13 Best Single Board Computers in 2019

Single board computers, also known as SBCs, have come a long way since the days of the first Raspberry Pi. There’s now a single board computer for nearly every occasion. Some are tiny and less expensive than most domestic shipping options, while others are surprisingly powerful and suitable for use as home entertainment systems.

ProductBrandNamePrice
LoveRPiLoveRPi Raspberry Pi 3 Model B 2016 Single Board ComputerBuy on Amazon|$37.99(Price as of 08/20/2019 22:59 ET)
CanaKitCanaKit Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) Complete Starter KitBuy on Amazon|$32.99(Price as of 08/20/2019 22:59 ET)
ODROIDODROID-XU4 Single Board ComputerBuy on Amazon|$89.95(Price as of 08/20/2019 22:59 ET)
ASUSASUS SBC Tinker boardBuy on Amazon|$63.69(Price as of 08/20/2019 22:59 ET)
Arduino Industrial 101Check Price on Amazon

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Of course, there’s also no shortage of single board computers that don’t have what it takes to capture the imagination of tinkers, hackers, developers, and computer enthusiasts in general. To help you avoid single board computers without future and nudge you in the direction of some of the most popular single board computers on the market, we’ve prepared this list of the top thirteen best single board computers in 2019. So, without further ado, here they are:

NVIDIA Jetson TX2 Development Kit

The NVIDIA Jetson TX2 Development Kit comes up first on our list. This one is actually different than many single board computers on the market right now, because it’s actually designed for playing around with AI and deep learning. Not many other single boards are capable of that, and so, this is one of the more expensive choices on the market today.

It’s not user friendly, and it’s certainly not for beginners, so if that’s what you’re after, you might want to try something like the Raspberry Pi instead. But, if you want to learn how to train your own deep learning net, this is the tool to use. It’s a little pricier, but it has some excellent hardware inside — NVIDIA’s AI-baed Jetson TX2 module with NVIDIA Pascal GPU, ARM 128-bit CPUs, 8 GB LPDDR4, 32 GB eMMC, and, of course, it’s Wi-Fi ready.

LoveRPi Raspberry Pi 3 B+

Next up, we’re looking at the Raspberry Pi 3 B+, developed by LoveRPi. The Raspberry Pi has been around a long time, but this one has some special components that help keep the LoveRPi’s model running for a long time.

Other than that, the single-board computer has a 1.4GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, 1GB of RAM, and a Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU. It co,es with four USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an HDMI port, and even a 3.5mm audio jack. There’s so much more that, too.

The processor itself supports 64-bit, but can work with compatible 32-bit operating systems, such as Raspbian.

LattePanda

Next up, we’ve got LattePanda. LattePanda is a little different than many of the single-board computers on our list, actually operating on a Windows 10 development platform. It comes with a Windows 10 OEM activation key, so that’s something you don’t have to buy in addition to the board.

The LattePanda is actually really expansive, coming with a USB 3.0 port, and two USB ports. There is onboard Wi-Fi 802.11n (2.4GHz), and actually supports Bluetooth 4.0.

The Windows 10 Development Platform can be a little difficult to start out on, but this affordable single-board PC is a great way to get you started.

Since this one comes with Windows 10 already installed, you’re able to run powerful tools right out of the box, including Visual Studio, NodeJS, Java, Processing, etc.

BeagleBoard PocketBeagle

Next up, we’re looking at the BeagleBoard PocketBeagle. This single board computer is a rather unique one — it’s super tiny, acting as a USB key fob computer. It’s all open source, running off of the Linux environment. Because of that, there’s a lot that you can do with this board — people have built health monitors, remote controls, and so much more with this computer.

This one features a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, and there’s a whole 512MB of DDR3 RAM inside. That said, it’s a powerful little machine, for which there are endless projects. You can get some ideas from here. But if you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, get started with the PocketBeagle here.

Rock64 Single Board PC

Along the same lines as the PocketBeagle, we have the credit card sizes Rock64 Single Board PC. It’s powered by the Rockchip RK3328 Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit Processor, and there’s actually support for a whopping 4GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 memory. It provides an eMMC module socket, microSD card slot, and there’s even USB 3.0 support.

There are various operating systems available for the Rock64, all from the open source community. There are variations from numerous Linux distributions, Android,  BSD, and much more. Get yours here.

Arduino Mega 2560

Next up, we’re looking at the Arduino Mega 2560. This one is similar to a lot of different Arduino boards out there, but the Mega 2560 is designed to handle some of the more ambitious projects out there. It features more memory and pins to give you better performance. This one in particular is based on an 8-bit AVR microcontroller ATmega2560 — there are 54 digital I/O pins, 16 analog inputs and a larger space for your sketches.

BBC micro:bit

The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized programmable computer. It features an integrated motion sensor, magentometer (compass), LED display and even Bluetooth. This one is fairly unique because the micro:bit is able to connect to other single board computers, such as the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Kano, Galileo and littleBits.

It’s not nearly as powerful as many other single board computers out there, but it still accomplishes its goal — a low-cost option as a way to introduce young learners on how to code.

Libre Renegade Computer Board

If you’re looking for a sub $50 single board computer to setup a Network Area Storage, a file server, or something else, the Libre Renegade Computer Board will be right up your alley.

This one actually has some powerful hardware inside. It’s got a quad 64-bit 1.4GHz ARM Cortex-A53 Processor, a 4K Ultra HD ARM Mali-450 GPU, and 2GB of DDR4 RAM. This one is actually 40% faster than the Raspberry Pi. Libre’s Renegade computer even comes equipped with quick Gigabit Ethernet, which you won’t find in many places today. You can easily turn this into a NAS, Kubernetes cluster, file server, wire speed encrypted router/VPN, and more! The sky is your limit in creativity here.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

The original Raspberry Pi, released in 2012, is the single board computer that has started it all. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is a worthy successor and a proud carrier of Pi’s legacy. It features the BCM2837 CPU from Broadcom running at 1.2 GHz. The chip has a powerful integrated GPU called Videocore IV, clocked at 400 MHz.

Present is also 1 GB of memory, the BCM43438 wireless LAN and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) chip, 40-pin extended GPIO, four USB 2.0 ports, a 4-pole stereo output and composite video port, a full-size HDMI, a CSI camera port, a DSI display port, and a microSD port for operating system and data.

Yes, there are more powerful single board computers that cost just as much, if not less, than the Pi 3 Model B, but none are surrounded by such large and active community as this tasty board. This alone is what makes the Pi 3 Model B the best single board computer for beginners. When you also consider just how much third-party hardware accessories and software tools there are for the Pi 3 Model B and other members of the Raspberry family, it becomes obvious why we’ve picked this board as our favorite.

Raspberry Pi Zero W

The Raspberry Pi Zero W board extends the functionality of the Pi Zero board with wireless LAN and Bluetooth connectivity. In many ways, it’s the ideal single board computer for the Internet of Things era. Considering its tiny size, you might be surprised to find out that it comes with the Broadcom BCM2835 CPU clocked at 1 GHz and 512 MB LPDDR2 SDRAM.

Its cost? Around $5. That’s right, for the price of a fast food burger, you can have an incredibly versatile, Wi-Fi-enabled single board computer that stands on the shoulders of the most active and helpful community of single board computer enthusiasts in existence.

The Raspberry Pi Zero W measures only 6.5 cm × 3cm × 0.5cm, and it consumes so little energy that even a moderately large battery pack can keep it running for a very long time. Throw into the mix a decent solar panel, and you’re looking at a potential weather station, a smart GPS tracker, or perhaps your own robot. If these ideas sound too far-fetched to you, just take a look at some of the tutorials prepared by the Pi community to see for yourself how easy it is to start working on fairly complex projects with the Pi Zero.

ODROID-XU4

If you find single board computers interesting for their potential to function as inexpensive replacements for regular desktop computers and home theater PCs, then you’ll love the ODROID-XU4. Even though this board doesn’t cost much more than the Raspberry Pi 3, it features the mighty Samsung Exynos 5422 Cortex-A15 octa-core GPU clocked at 2 GHz and the Mali-T628 MP6 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.1 and OpenCL 1.2. ODROID-XU4 also has 2 GB of memory, two USB 3.0 ports, one gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI 1.4a for display, and the board even comes with an active cooler and a power adapter.

The board can run the latest version of Ubuntu, Android 4.4 KitKat, 5.0 Lollipop, and 7.1 Nougat, giving you plenty of options how to turn it into a full-fledged computer or a handy backup device. When placed inside a nice case, ODROID-XU4 can also be a fantastic first computer for a young child, especially with the Android operating system.

ASUS Tinker Board

Just like ODROID-XU4, ASUS Tinker Board can be used as a daily computer with more than enough power for basic image editing, Full HD video streaming, web browsing, music listening, and even some casual gaming. The board features the Rockchip RK3288, which is a modern quad-core ARM-based processor that you can find inside many Chinese tablets and multimedia players. With 2 GB of memory and the Mali-T764 GPU, the board can play HD and UHD video at 30 fps with the included media player with support for hardware acceleration.

To further establish the ASUS Tinker Board as an excellent home multimedia center, it comes with one key feature that you won’t find on nearly any other SBC: an HD codec that supports up to 24-bit/192kHz audio. But the Tinker Board isn’t all about fun and games, well, depending on your idea of fun. The board also includes a 40-pin GPIO interface, a gigabit LAN connection, a DSI MIPI connection for displays and touchscreens, and a CSI MIPI connection for connection to compatible cameras, making it great for the Internet of Things.

Arduino Industrial 101

Just like the Arduino YUN, the Arduino Industrial 101 integrates an ATmega32U4 and an Atheros AR9331 with Wi-Fi and Linino OS. The board has 3 GPIOs, 4 analog inputs, 1 USB port, 1 row of Ethernet signal on pin headers, and a built-in DC/DC converter that requires 5 V at around 130 mA. This curious board is perfect for compact applications written in C, Python, or other supported languages that require more processing power, storage, and better connectivity than what most micro controllers can offer. The setup of the Arduino Industrial 101 board is no more complicated than the setup of any other Arduino board, requiring only a few simple steps. A board like this is really all you need to develop sophisticated, connected real-time applications that solve real problems and could one day evolve into marketable products.

ProductBrandNamePrice
LoveRPiLoveRPi Raspberry Pi 3 Model B 2016 Single Board ComputerBuy on Amazon|$37.99(Price as of 08/20/2019 22:59 ET)
CanaKitCanaKit Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) Complete Starter KitBuy on Amazon|$32.99(Price as of 08/20/2019 22:59 ET)
ODROIDODROID-XU4 Single Board ComputerBuy on Amazon|$89.95(Price as of 08/20/2019 22:59 ET)
ASUSASUS SBC Tinker boardBuy on Amazon|$63.69(Price as of 08/20/2019 22:59 ET)
Arduino Industrial 101Check Price on Amazon

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Verdict

As you can see, there are a lot of single board computers on the market right now. That makes it difficult to differentiate what one single board computer is for over another; however all of them have their own unique purposes. If you want to work with more robotics type hardware, you’ll definitely want to go for something like the Arduino, as it can do more.

If you’re just wanted to play around with your own system, or maybe setup your own Plex server, you’ll want to go with the classic Raspberry Pi. It’s perfect for the hobbyist!

What single board computer are you planning on picking up? Sound off in the comments section below!