Single board computer

I’ve read here on the forum RPIs are quite expensive in different countries and I noticed yesterday prices are still high here in Brazil
And it seems RPI ecosystem got complex with different boards and OS
So what are you recommending those days for single board computer?

How about your experience with Rock Pi @StaffanMelin @timchi @pandereto ?
Ah and did you use any Risc-V boards?


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Hey @dimitre I’ve only used the Pi3 and PiZeroW. I haven’t tried the Pi4 yet, and it does seem like they’re still difficult to find. I do love the idea of a risc-v board, and I think some have been released and maybe some others are proposed or in development. So it would be fun to get one at some point and give it a try. Raspbian is OK for me, and I use it on the Pis. I’m not a big fan of ubuntu, but I like debian and that would be a fine alternative.


Hi @dimitre and thanks for asking!

I had a lot of trouble getting things working the way I wanted with the RockPi4 but as you saw I documented the steps getting the latest Debian and oF working and then things are working great! I think the audio out is not bad, too. I think the RockPi4 is slightly faster than the RaspPi4 but that is just by reading the specs.

Still, they are pretty slow. I am more and more leaning towards using old rescued laptops for my projects, rather than putting hours into making things work on ARM etc. And the future of ARM is not looking too bright in my opinion.

I understand this might not be the case for other countries, but at least in Sweden (where I live) people use and expect the latest and greatest, meaning
a) people are spoiled and not environtmentally conscious
b) I can find abandoned hardware pretty easily

I rather attach a cheap Arduino to get I/O.

Thanks to free software/open source hardware can live a much longer life. I put Debian on everything I can get my hands on.

Sorry if I am digressing.

I think RiscV is very interesting and plan to try out this open architecture soon I hope. Seeed and Beaglebone have some interesting stuff coming out and at a pricepoint that makes the RPi stuff less and less interesting.

My 5 cents.


I used a 3288 jetway board for several projects, i tried to make oF works on a RK3399 but was not able to make it work, mainly because board i have comes with a very limited linaro installation and no instructions on how to flash another os… :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Nvidia boards works great but also expensive, i was forced to get some pi3… and have to pay 138usd each!!! Raspberry is great but supply chain is crazy so personally dont intend to use those anymore if not strictly need.

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thanks you all for the detailed answer.
I myself used PI3B+ with OF in installations, without X it was a great setup!
About 4B I’ve tested a while but everything was more difficult, OF, HDMI ports, heating issues, and now pricing, so it is not the attractive thing anymore.

@StaffanMelin I’m curious about your thoughts about ARM future.

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Yes @StaffanMelin me too regarding your thoughts on ARM. Also I LOVE that you put linux on old laptops! It is really gratifying to do that. Dell seems to have a reputation for compatibility with linux. Are there any brands of older hardware that you’ve found difficult? or ones that you prefer?

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Here is a sweet story. In my apartment block we have a recycling/trash room, with a large used electronics bin. One day there was a Mac laptop (Air I think it is called, all metal shell). Opening the lid, it displayed a failed reinstallation of the Apple OS, so obviously someone threw it away because of this. So I took it home, installed Debian/Xfce on it and now it is my daughters school computer. Excellent hardware got a new life!

@TimChi: Lenovo and Dell works all the time. Asus has been more problematic (incompatible WIFI chip sets). My only real failure was a stationary comp with a Gigabyte motherboard. But the success ratio is something like 40:1. My main laptop is an old office Dell with a core i7 that i bought used for like 110 euros (the same in USD), now running Debian like a dream.

Regarding ARM my comments were partly based on the old news that nvidia was going to buy the company. Capitalism often leads to monopoly. But I think the deal fell through.

Also, working with different architectures is sometimes like learning a whole new platform, and I don’t have the time for that.

That is why the free RISC V platform sounds so interesting. i just read about a new SBC from Pine64 a truly interesting company that have just set up a webshop in the EU.

The thought of having free hardware running free software is awesome. In these depressing times there are at least some things that seem progressive, creative and useful.

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I’ve been using the (Risc-V) Kendryte K210 for some embedded apps (with cam and display) and it is super fast. I wonder how can it perform on a single board computer.
Seems quite promising. I’ve already seen some risc-v boards on taobao or aliexpress but not sure if the software part is already ok.

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I used a K210… i like that one, only problem i see is the crazy documentation

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