Death to Raspberry/Pi — Beaglebone Black is on a market

As guys from/around Texas Instruments promised there is new Beaglebone Black on a market. Faster, cheaper, with video output and other extras. For me it looks like Raspberry/Pi killer done right.

What is on board?

There is a lot of goods:

  • 1GHz TI AM355x cpu with ARM Cortex-A8 core supporting ARMv7-a instruction set
  • PowerVR GPU with OpenGL ES support (closed source driver)
  • HDMI output (with audio)
  • 512MB ram
  • 2GB eMMC
  • 92 expansion pins
  • USB Host
  • USB device
  • Ethernet
  • microSD slot
  • user controlled LEDs
  • serial port header

And it still supports (most of) expansion boards from the original Beaglebone which can add extra functionality so possibilities are uncountable. All that for only 45$.

But why it is better?

  1. ARMv7-a cpu core. It means that you can run any Linux distribution on it. Think Ubuntu/armhf, Debian/armhf, Fedora/armhf. No need to reinvent a wheel (aka armhfv6 done for Raspbian distribution).

  2. No dependencies on closed source components. You can boot board and use it with what ever you want and still have control on all sources used. Sure, there are some binary blobs for OpenGL ES but if you do not need this then you are fine. Try to boot R/Pi without binary blobs…

  3. Texas Instruments level of support. Sure, we heard that they abandoned mobile market but Sitara line of processors is still in development, there are new CPUs and they provide documentation and source code for product. Also amount of work done in mainline kernel is not something to be ignored.

  4. Expansion headers. Compare 26 pins of R/Pi with 92 of Beaglebone… Then add capes to this.

So which one to choose?

Beaglebone Black of course ;D

As people on IRC told there are other cheap devices made in China with faster cpus and more memory. But for me Beaglebone is not ‘yet another ARM computer’ but rather ‘yet another microcontroller on ultra steroids’ and this is where the true power of this board resides.

13 thoughts on “Death to Raspberry/Pi — Beaglebone Black is on a market

  1. Jon

    What’s not better?

    Price. You could buy 2 (or 3, depending on the version) Pi’s for the $89 that the BeagleBone costs (assuming the pricing I’m finding is correct).

    Even still: Who wins?

    Everyone. The more inexpensive systems like this we see, the better everyone is.

      1. Marcin Juszkiewicz Post author

        Looks like nice board too. But wait for AllWinner A20 based one — will be dual core Cortex-A7 instead of single core Cortex-A8 ;D

        And I starting to be not proper person to ask about new ARM boards. There are so many of them that I stopped following.

  2. Milosz

    What about the audio/video HW accelerated codecs? Can’t seem to find this info anywhere, and PI is relatively strong with h.264 or MPEG2

    1. Marcin Juszkiewicz Post author

      Have to admit that I have no idea about codecs. And I do not care cause for me BeagleBone is not a media center device (neither is R/Pi).

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