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Is Banana Pi a "Clone" of Raspberry Pi?

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Raymond  

Many bloggers and forums are talking about Banana Pi is competing Raspberry Pi.  Even more, some subjects of blog post said Banana Pi is a "Clone" of Raspberry Pi board.


By my viewpoint, this is not a simple "Clone" case , but Banana Pi could have more capability than Raspberry Pi.  The points are as below.


1. The main SoC chip is different.  Raspberry Pi has Broadcom ARM11 core, Banana Pi has Allwinner ARM Cortex-A7 dual cores.  The ARM architecture makes the major differences.  Suppose Banana Pi could have more features enabling by ARM v7 architecture and compatible to run applications on ARMv6.


2. The physical size of both Pi boards are slightly different.  Be careful! Current box of Raspberry Pi can NOT fit with Banana Pi.


3. The hardware components of Banana Pi are added or changed than Raspberry Pi obviously.  For example, Banana Pi have on-board micphone in,  SATA connector, IR receiver, OTG connector, power switch, reset switch.  Those components are not available on Raspberry Pi.


4. The connectors of LCD LVDS interface and Camera interface on Banana Pi are different to Raspberry Pi.  That means current Raspberry Pi camera module can NOT apply onto Banana Pi.   In addition, Banana Pi may have change to connect external LVDS display which Raspberry Pi never enable its DSI connector.


In summary, Banana Pi have more hardware-wise capability than Raspberry Pi.  Banana Pi guys also need to pay some time to porting different OS distribution based on Allwinner SoC.  It is not a clone of Raspberry obviously by my viewpoints.  However, Banana Pi has less technical support and less documentation for early users.  Believe that may take longer time to be wide adapted.

Reply 1# Raymond


I am very agree with you!

Wonder  
Reply 1# Raymond

Really good analysis!

If there is a competition it is in the micro computer, sub $100, race.
At the prices of the Raspberry Pi and Banana Pi the ability to have many computers to do task specific a long list of specific things is now possible. From making Beer to being a low power low cost web server. These micro computers are key. (I use the word micro loosely here because many are much more powerful that computers were some years ago. )

Why the Banana Pi works for me it filled the gap of missing items that the Raspberry Pi did not have.
Sata port. Good to have onboard.
Gigabit ethernet. It comes with
Faster dual core cpu and
More Ram. (fact is I wish it had 2GB of ram)
Also the Banana Pi runs multiple OS's such as Android, another key for me, which runs thousands of applications.

The upside is its a Raspberry Pi in the sense of being a low cost micro computer only. The Banana Pi has broadened the scope of this kind of device with the additional hardware capability and its just getting started.   



The downside is as Raymond mentioned its not completely compatible with the Raspberry Pi even though it runs the OS.

The LCD LVDS interface and
Camera interface on Banana Pi are different.
This can cause a headache.

Maybe someone can talk to why they chose these to be different and is there any advantage with them being different? Is there other hardware we can now use to do the
same thing as the Pi with these ports?

Raymond  
Reply 4# ChicagoBob

Actually I never have seen the DSI connector enabled a display of RPi.  For Allwinner A20 chip mainly target for tablet product, it can use common LVDS interface of LCD display and also connect to I2C/SPI interface of Touch panel.   Based on this point, personally I guess this is the main reason why the BPi team changed the DSI connector to common used 40-pins FPC connector.

In addition, for CSI connector, the reason I guess is the A20 chip doesnot have MIPI interface of camera.  So the BPi team change the interface to parallel interface of camera module.  So maybe someone is making the camera module for BPi with the same CMOS sensor of OV5647 5M-pixel  module.  (Because OV5647 can support both MIPI and parallel interfaces.)

Thanks Raymond great explanation! Far as connecting to a panel does you can hook up the 1602 LCD Display directly ?  Or you can hook up a http://www.rakuten.com/prod/17-1 ... Vq1KdwafITYp6PD_BwE

Not sure what I would do with that since you have the composite /HDMI output. But it is interesting. I think many things can be headless since a huge amount of people have a cell phone and can talk to things with that.
Anyway its pretty cool.

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