Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The BeagleBone Black looks pretty nice!

Many of our readers who like to build their own gadgets enjoyed the article that I wrote last year describing the advantages and reasons to use the Arduino, Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone for your projects (In fact I'm happy to report that it was picked up and reposted by Make Magazine - cool!).  Each of these gadgets has its place, and we use all three here at Digital Diner.
Today things space changed a bit in this space.  The new BeagleBone Black development board was announced.  It is a significant upgrade from the previous BeagleBone for half the price ($45).  In particular, it now includes a 1GHz processor, HDMI video output, 512MB RAM and 2GB of built in flash storage all for $45.  

The addition of video output (HDMI) makes it much more directly comparable to the Raspberry Pi.  From a specifications perspective, it seems to beat the Raspberry Pi on almost all fronts with the exception of price.  Even that is too close to call though since the Raspberry Pi requires that you buy and external SSD card which will eat into the $10 difference in price.  The new BeagleBone includes 2GB of onboard flash storage so no SSD card should be required.  At this point, for pure performance, the BeagleBone Black looks pretty sweet.  Still, the Raspberry Pi has a vibrant community that may be difficult to match for a while if you are looking lots of example code and sample projects.  BOttom line is that its hard to go wrong because both platforms are great, so we all win.

For more info see BagleBone Black web page, or the articles here and here.

I've attempted to update the chart from my original article below.  BeagleBone Black is the last column:

Name Arduino Uno Raspberry Pi Raspberry Pi BeagleBone BeagleBone
Model Tested R3 Model B rev1 Model B rev2 Rev A5 Black
Price $29.95 $35.00 $35.00 $89.00 $45.00
Size 2.95”x2.10” 3.37”x2.125” 3.37”x2.125” 3.4”x2.1” 3.4”x2.1”
Processor ATMega 328 ARM11 ARM11 ARM Cortex-A8 ARM Cortex-A8
Clock Speed 16MHz 700MHz 700MHz 700MHz 1GHz
RAM 2KB 256MB 512MB 256MB 512MB
Flash 32KB (SD Card) (SD Card) 4GB(microSD) 2GB +microSD

Input Voltage 7-12v 5v 5v 5v 5v
3.5W (700mA) 3.5W (700mA) 1.5-2.5W (300-500mA) 1-2.3W (210-460mA)
Digital GPIO 14 8 8 66 65
Analog Input 6 10-bit N/A N/A 6 12-bit 7 12-bit (1.8V)

TWI/I2C 2 1 1
SPI yes 1 1
UART 1 1 1 6 3
OS Arduino Bootloader Linux Linux Angstrom, Ubuntu, Android, QNX Angstrom, Ubuntu, Android, QNX
Dev IDE Arduino Tool IDLE, Scratch, Squeak/Linux IDLE, Scratch, Squeak/Linux Cloud9/Linux Cloud9/Linux
Ethernet N/A 10/100 10/100 10/100 10/100
USB Master 0 2 USB 2.0 2 USB 2.0 1 USB 2.0 1 USB 2.0
GPU N/A VideoCore IV VideoCore IV N/A SGX530
Video Out N/A HDMI, Composite HDMI, Composite N/A HDMI
Audio Output N/A HDMI, Analog HDMI, Analog N/A HDMI