Users today have an incredibly diverse range of options when it comes to computing devices. With hardware options ranging from custom-built, high-performance towers down to computing boards that can fit in a pocket, there is no limit to technology customization. While most companies continue on advancing PC tower and laptop technology, a select few have created and been successful in selling single-board computers (SBCs). Single-board computers are low-cost, basic computing modules that are popular in education, computer control, and systems development. Today, only two products account for the vast majority of SBC sales, Raspberry Pi and Arduino parts, and while these SBCs share many design features, they also have differentiating characteristics that set them apart. In this blog, we will further discuss these two devices and highlight some of their key differences.
Although early Raspberry Pi designs date back to 2006, the producing foundation did not release the first model until 2012. The original Raspberry Pi models were both under $35 but offered limited capability. Since then, the foundation has continued to improve upon technology while staying true to its low-cost roots. The current model of Raspberry Pi is the 4 Model B. It features a 64-bit quad-core processor with up to 8GB of memory on just an 85.6mm*56.55mm board. One of the initial criticisms of the board was its lack of audio and visual support, although the current model features micro HDMI ports with up to 4Kp60 capabilities, as well as a 4-pole stereo audio port.
Arduino has a broader range of products with a uniformly higher price point than Raspberry Pi, but the company's most powerful device is the Portena X8. The X8, with its dense architecture, fits an impressive 9 cores in a 66.04m*25.40mm board. It also features impressive connectivity, with USB-C compatibility, and a 1Gbit Ethernet interface. Capable of leveraging both the native Arduino and Linux ecosystems, the X8 can function as an independent computer or be integrated into an existing framework with ease.
Although the two systems have several significant differences, the logical place to start is with their application. For any applications that must run multiple programs at a time, Raspberry Pi would typically make the most sense since most of their models operate as full functioning computers. Arduino, on the other hand, mostly offers boards that are best integrated into a bigger system or for independent projects requiring little complex coding. The next consideration is the operating system which is important to evaluate for application compatibility. The Raspberry Pi system runs a Linux-based open-source OS, whereas most besides the newest Arduino systems have no operating system at all.
As for hardware characteristics, it is important to compare the storage capacity and power supply of the two brands. Raspberry Pi devices do not come with SRAM but instead rely upon SD cards for booting, whereas most Arduino boards come with built-in flash memory. Although both products are considered low-power by any conventional standards, the Arduino modules tend to run longer on battery power, while Raspberry Pi applications typically demand the device be plugged into a power supply.
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