New revision of BeagleBone Black takes on Raspberry Pi by dropping price to just $45

April 23, 2013

BeagleBone BlackThe Raspberry Pi has created a mini-revolution amongĀ enthusiasts,Ā hobbyistsĀ and those keen on learning programming and hardware design. But the $35 Raspberry Pi is now facing some stiff competition from theĀ BeagleBone Black. The latest revision of theĀ Beagle single board computer (SBC) is now available for just $45. The extra $10 compared to the Raspberry Pi gets you some worth while upgrades.

First the CPU. TheĀ Ā BeagleBone Black uses theĀ Sitara ARM Cortex-A8 from Texas Instruments clocked at 1GHz. This is a majorĀ improvementĀ over the Raspberry Pi which is using an ARM11 based CPU from Broadcom clocked at just 700MHz. The ARM11 is an older ARMĀ architectureĀ and LinuxĀ distributionsĀ like Fedora Core only support it withĀ specialĀ rebuilds. The Cortex-A8 core used in theĀ BeagleBone Black is more mainstream and supported out-of-the-box inĀ distributionsĀ like Fedora Core.

However your extra $10 also gets you 2GB of on-board flash and a microSD card reader. Although the Raspberry Pi also includes a SD card reader, a SD card isn’t included in the $35 and without one you can’t use the Pi. But theĀ BeagleBone Black comes preloaded with Angstrom Linux allowing the microSD slot to be used for additional storage. Ā Of course you can still boot off the microSD card if you want to run a different OS. There are also other ‘hidden’ costs for the Raspberry Pi including the need to buy a USB cable for the power, something that is included in the price of theĀ BeagleBone Black.

The new board supports Android (code namedĀ rowboat)Ā as well as various LinuxĀ flavorsĀ like Ubuntu, openSUSE andĀ Ć…ngstrƶm. The new board also supports other OSes such as FreeBSD, QNX, and Windows Embedded!

Previous versions of theĀ BeagleBone cost $89 and upwards, but the good news is that theĀ BeagleBone Black has managed to secure some large orders from its distributors and as a result of volume pricing it will beĀ availableĀ in May at the new $45 price tag.