Banana Pi: A $57 Rasperry Pi clone with a faster CPU, more memory

There’s no shortage of single-board, low-power computers on the market these days. But several years after launch, the Raspberry Pi is still probably the most popular. It’s just hardly the most powerful.

So what’s a Raspberry Pi lover who wants a bit better performance to do? How about buying a board with more memory, a faster processor but a virtually identical layout to the original Raspberry Pi and compatibility with pretty much every Raspberry Pi add-on boards and peripherals?

Meet the Banana Pi.

Banana Pi

While the Raspberry Pi features a 700 MHz single-core Broadcom BCM2835 ARM11 processor, the Banana Pi has a 1 GHz Allwinner A20 dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor.

The Raspberry Pi has up to 512MB of RAM, and the Banana Pi has 1GB.

The Banana Pi features an SD card slot, HDMI and composite video jacks, a 3.5mm audio jack and built-in microphone, Gigabit Ethernet, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a micro USB port for power, an IR receiver, and Raspberry Pi compatible headers including a 26-pin header, camera connector, and more.

In other words, it should be pretty easy to use most Raspberry Pi-compatible hardware with a Banana Pi — but the Banana Pi offers more processing power and more memory, which could come in handy whether you’re looking to build a home theater PC, a general purpose computer, or a hardware prototyping system.

The official Banana Pi website has some typos and non-working links, which doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in the project. But if you’re interested in picking one up, it’s available from several sellers at AliExpress for around $57 and up.

Update: Looking for something a little different? Solid Run plans to launch a similar device, but with a Freescale i.MX6 processor. It’s called the Hummingbird.

via CNX Software

  • Mike

    Hmm I wonder if it will be able run the Pi camera and distros. Very interesting.

  • autodestruct

    Seems more like a cubieboard with the IR receiver and SATA jack

    • NewIT

      The Cubieboard 2 and 3 do have SATA and IR.

    • Daniel Lundh

      The cubieboard 3 is waaaay bigger than a a RPI though.

  • otti

    Any word on the GPU? The Raspberry Pi’s just got open-sourced, another bonus. Hopefully this is the same graphics chip. Means you can tinker with SIMD and parallel programming for medical/financial processing and stuff – great package at this price.

    • min009

      Mali-400MP2

  • ChicagoBob

    Winner!! Been hoping some one would do this. Cant wait to get one. $57 no problem.

  • brian

    With a real sata connection this really ups the game.

  • EricRead

    A lot of people have been wanting a faster Raspberry Pi. But it’s a different processor and graphics card.

    Part of the reason why so many people use the RPi is because it’s well supported. I don’t really care but about physical dimension matching. If all the software development people have done for the various projects don’t work, there’s no reason to switch to a Pi clone. It’ll just basically be a different device.

  • Ed

    Still loving my Odroid-U3 from Hardkernel.
    It’s not a Raspberry Pi clone, but does offer a quad-core ARM processor, 2GB RAM, and can boot from SD or eMMC. It can run Linux or Android and XBMC. The board, case, 16GB eMMC, and power supply was $132 US total price, shipped from South Korea. The board alone is $59 US, but you are better off buying everything you need in one shot because shipping is a flat $25 fee.

    • Johnno

      That’s a Samsung Exynos 5410 CPU isn’t it? Does that thing have on-board radios – like Wi-Fi/Bluetooth etc or does it only support interfaces for supplementary chips? I wanted one but couldn’t get to the bottom of the connectivity thing. In other words – does the Odroid-U3 ship with wireless connectivity out the box? Who wants a dev board that’s prone to security breaches by design???? Or is it rock-solid secure (sans radios) from the get-go????

  • ChicagoBob

    OK ordered it..Just could not pass it up at that price. It has all the things the Pi doesn’t for about the same price. Sata connector, reset button, more ram, more speed. This should be a no brainer to setup as a media box or a low powered web surfing box laptop. And it has one more bonus you can run Android 4.2.2 on it. That clinched it for me.

    • Xillra fe

      Tell us how it goes!

      • ChicagoBob

        Won’t get it for about a month. Coming from Hong Kong

      • ChicagoBob

        Ok I am reporting back.
        Welcome the age of the low cost mini computers.

        I have had the Banana Pi about 2 days. And have spent a total of
        4 hours with it.

        Things you should know.
        1) You need a 2amp 5V supply, I picked up a 2.5amp USB charger from
        Walgreens(local drug store) and it worked just fine. It uses a micro USB input
        to power the board.

        2) I recommend a good 8GB SD card to start with. I have a San Disk Class 10.The image for the Raspberry Pi image they provide requires an 8GB card.

        3) It does not come with any directions. Just a white box and a static bag. Just like raspberry pi’s. The website/forum have plenty of information for anyone to get started.

        I have tried both the Android and Raspberry Pi OS.

        They work and the UI performance makes my PI seem so slow.

        Installation, for Android
        After fixing my own mistake of not formatting the image correctly onto the SD drive
        the Android name came up as the Banana Pi booted.

        But alas the image file is set up for Chinese.
        I spent a little time guessing what Android line would allow me to configure this to

        English in the settings section. Once I found it I was on to my next challenge.
        The built in ethernet was set to on. I poked around in the settings until I found the location to swtich it to on in the settings. After that I was off to the races.

        You log onto the Play Store via Play.Google.com.
        I downloaded FireFox, Hangouts,

        I was able to surf the web, and and basically do anything I could do with my smart phone except with Android.
        I nabbed ESFile server and was able to connect to my NAS drive

        The performance was decent. I type pretty quickly and the keyboard input did not lag at all. The web pages came up in good order and basically it did very well.
        I am not sure everything is up and running and configured to my liking yet as I only spent about 2 hours on it but I could not find a fault or anything that I could not work around. Horrah a $60 dual core mini Android computer.

        On the Raspberry Pi Side, installed the image and it started up without a hitch, expect the keyboard was setup for the UK. The PI GUI was very responsive and really outperformed the Raspberry PI. That said I have read about some pinouts being

        different so not everything is the same.

        Next up on my plate is to try and get the SATA port going so I can see how this thing
        really flies with a real drive.

        So that’s my report for now. Would I recommend this for a novice, well I think
        with the support on the forums you can get by, for a semi pro if you want a low powered mini computer I dont see a better deal around, if so let me know.. :)

    • jetxu

      Thanks for yous support,!

  • werewolfc

    My RPI can play 1080p videos on Linux. Does this clone play it?

    • Jason Van Cleave

      I highly doubt it has hardware support via OpenMax that allows the RPi/Broadcom combo to do this

    • jetxu

      yes,i can play 1080P too

    • fdsgfdsggdfsfgdsfdsg

      RTFM

  • Raymond

    I got the board as an engineering sample. Also was told the target price would be US$30 around instead of $50. I think those were re-seller or someone to sell his own board and get profits.

  • jetxu
  • banana pi manufacture
  • banana pi manufacture
  • judy

    The Banana PI more powerful then the Raspberry pi

  • http://www.hardware-libre.fr Marc Fournier

    A Banana board is currently tested by the free developpers of HWL. We’ll see what it reallly is.

    http://hardware-libre.fr/2014/05/banana-pi-unboxing-first-impressions/

  • denocox

    Test and Becnchmark vs Rapsi : http://hardware-libre.fr/2014/06/raspberry-vs-banana-hardware-duel/

    Banana seems to have great perf and compatibility. not a bad clone.

  • glnds

    I just ran an extensive benchmark comparison between the Raspberry and Banana Pi. You can find the results here: http://gleenders.blogspot.be/2014/07/banana-pi-benchmarks-banana-pi-vs.html

  • http://www.banana-pi.com jolin

    Next generation single-board computer,more powerful than raspberry pi,more product information,checking official website:www.banana-pi.com email:[email protected]

  • http://www.banana-pi.com jolin
  • helen huang

    Hi everyone,I am Helen from sinovoip-the manufacturer of banana pi.
    Banana pi is our new product,it is a wonderful development board.
    Banana PI is an Open Source hardware platform which was produced to run the Elastos.org open source OS among others. Banana PI a dual core, Android 4.2 product which is much better than the Raspberry Pi.
    The Banana Pi hardware runs Android, Debian Linux, Ubuntu Linux, OpenSuse linux and images that run on the Raspberry Pi and Cubieboard.

    if you need buy banana pi you can contact me,we manufacturer,we can give you very attractive price for your large order.
    email:[email protected]
    skype:sinovoip06
    phone number:15507535012