1 2 3 Previous Next 358 Replies Latest reply: Dec 4, 2013 3:10 PM by qmabary RSS

Pi vs BeagleBone-Black

So, just over a year on from the initial availability of the R-Pi and the new BeagleBone Black is upon us.  They've obviously taken a leaf out of the RPF's playbook and produced a cost reduced version at a price only marginally above the Pi.

 

I find it interesting that the compromises are very different, for example there's a proper PMIC and the ethernet is not troubled by being connected to USB, however the on-board HDMI seems less capable.

 

Other differences are in the documentation, I'm currently viewing the pcb gerbers for the beaglebone..  Have yet to see any sign of those for the R-Pi a year later. There's even an up to date devicetree capable kernel too.

 

Technology has also moved on somewhat, we get a 1GHz Cortex A8 which is better than the Pi, along with various other stuff and lots more GPIO's too.

 

Ok, so it's clear that I like the look of the new beaglebone, and given the price I'm likely to put any further R-Pi plans on hold until I have a chance to play with this. It's also making things like the Olinuxino-maxi I bought recently look very slow/expensive while still being cheaper than the similarly specced Olinuxino-A13

 

Some details of the beaglebone-black here http://circuitco.com/support/index.php?title=BeagleBoneBlack

 

What do the rest of you think ?   I don't expect this to displace the Pi anytime soon, but I expect it to be very attractive to those people who don't simply want to put XBMC on it and duct tape it to the back of the TV..

  • 1. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black
    John Beetem

    BBone Black is very impressive.  Only US$10 more than RasPi at mouser.com (can't find price at element14/Newark).  I'm looking forward to seeing one at Design West tomorrow.

     

    I also noticed today that they've done a major revamp of the http://beagleboard.org/ web site.  It looks like it will be much easier to download operating systems.  Previously it was hard to tell which version was recommended -- RasPi made it quite a bit easier for a new user to get started.

     

    I don't think BBone Black will displace RasPi, because RasPi is still cheaper (especially the Model A) and has a very effective community.  BBone has higher CPU performance, but RasPi probably has better media performance since that's what the BCM2835 was designed for, so people who just want a media engine will prefer it.  But BBone has much better I/O capabilities (clearly now a better choice for geeks*) and has rounded corners so it actually fits in an Altoids tin   And BBone has a full Technical Reference manual.

     

    * I use the definition of "geek" that requires hardware expertise: "you can't spell geek without EE".

  • 2. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black
    ervkosch

    To me its a like comparing BetaMax to VHS.  The Raspberry Pi is cheaper but has less features where as the BeagleBone has more of the features I really want for $10 more (flash memory, more IO, a better and established shield/cape system, more processing power).  If I have a new project I will be looking at BeagleBone. 

     

    Unless TI starts marketing the bat snot out of the unit it will never come close to the volume of the Pi.  Remember that Pi had nearly two years of press before it came out. Most of the press was about the little guy making his dream come try.  The BB Black hardly had any press.  The only way I can see TI getting the word out is as a comeback story that harkens back to old 8 bit PC days.  Otherwise it stay a hobby/engineering tool.

     

    Will I use a Raspberry Pi?  Model A boards yes.  I like the processing power but with a low power consumption for the cost of an Arduino. Model B board now that BB Black is out?  Very unlikely.  I get access to Android and Ubuntu with BB Black. That means I can use PhoneGap/Cordova and Mono to build my apps faster than I can in Python.  Also it has some extra features like true serial connection, power and reset switches, and mounting holes.

     

    I'm not trying to start a flame war.  I like playing with my Pi but this maybe a better option for me.

  • 3. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black

    John Beetem wrote:

     

    BBone Black is very impressive.  Only US$10 more than RasPi at mouser.com (can't find price at element14/Newark).  I'm looking forward to seeing one at Design West tomorrow.

     

    here in the UK, 26.48 GBP for the model B Pi, 27.87 for the beaglebone black - both plus VAT (20% here) or whatever local tax is.

     

    I don't think BBone Black will displace RasPi, because RasPi is still cheaper (especially the Model A) and has a very effective community.  BBone has higher CPU performance, but RasPi probably has better media performance since that's what the BCM2835 was designed for, so people who just want a media engine will prefer it. 

    For me it's not enough cheaper though, so I'm not really in the media engine group   I don't know enough about the BB community at this point, but I suspect the community will grow with a cheaper device that has lots more IO

    And BBone has a full Technical Reference manual.

     

    The docs are quite impressive, especially so early on.

  • 4. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black

    Ervin Kosch wrote:

    I get access to Android and Ubuntu with BB Black. That means I can use PhoneGap/Cordova and Mono to build my apps faster than I can in Python.

    Actually I think that having the A8, not having to do a Raspbian style hf rebuild, and therefore being able to use un-altered distros is a very strong point in the BBB's favour. Thanks for mentioning it.

    I'm not trying to start a flame war.  I like playing with my Pi but this maybe a better option for me.

    Oh, I like mine too. And I agree with a lot of your other points.  The BBB is the closest to the Pi in price that I've seen while being better in some ways, so I think there will be lots of comparisons being made that don't really work when you try to compare the Pi to something like the Sabre-Lite at 6x the price.

  • 5. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black
    gdstew

    Actually I think that having the A8, not having to do a Raspbian style hf rebuild, and therefore being able to use un-altered distros is a very strong point in the BBB's favour.

     

    Not sure what you mean here. Any SOC will need an altered distro to use the manufacturer specific hardware on that chip no matter what version of ARM is being used.

    The question I have is whether the drivers for that hardware will be open source. That would be an advantage over the RPi and TI is usually pretty good about that. From

    what I see it looks like the graphics driver would probably still be proprietary because TI does not own the IP, PowerVR does.

     

    I have an original BeagleBoard and I am very glad to see that the BeagleBone Black has 3.3V I/O.  The 1.8V I/O on the BeagleBoard is a RPITA that can require a few

    very small voltage level translators that really need a custom PCB to use. Overall the BeagleBone Black looks very interesting and I plan to keep close tabs on it.

     

    Also just to throw a wild card into the mix, the Cubieboard http://cubieboard.org is now actually available (in somewhat limited quantities) and at $49 is close enough to

    the RPi and BeagleBone Black to be a competitor. It offers most of the usual features with an Allwinner A10 at 1 GHz, 1 GB RAM, HDMI video, USB, etc.  and at least

    one feature, a SATA 2 interface that is not found on the others.

  • 6. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black

    Gary Stewart wrote:

     

    Actually I think that having the A8, not having to do a Raspbian style hf rebuild, and therefore being able to use un-altered distros is a very strong point in the BBB's favour.

     

    Not sure what you mean here. Any SOC will need an altered distro to use the manufacturer specific hardware on that chip no matter what version of ARM is being used.

     

    Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian etc. don't directly support the Arm core on the Pi at all anymore. They do support the A8. So there's a big difference between recompiling all 10000+ packages in Debian/Fedora specifically for the Pi (what Raspbian & Seneca are doing) compared to needing to recompile just one - the kernel.

     

    And you get to the point where you will be able to run Ubuntu on it. AFAIK you still can't run it on the Pi.

    The question I have is whether the drivers for that hardware will be open source. That would be an advantage over the RPi and TI is usually pretty good about that. From

    what I see it looks like the graphics driver would probably still be proprietary because TI does not own the IP, PowerVR does.

    The problem around video drivers is common to all of these Arm platforms, it doesn't seem to matter what GPU you have. Having a distro that's supported upstream may even help here as a driver (even if it is binary only) could support more than one board.

    Also just to throw a wild card into the mix, the Cubieboard http://cubieboard.org is now actually available (in somewhat limited quantities) and at $49 is close enough to

     

    I'd love to get my hands on one, but every time I see a post saying they're back in stock, they've gone by the time I click on the link.  Time will tell if the new beaglebone is available in quantity or not.

  • 7. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black
    gdstew

    So there's a big difference between recompiling all 10000+ packages in Debian/Fedora specifically for the Pi (what Raspbian & Seneca are doing) compared to needing to recompile just one - the kernel.

     

    OK, unless you plan to make your own distro I don't understand why you would be recompiling 10000 packages. A majority of those packages have already been compiled for the existing distros and

    there is nothing inherently ARM CPU version dependent in any applications that are not already compiled as long as you have all the proper tools: GCC, C libraries, and binary utilities which Raspian

    does provide (not sure about Fedora but I assume they do to).

     

    The problem around video drivers is common to all of these Arm platforms, it doesn't seem to matter what GPU you have. Having a distro that's supported upstream may even help here as a driver (even if it is binary only) could support more than one board

     

    Yes I know, that is why I pointed it out. I have on several occasions in these forums read complaints against the Raspberry Pi about its GPU being proprietary but as you correctly point out this common

    with ARM SOCs. If the GPU IP is the property of the ARM SOC manufacturer they could release it if they wanted to. However more often than not they just use somebody else's pre-packaged GPU IP.

    This is (unfortunately) understandable considering the complexity of GPU design and drivers for it coupled with the desire to get a product on the market in a reasonable time frame. There have been

    rumours about the two most common GPU providers PowerVR and ARM officially opening up their drivers but as far as I can tell this has not happened yet.

     

      I'd love to get my hands on one, but every time I see a post saying they're back in stock, they've gone by the time I click on the link.  Time will tell if the new beaglebone is available in quantity or not.

     

    Last time I checked, about two to three weeks ago, they were available from at least one of the links on the Cubieboard web site. I checked Digi Key for the BeagleBone Black, they have none in stock and

    are quoting 7 weeks before they recieve any. If past history withe the BeagleBoard and BeagleBoard-xM serves it will take the folks at BeagleBoard longer than that.

  • 8. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black
    morgaine

    Spring greetings to you all ...  this thread has brought me out of my forum sabatical, naughty naughty.

     

    Seeing the Slashdot thread on BeagleBone Black made me warp over to here post haste, as I guessed you would all be talking about it ... and you were, hehe.  I agree with everything that's been said.

     

    Two additional bits of information that slightly change the picture:

     

    • Farnell UK says "18584 will be available for delivery on 3 May, 2013", so they're clearly taking this seriously and expect BB Black to sell in much higher volumes than the first BeagleBone.  No surprise of course, price is king.

     

    • The BeagleBone's TI Sitara AM3359 contains a pair of integer-only realtime processors running at 200MHz, the Programmable Realtime Unit Subsystem or "PRU".  These can provide waaaaaaay better hard realtime interfacing performance than any program running in Linux user-space, so for hardcore techies who aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty with some pretty simple assembler, the BeagleBone is lightyears ahead of the Pi in interfacing capability.

     

    Success has very little to do with engineering merit though, so I won't be making any guesses about how popular this new board will become.  However, for myself, the Pi Model B is now totally dead in the water since it lost its only advantage, which was price.

     

    Needless to say, BeagleBone Black is on my shopping list as soon as they're in stock.

     

    Morgaine.

  • 9. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black
    obcd

    If finding a cubieboard is a problem, you could take a look on Ebay at the Mele A1000 media player. It's pretty much a cubieboard without the gpio lines. It will cost more than a Pi, but it comes with a supply and a housing. It also has a vga output and connector fitted. It has wifi and ethernet embedded if I remember well. There even is the Mele A2000G with 1Gig of ram.

    For GPIO, I prefer to use a dedicated microcontroller connected to the linux board with an usb interface. This approach might be a bit more expensive, but it makes it possible to switch from one linux board to another without much hassle. It also makes the system responsive to io changes after a fraction of a second instead of several seconds needed to boot the system. Maybe it's just me being conservative and used to embedded design on 8 bit microcontrollers. Linux adds connectivity to it and makes easy in system programming possible.

    The Mele also uses the allwinner A10 soc, so booting linux is possible from the sd card. Placing it on the internal flash memory of the player should be possible as well.

  • 10. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black
    rdolson

    The architecture I'm currently designing out for my pet project will have the timing-critical stuff on MSP430s, with a SPI connection up to the Pi for connectivity and user-side control. Looking at doing global clock sync between the Pi and the microcontrollers using the Nordic radio transceivers and a variant of FTSP.

  • 11. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black
    gdstew

    These can provide waaaaaaay better hard realtime interfacing performance than any program running in Linux user-space,

     

    There are also several real-time Linux kernel patch sets (Xenomia is one) that can provide way better real time (hard and soft) performance running in "RT" user space than anything running

    in "normal" user space. They also supply full RT APIs to work with and hardware (when available) supported floating point if you need it. Any RT kernels avaialable for the PRUs ?

     

      If finding a cubieboard is a problem, you could take a look on Ebay at the Mele A1000 media player

     

    I bought one off of Ebay several months ago which is one of the reasons I'm not as interested in the Cubieboard as I use to be. It does have wi-fi and Ethernet and although it is bit short on the

    user I/O it does also have serial, I2C (have to add a header), IR remote control and a SATA 2 interface. There are several web sites that provide Linux for the A10 and it already comes with what

    I think is an Android OS for the media player operation.

  • 12. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black

    Gary Stewart wrote:

     

     

    OK, unless you plan to make your own distro I don't understand why you would be recompiling 10000 packages. A majority of those packages have already been compiled for the existing distros and

    there is nothing inherently ARM CPU version dependent in any applications that are not already compiled as long as you have all the proper tools: GCC, C libraries, and binary utilities which Raspian

    does provide (not sure about Fedora but I assume they do to).

    You're missing the point, Raspbian is a two man, unofficial, effort to port debian to an arch that the real Debian maintainers are unwilling to support. Raspbian may vanish tomorrow. At which point you will either need to start compiling them yourself, or move to a piece of hardware that someone else is willing to support. You could of course stick with the last Raspbian release if if you like, but that leaves you with other problems.

     

    You're right in that nothing is inherently dependant on the CPU, the issue is simply that Debian doesn't want to support the older version CPU on the Pi, nothing more.

  • 13. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black

    Morgaine Dinova wrote:

     

    Spring greetings to you all ...  this thread has brought me out of my forum sabatical, naughty naughty.

     

    Was wondering where you'd been hiding recently

    • Farnell UK says "18584 will be available for delivery on 3 May, 2013", so they're clearly taking this seriously and expect BB Black to sell in much higher volumes than the first BeagleBone.  No surprise of course, price is king.

     

    However after getting an 'in stock' notification from Newark (strange when I'm in the UK), Newark now show 0 in stock and more expected to ship on 28th June - no qty listed...

    So I'm not holding my breath just yet.

    Success has very little to do with engineering merit though, so I won't be making any guesses about how popular this new board will become.  However, for myself, the Pi Model B is now totally dead in the water since it lost its only advantage, which was price.

     

    I'd hoped to see something like this where the price difference (in the UK anyway) is approaching zero. Regardless of the merits of each device, it'll be interesting to see what happens next.

  • 14. Re: Pi vs BeagleBone-Black

    Luc Cool wrote:

     

    If finding a cubieboard is a problem, you could take a look on Ebay at the Mele A1000 media player. It's pretty much a cubieboard without the gpio lines.

    At least for me, it's the GPIO that makes or breaks the device, without them I'm much less interested.

     

    It will cost more than a Pi,

    Approx 60 GBP, so around twice what the Pi costs. Sure it's not a straight comparison.

     

    The A10 looks like it should be a good SoC and so far the cubieboard looks to be the closest to the sort of board I'm interested in. The danger, as always, is that something better and cheaper may come along by the time they start appearing in volume.

     

    Either way, interesting times, and I'm really hoping we'll see more and more devices of this type.

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