Jetson Nano vs. Raspberry PI is among the most popular single-board computer debates ever.
And shortly after the Jetson Nano graced the tech world, the Raspberry PI 4 entered the market. So, it seemed like it would give the Nano a run for its money.
While comparing the new Raspberry PI’s Cortex-A72 design to the Jetson Nano’s slightly older variant feels unfair, newer doesn’t always mean better.
So, this article will explore the differences between these SBCs and see how well the Nano fairs against the mighty PI today.
Are you ready? Let’s go.
Table of Contents
- A Brief Look into the Raspberry Pi 4
- The Jetson Nano’s Timeline
- Comparison Of The Specifications
- What’s the Common Ground?
- What’s the Big Difference?
- Is The Nvidia Nano Better Than The Raspberry PI 4?
- Which is a Better Linux PC?
- Rounding Up
A Brief Look into the Raspberry Pi 4
Raspberry PI board
Raspberry PI flooded the tech market in 2012, allowing developers to dive into the heart of a computer.
All developers had to do was set up an operating system, connect some wires, and directly link some circuits to the board’s pins.
In truth, PI boards started as innovative methods to groom young people on programming and physical computing.
But hobbyists picked up the trend quickly, leading to many model and clone releases.
The Raspberry PI 4 was released in June 2019 and has remained a standard ever since.
Although many models have come after it, the 4 is still going strong as an average developer’s favorite.
The Jetson Nano’s Timeline
In contrast, Nvidia (the Jetson Nano’s creator) has been in the AI computer game for decades.
Unfortunately, although they’ve been producing excellent systems, such releases were out of reach for most project makers.
But that changed with the Jetson Nano’s release in March 2019, a few months before the famous Raspberry PI 4. What’s more? You can get two versions of the Jetson Nano: the 2 GB and 4 GB developer kits.
Also, Jetson Nano evolved into one of the most popular single-board computers–with enough power to go toe to toe with Raspberry PI.
In addition, most developers seemed to love its full suite of ports and 40 GPIO pins packed into a relatively compact build.
Comparison Of The Specifications
Raspberry PI 4 and Jetson Nano may have similar technologies but are still different SBCs. Let’s explore these differences.
Raspberry PI 4 utilizes a Broadcom BCM2711 system-on-chip. And the board runs on an impressive 1.5GHZ quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 CPU.
On the other hand, the Jetson Nano runs on a somewhat older processor. So, it uses a quad-core ARM Cortex-A57 64-bit @ 1.43 GHZ.
The Jetson Nano presents two models according to memory. In other words, you can purchase the kit with a 4 GB LPDDR4 variant or the 2 GB alternative.
Meanwhile, Raspberry PI 4 offers four memory versions, including 1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB, and 8 GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM.
The Jetson Nano’s 4 GB model supports M.2 Key E for Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet. Also, the 2 GB variant supports similar hardware but with something extra.
It offers a USB 802.11ac wireless adapter, depending on your region.
In contrast, the Raspberry PI 4 only supports Gigabit Ethernet. However, it features built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi functionality.
Jetson Nano vs. Raspberry PI: Display
The Raspberry PI 4 allows you to enjoy a 4K 60 fps display with dual screen functionality via two micro-HDMI ports.
But the Jetson Nanon 4 GB supports DisplayPort 9 (eDP 1.4) and HDMI 2.0. Also, the 2 GB model only offers HDMI 2.0.
Jetson Nano vs. Raspberry PI: Operating Systems
Raspberry PI base operating system is Raspberry PI OS (previously known as Raspbian). However, you can experiment with other OS like RetroPie, Ubuntu, OSMC, and other third-party images.
Contrarily, Jetson Nano uses an official operating system called the Linux4Tegra.
What’s more? Nvidia bases the OS on Ubuntu 18.04 and makes it available on the included SD card image.
Note: The manufacturers designed the SD card image to run on Nvidia hardware.
Jetson Nano vs. Raspberry PI: I/O
Jetson Nano’s I/O specifications differ according to the memory variant. For example, the 4 GB version has four USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 Micro-B port, a DisplayPort, 40 GPIO pins, two MIPI CSI-2 DPHY lanes, and an HDMI 2.0 port.
On the other hand, the 2 GB model provides one USB 3.0 port, a MIPI CSI-2 D-PHY lane, one USB 2.0 Micro-B port, an HDMI 2.0 port, and two USB 2.0 ports.
In contrast, the Raspberry PI 4 features two USB 2.0 ports, 40 GPIO pins, a 3.5-mm analog audio-video jack, four USB 3.0 ports, a Display Serial Interface (DSI), Camera Serial Interface (CSI), and a USB C port for power.
Like the Jetson Nano, Raspberry PI 4 offers different prices according to memory. For instance, while you can get 1 GB and 2 GB variants for around $35, the 4 GB model costs around $55. And the 8 GB version costs up to $75.
But the unfortunate chip shortage plaguing the electronics industry makes finding PI 4 at the above prices impossible. So, you’ll find them for 1 GB ($100), 2 GB ($125), 4 GB ($150), and 8 GB ($190).
Similarly, the Jetson Nano costs around $100 for the 4 GB version and $60 for the 2 GB kit. But the current circumstances have increased prices to $295 (4 GB) and $280 (2 GB).
What’s the Common Ground?
Scanning over the specifications, you can see many similarities between these boards. For instance, both have 40 GPIO pins, Ethernet support, and Linux-based operating systems.
What’s more? You can use the PI-exclusive Pimoroni Rainbow HAT on the Jetson Nano. But you’ll need some tweaking, like adjusting the example scripts. Also, the Jetson Nano can accommodate existing Raspberry PI accessories.
In addition, you can use the Jetson Nano and Raspberry PI for general computing, like text editing, robotics, and interfacing with sensors.
But the Jetson Nano’s small form factor makes it better for autonomous and robotics vehicle applications.
However, that doesn’t mean the Raspberry PI is not great for robotics. You can find the PI board in similar projects, like the GoPiG03.
Regarding operating systems, both boards can run Ubuntu. In addition, you can run LibreOffice, Visual Studio Code, Chromium, and others for general-purpose software.
What’s the Big Difference?
Although Jetson Nano and Raspberry PI have similar primary features, you can find one glaring difference.
And the most significant distinction is in both boards’ graphics capabilities, especially their GPU.
GPUs are not new technologies. They’ve been around since the 1970s for early gaming applications.
However, modern technology delivers more advanced variants to handle the most graphic-intensive tasks.
On this note, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano provides a 128-core Maxwell GPU at 921 MHz. Based on comparisons, Jetson Nano offers a more powerful CPU than the Raspberry PI, making it ideal for ML (Machine Learning) and AI applications.
Is The Nvidia Nano Better Than The Raspberry PI 4?
First, Jetson Nano is more expensive than the Raspberry PI 4. As a result, the PI offers a better (and cost-effective) board for day-to-day computing activities and embedded projects.
However, Jetson Nano becomes a better option if applications require high GPU usage or involve AI or Machine Learning (ML).
Which is a Better Linux PC?
Raspberry PI offers a better value for a Linux PC at 8GB and 4GB RAM. Also, you’ll get a lot of USB 3.0 ports with Integrated WiFi, Bluetooth, and Dual Monitor Configuration.
Raspberry PI 4 and Jetson Nano are great options for most general-purpose computer applications. However, the Raspberry PI 4 is more popular, especially for beginners.
Also, it offers a reliable SBC with open-source designs, hundreds of available accessories (from the Raspberry PI foundation), and a supportive community.
Although it doesn’t offer some of Raspberry PI’s benefits, like dual-monitor support, the Jetson Nano provides a more powerful GPU, making it the best for AI and Machine Learning applications.
Do you have more questions? Please, contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.