Most Users assume that the battle of Banana PI vs. Raspberry PI is between the same SBC company.
But both SBCs are from different companies with distinct pros and cons, even though similar people use them (electronics hobbyists).
In truth, the Banana Pi is a clone that flooded the market due to the success of the Raspberry PI. But are these clones any better or just copies of the original?
This article will compare and explore some critical differences between Banana PI and Raspberry PI.
Table of Contents
- Why Does the Raspberry PI Stand Out?
- A Brief History of Banana PI
- Banana PI vs. Raspberry PI: What’s the Difference?
- Why Choose Raspberry PI?
- Why Choose Banana PI?
- Final Verdict
Why Does the Raspberry PI Stand Out?
Raspberry PI up close
However, Raspberry PI quickly evolved into one of the most popular boards in various fields, like robotics, industry, and home automation.
Further, 2019 was a revolutionary year for Raspberry PI.
The PI foundation launched the Raspberry PI 4, introducing various hardware and performance improvements. The Raspberry PI 4 and its product line are among the most common and cost-effective SBCs on the market.
Further, you can use them for various DIY projects, like gaming projects, wireless doorbells, and secure password storage.
A Brief History of Banana PI
SBC on a toy car
Raspberry PI enjoyed colossal success in the industrial and consumer sectors, motivating other manufacturers. As a result, various clones started appearing in the market, like Sinovoip Co., Ltd’s Banana PI.
Banana PI constantly tries to outperform the Raspberry PI. However, Sinovoip bases the Banana PI’s hardware designs on its Raspberry counterparts, including a similar 40-pin GPIO connector.
Nevertheless, Banana PI has been around since 2014 and was one of the first SBCs to support SATA, allowing users to connect mass storage devices.
Despite being a clone, the board built a solid reputation for being straightforward and reliable.
Banana PI vs. Raspberry PI: What’s the Difference?
Banana PI and Raspberry PI are incredibly similar technologies. But the former is not a complete copy of the latter. Some factors make both boards different from each other.
So, let’s take a closer look.
Note: We’ll compare the Raspberry PI 4 to the Banana PI M5 for an even battle.
Raspberry PI 4s have an official starting price of $35, depending on the model or memory, while you can get the Banana PI for about $43.
However, the recent board shortage makes it impossible to find these boards at the stated cost.
Hence, you’ll have a higher chance of seeing them with third-party retailers for higher prices. For instance, the Raspberry PI 4’s 1-GB variant can cost as much as $100, and the price keeps increasing per RAM size.
On the other hand, the Banana PI M5 isn’t in high demand like its PI counterparts. So you may get them for less. You may even find a kit with a heat sink and compatible power supply for under $100.
Since the price depends on where you buy these boards, we can’t say which is cheaper. But you may get the Banana PI at a lower price.
Thermal performance is another crucial aspect to consider when choosing SBCs, and both boards have plenty to offer.
First, the Banana PI M5 runs on the ARM-55 processor, which handles power more efficiently than Raspberry PI 4’s A-72 Cortex.
As a result, the Banana PI M5 offers slightly more thermal performance than the Raspberry PI 4. Also, it presents fewer throttling issues, making it ideal for applications with heavy loads on tight casings.
Documentation, Support, and Community
Raspberry PI is widespread for its incredibly supportive community. In truth, the Raspberry PI Foundation provides helpful documentation for all devices.
In addition, you can find things like introductory guides and technical information for all Raspberry PI users, even beginners.
While the Banana PI M5 has a “Getting Started Guide,” it doesn’t come close to the Raspberry PI in terms of details.
Regardless, it provides handy information for configuring the Banana PI and installing an operating system.
In addition, both SBCs have communities offering online support. But the Raspberry PI community is more extensive and active than Banana PI.
As a result, you have a higher chance of getting solutions for any problems you may face.
Further, the Raspberry PI Foundation regularly provides bug fixes and updates for all its devices. You may not get frequent updates on the Banana PI, but vendor support is available.
Sadly, the Banana PI M5 doesn’t offer a buttload of connectivity options like the Raspberry PI 4. So, you can only get a Gigabit Ethernet Port without onboard Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. However, you can attach a USB dongle for wireless connectivity.
In contrast, Raspberry PIs come complete with onboard Wi-Fi Bluetooth. Hence, you’ll have free USB ports for other applications.
Memory and CPU Performance
You can get the Raspberry PI 4 in 1GB, 2 GB, 4 GB, and 8 GB models. In contrast, the Banana PI M5 only offers 4GB ram versions. Hence, PI takes the win for memory-intensive applications.
Note: Both boards provide enough memory for retro emulation, light surfing, and multimedia viewing.
Further, the Banana PI’s built-in eMMC storage provides impressive read/write speeds–faster than SD cards. This aspect gives the board an advantage over PI 4.
Nevertheless, the Raspberry PI 4 features a more powerful CPU. Although the Banana PI M5 is a better option than the Raspberry PI 3 B, it’s not a significant contender against the PI 4 in this regard.
|Specifications||Banana PI M5||Raspberry PI 4B|
|Power supply||5V at 3A through USB-C||5V DC through USB-C or GPIO header. Also, it can receive power over Ethernet (via PoE HAT).|
|Dimensions & weight||92mm x 60mm, 48g||85.6mm x 56.5 mm, 46g|
|Audio Output(s)||3.5 mm analog audio video (or digital via HDMI).||3.5 mm analog audio-video jack (or digital via HDMI).|
|Physical switches||U-boot, User, and Reset.||None.|
|Storage||You can get a 16 GB eMMC flash, supporting up to 64 GB. It also provides a microSD card slot.||No eMMC support. It only offers a microSD slot.|
|USB||This board offers 4 x USB 3.0 ports.||It provides 2x USB 3.0 ports and 2 x USB (2.0 ports).|
|Processor||Runs on an ARMv8.2-A (Amlogic S905X3 quad-core Cortex-A55 64-BIT @1.5GHz).||It runs on a Broadcom ARM v8 (BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 64-bit SoC @1.5GHz).|
|GPIO||You can access a GPIO header with (2 x 20 pins) and a pitch of around 2.54mm.||This board allows you to access a GPIO header (2 x 20 pins) and a pitch of about 2.54mm.|
|Video Output(s)||It offers an HDMI 2.1 port, supporting up to 4K@60Hz with CEC, HDR, and EDID.||Two micro-HDMI (2.0 ports), supporting up to 4k@60Hz.|
Why Choose Raspberry PI?
Raspberry PI offers the following advantages:
- Raspberry PI features a faster processor.
- The board comes with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
- You can get more support and numerous user guides.
- Raspberry PI is beginner friendly.
- Lastly, you can choose your preferred RAM variant.
Why Choose Banana PI?
The Banana PI is not without its benefits. Here are a few:
- Banana PI offers 16GB eMMC memory.
- You can enjoy more thermal efficiency.
- This board is ideal for experienced users.
- It may be more affordable than the Raspberry PI.
The Raspberry PI is a staple in the programming and computing world. It’s incredibly beginner friendly with an active and growing community. Also, it’s easy to get resources that will help you understand how it works and its usage.
On the other hand, the Banana PI M5 is an excellent option if you have experience with SBCs, know how to use GPIO headers, and your projects require specific features only on the board.
We hope that helps you make your decision on which one to get. Do you have more questions? Reach us, and we’ll gladly assist.