BeagleBone Black vs. Raspberry Pi

I have written a short comparison of these two boards.

Nice write up. A couple of major negatives for the Pi you didn’t mention: ancient unsupported ARM chip, flaky power, true cost higher than “list” price, and still bad availability in US.

Simon Monk <> writes:

I have written a short comparison of these two boards.

That comparison is missing many important differences.

Firstly, and VERY importantly, the Bone runs with 100% Open Source
software, whereas the Pi requires a closed-source blob to so much as
power up the ARM core, let alone do anything. In a world where vendors
abandon products the moment they leave the factory doors, this should be
a cause for some serious concern about the future for the Pi.

With that out of the way, there are some significant things you have
neglected to mention:

- The Bone CPU is a Cortex-A8, which is a dual-issue core with a 128-bit
  SIMD unit. This means its performance is from twice to 10x that of the
  ARM11 used in the Pi, depending on the nature of the code being

- The Bone uses an on-chip ethernet controller rather than using a USB
  adaptor as found on the Pi. This makes it faster and more stable
  while using less CPU overhead.

- The two USB ports on the Pi are provided by an onboard hub connected
  to a single host port on the SoC, also shared with the ethernet port.
  There is thus no real advantage over the Bone there.

- USB on the Pi has serious stability and performance issues. The host
  controller generates an interrupt for every microframe (8000 per
  second), and if one of these fails to be serviced before a rather
  short deadline, data is lost. Even when data is not lost, this design
  leads to very high CPU overhead. There are reports of 20% CPU time
  being wasted on USB these interrupts.

- External connections are not just about GPIO. There are UARTs, SPI,
  I2C, etc to consider as well, and also which combinations are possible
  through pin muxing.

- Power consumption should be measured both when idle and with load. I
  don't know how the boards compare here. It would be interesting to

- While the Pi has a powerful video decoder, additional licence keys
  must be purchased in order to fully use it. The Bone does not require
  any extra purchases to unlock all functionality.

“The Raspberry Pi has made the most of its head start and the community has produced a reliable and well featured distribution in Raspbian, allowing plug and play simplicity even for things like USB WiFi adaptors. No doubt BeagleBone will soon catch up.”

Catch up how exactly ? I will admit I have no love at all for the rpi, but how much time did you actually spend with the Beagelbone black ? 5 minutes ?

There are some other things as well:

  1. BBB - relatively good access to documentation of workings of the am335x chip - CPU & peripherals - at least to the level which makes it possible
    to use the board in even relatively advanced real-time applications. PI is completely no go in that area (there is no competition between the two - it is knock out).
  2. AM335x is equipped in PRU units which make the CPU / board very quick at performing some RT tasks without loading CPU too much.
  3. It is possible to hack BBB internally relatively easily (as easy as kernel hacking goes ) - you are not kept away from hacking
    kernel because of the lack of documentation for CPU / chipset or waiting for some foundation to solve some bugs making your application
    running not stable (although both are closed in areas of GPU programming AFAIK - anyway GPU is not my area of interests, because the
    area in which BBB is strong I think is control systems programming).

W dniu środa, 31 lipca 2013 14:21:30 UTC+2 użytkownik Simon Monk napisał:


Thank you, I think you hit the nail right on the head. IMHO the BBB is meant for control type applications, and not some quick and dirty media player replacement. This is also not a PC replacement, despite the possibility of being used as such( in limited form ).

So far I have found the Beaglebone black a great platform. As long as I am willing to apply myself.