PandaBoard: Beagleboard XM killer?

It was known since previous UDS that there will be OMAP4 based PandaBoard available for developers. And some time ago pandaboard.org was started (for now with temporary website). Boards are still not available at distributors but there are some of them in different projects (like Ubuntu/ARM), some are on a way to new users (mine for example).

When final price was announced many people said that PandaBoard is BeagleBoard XM killer due to same (179USD) price. But is it? Let have a look.

First group of users for such boards are software developers. If they do not work for hardware companies then usually want to get more power for same price. So they will choose PandaBoard.

Second group would be companies which want to produce own hardware based on OMAP3/4. Here it depends on how soon OMAP4 chips will be available in small orders. As OMAP3 can be bought now and BBXM is available to buy many will choose it as this allow to get own hardware ready to market in less then year with having working platform for own developers so final device will start with ready software. One of such is BUG 2.0 which I used at prototype phase. It was designed after using BeagleBoards with BUGBoard extension as base for hardware development.

And Beagleboard XM is available to buy today — with fast CPU, 512MB ram, Ethernet, few USB ports it is big update to previous versions. I never used it — BB C3 is still my primary ARM development system. But in 2-3 weeks situation will change and BB will meet another C3 and one B7 versions in a box due to arrival of PandaBoard.

15 thoughts on “PandaBoard: Beagleboard XM killer?

  1. Maxim Podbereznyy

    I don’t agree with even in comparing two absolutely different platforms! Who said Panda would kill xM or other Cortex-A8 system? This can be said only by people who never produce anything! I’m a developer and manufacturer of ARM systems in Russia and I know embedded market very well. OMAP3x and DM3730 can be bought by small developers/manufacturers. OMAP4 I believe will be available in small quantities in about 2-3 years. No, again, how can Panda kill Beagleboard?

  2. Marcin Juszkiewicz

    Maxim: like I wrote — Panda is killer only for software developers who are not bound to any particular device.

    And I agree with You that they are different platform, but there are lot of software folks and passionates who want to make media center like devices for own use and Panda is nicer then.

    I plan do make some benchmarks to compare omap3/bbc3 with omap4/pb and write how good/bad panda is.

  3. Danny

    No doubt that the BeagleBoard-XM using DM3730 is a wonderful piece of toy for Hobbyist (and for some professional too) and the PandaBoard is more powerful than BeagleBoard-XM.

    From a hardware developer point of view, I understand that from TI FAQ that they do sponsor some parts in the BeagleBoard or even PandaBoard to encourage adoption but if without their sponsorship, what is the estimated cost of small volume production (eg.100-500 unit) just in term of Total Components Cost (eg.DM3730 and the rest…).

    It could be quite annoying and disappointing if we can only easily buy unit of beagleboard from Digikey, learn it, love it , customize our own board and later only find out that it is too difficult and expensive to produce it for 100 unit or even 1000 unit or so. Our ultimate goal is to produce a BeagleBoard-XM using Texas Instrument DM3730 (1GHz) to replace the Intel Atom D525MW board (Dual core 2×1.8Ghz) which is retailed at around $80 or less. Possible ?

  4. Maxim Podbereznyy

    Danny, I manufacture devices based on OMAP3530 in quantities around 100pcs per month. Believe me the Net Cost for my product is around actual Beagleboard retail cost. DM3730 costs even more! Atom boards cost cheaper and expectedly they are faster.

    But! Did you see boards based on D525MW? They have either HUGE heat sink or a cooler. So Atom CPUs can’t be used in, say, tablets like Ipad or similar. Price is not the object. Probably you can buy the ultimate Android smartphone for 500-700usd, and for such price you can buy a notebook with far more performance. You can’t use x86 processors in mobile applications, the same as you can’t use mobile processor in desktop applications. You better decide what you need first: mobility or low-price solution. These are not the same

    1. Danny

      Maxim, I totally agree with you. Therefore we plan to use the more energy efficient ARM based chip. I wondering at what sort of volume could we possibly drive the unit down to $100 or less.

          1. Maxim Podbereznyy

            Danny, for OMA3530 you need the production volume of about 10k or even more to have the net cost near of 100$. I know that native Beagleboard costs in production about $80-100. However remember that BB has been manufacturing in quantities of 20-30k per year.

  5. Danny

    I see. If the TI OMAP3530 or the DM3730 not to mention the OMAP4 is too premium for our project we might go for Atmel AT91SAM9M10 or some Marvell chip which can give acceptable Video capability too , I saw some AT91SAM9G45 on your site which I guess is pin to pin compatible to 9M10 . Do you provide OEM service from sample to mass production?

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  7. Anonymous

    PandaBoard is much better than old outdated BeagleBoard. I love new OMAP4 CPUs, they are much better than old outdated OMAP3.

      1. Anonymous

        Please tell me, why there is such a problem with OMAP4 availability? For example, if you want to get a Pandaboard, you have to preorder and wait for several weeks. I don’t remember any similar problems with Beagleboard. And more and more new devices based on OMAP3 are still coming out, despite OMAP3 is not “latest and greatest” anymore…

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