Raspberry Pi Alternatives

What are the best Raspberry Pi alternatives with current availability? Ideally the device would need to be able to handle 1080p video, but 1080 static images is acceptable as well. Preferably the device would be in the price range of a Raspberry Pi kit ($150 +/-), but I’m open to going to up to $400-500 especially if it could drive 2 1080p screens. The most important thing for me right now is availability. I will need to be able to secure a supply of 200-300 devices over the next 7 months.

Hi @mv1,

Thanks for reaching out about this. It’s a bit hard for us to respond with confidence, as we don’t work with manufacturers directly to source hardware and only know via conversations with other customers what might be available (outside of the RPi CM3 situation, since it affects our balenaFin). But that said, we do hear from customers about what they’re sourcing and get some third-hand knowledge, so I’ll share with you what I can:

  • all of the Pi-based solutions we support have been impacted, based on customer reports (RockPi, OrangePi, etc.)
  • in a more similar form-factor, I know I’ve personally been able to get BeagleBone Black hardware [1], though I haven’t tested playing 1080p video content through the HDMI port - maybe others have experience with that piece and can share about it
  • for testing in our lab, we were also able to get ahold of some Intel NUCs [2] which are more expensive, but if you purchase some of the older generations are sub $400 most of the time for basic configurations (they are currently on the 11th Generation)
  • I’m currently working with another customer who moved from our balenaFin to a Compulab board due to availability; we support this SoM and just might need to add drivers for whatever configuration you purchased of their full SBCs [3]
  • we also have customers using Variscite boards and they seem to have acquired necessary supply; again, we would need to add drivers to support your final configuration, but we support quite a few of their SoMs, which you could then have built into one of their custom SBCs [4] [5]

That’s probably a lot to digest, so let me know what questions you have. The most simple replacements are the ones I listed at the top, as they’ll be similar sizes, come with lots of casing options, etc. As you go down the list you’ll be creating more custom solutions, but maybe that’s what you’re looking for in the long term. Either way, we have relationships with all of the manufacturers above, so if you need an introduction to anyone, I’m happy to facilitate that as well. Just let me know how I can be of help.

[1] BeagleBoard.org - black
[2] Intel® NUC Products
[3] SBC-iMX8 | NXP i.MX8M Single Board Computer | CompuLab
[4] High-Quality System On Module (SoM) solutions based on leading SoCs
[5] Variscite Single Board Computers for evaluating modules based on NXP