based on Raspberry Pi’s officially announced plans as compared to what the competition is doing and their announced plans. It’s just a really bad outlook. I’m not opposed at all to Raspberry Pi getting their act together and starting to compete seriously though for sure!
Well said and my sentiments indeed!
If they release sudden a zero3 with the cpu of pi4 and at least 1gb ram in a logical price like 25-30 then they dont need a pi5 for some time but still they dont do anything than promising new stock of old tech,at least a zero2plus with 1gb ram something guys scalping season on!!!
Great thoughts. I honestly think that is more likely than the Pi Zero 2W coming back. I’d really just like to see them move onto the Pi Zero 3 and to use parts/components that they know they will be able to get in quantities that they can produce *millions* of these. From the numbers I can find there was not even 1 million Raspberry Pi Zero 2Ws made.
Look how pathetic these numbers are:
Upton said that the company hopes to ship about 200,000 Pi Zero 2 W boards in the remainder of 2021 and an additional 250,000 in the first half of 2022.
Wow, that’s not even half a million boards. They’ve sold over 4 million Raspberry Pi Zero Ws in comparison. They’ve been completely out ever since. They were “hoping” to ship 200,000 in 2022. These are way too small of numbers to be taken seriously. It’s why I called it a paper launch (and a miserable one). They didn’t even get to half a million boards before it no longer made sense to produce this model anymore due to parts pricing and availability. The launch had no legs whatsoever and already doesn’t make sense to produce anymore.
They really need to find something they can produce millions of and not just run out. If the easiest way for them to do that is to use the exact same CPU the Pi 4 uses or whatever they need to do that would be a smart thing for them to do. Bringing back the 2W doesn’t seem smart at all because they couldn’t even get to half a million before they ran out of the parts to make it (and they almost certainly are more expensive now than they were for that first run).
If they can’t even make a million of their new model then they honestly aren’t big enough to continue occupying the position that many people see them as occupying: being the go-to board provider for single board computers. That’s just not true. They aren’t capable of producing enough hardware to be that anymore no matter how much they or anyone else wants them to. I’d imagine we’ll just continue to see them decrease in relevance throughout 2023 without some big surprise launch like you’re talking about here.
Thats nothing were they will ship them first 10 to greece 10 to Holland 10 to etc
It reminds me the zero1 that first was only available in England in a magazine as a gift.and people/scalpers were buying dozens and selling them in ebay in crazy prizes
Raspberry should move to the zero pcb size factor only,they just cannot make it in normal size factor..
James i dont remember if i asked before, is it possible to take over this project:
The creator stopped support it over 1.5 year ago, thousands and more people are using it,i dont think maxnet the creator will have problem give it to you,you are experienced with github stuff and im sure you can evolve it/improve it,if you do take it somehow i will be the first to donate.
I think you’ve asked me before a while ago I vaguely recall! Right now I can’t because I’m on a brutal publishing schedule. The reason for this is that I have a lot of work to do by me choosing the two most stupid topics possible to cover on a web site in 2022/2023: cryptocurrency and Raspberry Pi. I’m honestly not sure that in the reality we are living through I could have possibly picked two worse and more dangerous topics in IT to cover. Nothing comes to mind even with hindsight.
Both cryptocurrency and the Raspberry Pi were huge phenomena. It’s not easy to make up for the kind of traffic a phenomena brings. I basically have to cover every alternative board combined to make up for just covering the Raspberry Pi.
That has turned out to be the right decision though because Raspberry Pi traffic continues to shrink. I’m sure most creators that didn’t see this coming are freaking out. Hard. My traffic is the highest it has ever been but my earnings are still lagging because most people are really hurting economically right now and the economy worldwide is full of inflation / a giant mess.
I’d imagine I’m only making <$100 a week of my Amazon revenue from Raspberry Pi related stuff. It was $300/week 2 years ago with peaks as high as $500 a week. I'm still not back to that even after all the new content I've published because *everyone* used Raspberry Pi when it made sense to so it was a *lot* of traffic. It takes a long time to build back up to that kind of reliable traffic. A lot of the stuff I've published in the past several months is still ranking and won't go to the first page of Google for potentially several more months for the more obscure topics. Not all of the things I've been covering are easily monetized either such as the Adafruit stuff/Pine64/other companies who won't do affiliate links. That's a different problem though that I think can be overcome by me simply just continuing to grow since most stuff is sold on Amazon and I can always monetize those even though it's an incredibly low 1.5% or something for electronics. My biggest problem was my core topics were no longer really that relevant/interesting in 2022/2023. I'd be bankrupt right now though if I hadn't pivoted toward alternative boards and other technologies when I did. I might still have to work part time at some point for extra cash but if I can keep publishing interesting things I may be able to avoid having to go back to work part time. I'm basically fighting though for my right to continue being able to do this though full-time at the moment. It's just a lot of work since Raspberry Pi and cryptocurrency both went in the toilet and don't appear to be leaving the toilet any time soon. I have a feeling as a creator I'm bumping up against a wall as far as monetization goes. I'm big enough that most people interested in these topics will see me in their Google News feeds. Google News doesn't pay you for that though. Traditionally this is where I would make a YouTube channel. That's how creators on other platforms usually "cash in" to start making money when they start getting big enough that it would generate views on YouTube. Yes, I could continue to grow and scale but I would need to like triple and quadruple in size realistically to be making what I could make just going back to work as a L3 hardware technician. That's a little discouraging for sure as I'm already decently big for a web site. Quadrupling won't be easy! I'd imagine that tripling/quadrupling my traffic while definitely a valid option is probably not the easiest option or the smartest option at least once you get to a certain size where you may qualify for other types of monetization. The question is what would I have to do to get it because I really hate nearly all web monetization schemes and would never subject my readers to them. The affiliate linking is the least distasteful one I know of. I'm not sure why I'm even saying this publicly as there's honestly not very many people out there who would be able to offer me advice on something like this. Jeff Geerling is probably the biggest creator I know that might answer me if I asked them something like that but it's not a very relatable problem for everyone else I'd imagine. I'm hoping by the end of the year I'll be in a place with diversified enough content that I can take on more GitHub projects again. Right now I'm just in furious publishing mode!