Raspberry Pi Vs Banana Pi: What’s The Difference?

When it comes to single-board computers, the Raspberry Pi and Banana Pi are two of the most popular options available. But what sets these miniature machines apart?

In our in-depth guide, we’ll examine the significant differences between the Raspberry Pi 4 and Banana Pi M5, covering everything from performance to connectivity. Our analysis will provide you with the insights you need to choose the right single-board computer for your specific needs, and we’ll also be exploring important considerations like compatibility and support.

Don’t miss out on this informative guide to two of the most popular single-board computers on the market.

Raspberry Pi Vs Banana Pi: What's The Difference?

Raspberry Pi 4 Or Banana Pi M5- Which One Is Right For You?

The Raspberry Pi and Banana Pi both have their strengths and weaknesses. One of the most significant hardware differences between the two is that the Banana Pi M5 does noy come with Bluetooth or WiFi. Depending on your planned usage, this may or may not be an issue.

In addition, when it comes to straight computational ability the Banana Pi has a slight edge over the Raspberry Pi, making it a better choice for applications that require more processing power.

On the other hand, the Raspberry Pi has a more robust ecosystem and better community support, which makes it an excellent choice for those who are just starting out with single-board computers. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has an extensive community of developers and enthusiasts who are constantly creating new projects and sharing their knowledge with others.

When it comes down to it, the question of Raspberry Pi VS Banana Pi depends on your specific needs and use cases. If you need more processing power, the Banana Pi may be the better choice, but if you value community support, a vast ecosystem, and in-built WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity, the Raspberry Pi 4 may be the way to go.

Whichever path you choose to go down, both the Raspberry Pi 4and Banana Pi M5 are excellent options for anyone looking to experiment with single-board computers and build their own projects.

Key Points

  • The Banana Pi M5 Has Four USB 3.0 Ports
    The Raspberry Pi has only two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports.
  • The Banana Pi M5 Has A SATA Port
    Raspberry Pi, on the other hand, uses a USB and MicroSD. The Banana Pi using a SATA port means that the device is much faster when it comes to connecting various mass storage devices – such as hard drives. 
  • The Banana Pi M5 Is Fully Android Compatible
    You can use Banana Pi well with an Android operating system, but not Raspberry Pi. Raspberry does have Google support, but there are noticeable issues regarding full Android compatibility. 
  • The Raspberry Pi 4 Has a More Advanced Video Processor
    You will get to enjoy a more advanced video processor in the Raspberry Pi compared to the Banana Pi, as the latter uses Mail GPU. If your project involves high-quality media, the Raspberry Pi would be the right choice.
  • The Raspberry Pi Has The Largest Following
    One of the main reasons why the Raspberry Pi has become so popular is because it has the largest following of any single-board computer. This means that there is a vast community of enthusiasts and developers who are constantly working on new projects, sharing information, and providing support to one another.
  • There Are Countless Tutorials And Guides Available For The Raspberry Pi
    This issue follows from the previous one – there are far fewer tutorials and guides available for anyone who is using Banana Pi. For Raspberry, however, there are countless guides, tutorials, videos, articles, and much more ready to help anyone who needs it. 
  • Raspberry Pi 4 Stores Data On An External Micro SD Card
    The Banana Pi has up to 16GB eMMC onboard storage in addition to external storage. Onboard storage will be faster than an external micro SD, but your needs and storage capacity should dictate which option will be a better fit for you.

An Overview Of The Raspberry Pi 4

The Raspberry Pi 4 is the latest iteration of the popular single-board computer series and it represents a significant upgrade from its predecessor, the Raspberry Pi 3.

With a quad-core 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A72 64-bit CPU, the Raspberry Pi 4 is significantly more powerful than its predecessors, making it capable of running more demanding applications.

In addition to improved processing ability, the Raspberry Pi 4 also features up to 8GB of RAM, which is a significant upgrade from the 1GB or 2GB available in previous models. This increased RAM allows the Raspberry Pi 4 to handle more complex tasks and makes it more suitable for running multiple applications simultaneously.

The Raspberry Pi 4 also includes dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports

Overall, the Raspberry Pi 4 is a powerful and versatile single-board computer that is suitable for a wide range of applications. Its improved processing power, increased RAM, and upgraded connectivity make it a significant improvement over previous Raspberry Pi models, and is often the default choice for enthusiasts.

Raspberry Pi 4 Specifications

CPUBroadcom BCM2711, Quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz
GPUBroadcom VideoCore VI
Memory1GB, 2GB, 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM (depending on model)
StorageMicro-SD card slot for loading operating system and data storage
Network2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
Gigabit Ethernet
Video Output2 x micro HDMI ports, 4-pole stereo audio, and composite video port
Audio Output2 x micro HDMI ports, 4-pole stereo audio, and composite video port
GPIORaspberry Pi standard 40-pin GPIO header (fully backward compatible with previous boards)
USB Ports2 USB 3.0 ports; 2 USB 2.0 ports
Power Source5 volt @3A USB-C
Size88x58mm (3.5×2.3in)
Weight48g (0.1lb)
Operating SystemLinux

Reasons To Choose A Raspberry Pi 4

  • Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth
  • More support and user resources
  • Extra RAM
  • Very Beginner Friendly

An Overview Of The Banana Pi

The Banana Pi M5 is another popular single-board computer that is designed for a variety of hobbyist applications. It is most notable for its quad-core 2.0GHz ARM Cortex-A55 CPU, which provides more processing power than many other single-board computers on the market.

Another claim to fame is its 16GB of eMMC flash storage, which is much faster than using the MicroSD slot on the Raspberry Pi.

The Banana Pi also features up to 4GB of RAM, which is less than what the Raspberry Pi 4 can be configured with but is still adequate for many applications.

One of the main advantages of the Banana Pi is its compatibility with a wide range of operating systems, including Android. This versatility makes it a popular choice for developers who want to experiment with different operating systems and build custom applications.

Banana Pi Specifications

CPUAmlogic S905X3 Quad-Core Cortex-A55 (2.0xxGHz)
GPUMali-G31 MP2 GPU with 4 x Execution Engines (650Mhz)
Memory4 GB LPDDR4
StorageMicroSD slot with support for up to 256GB expansion and 16G eMMC flash with support for up to 64GB
Network10/100/1000 Mbit/s Ethernet, Optional WiFi USB dongle
Video Output1 x HDMI 2.0 (up to 4K@60Hz with HDR, CEC, EDID)
Audio Output3.5mm jack and 1 x HDMI digital output
GPIO40 Pin Header: GPIO (x28) and Power (+5V, +3.3V and GND). GPIO pins can be used for UART, I2C, SPI or PWM
USB Ports4 x USB 3.0
SwitchesReset, Power and U-boot
LEDPower Status and Activity status
Power Source5 volt @3A via Micro USB (TYPE C)
Size92x60mm (3.6×2.3in)
Weight48g (0.1lb)
Operating SystemAndroid and Linux

Reasons To Choose A Banana Pi M5

  • It can be cheaper
  • It has 16GB eMMC memory
  • It runs at lower temperatures
  • More suited to experienced users.

Hardware Differences

One of the most noticeable differences between the two boards is that the Banana Pi doesn’t come with built-in WiFi or Bluetooth. Depending on your intended use, this could be a dealbreaker.

While an additional hat can be purchased, this would mean giving up access to all of your GPIO pins. Alternatively, using a USB dongle would be a more flexible solution.

While the Banana Pi may lack wireless connectivity, it boasts 16GB of onboard eMMC memory, which can be used for booting instead of a microSD card. This provides a significant speed boost.

It’s also worth noting that eMMC memory tends to be more durable than SD cards, making it a more reliable storage solution in the long run.

Other notable differences between the two boards include the Banana Pi’s full-size HDMI port, compared to the Raspberry Pi 4’s mini-HDMI. The Banana Pi M5 also has 4 USB 3.0 ports, whereas the Raspberry Pi 4 has only two, along with two USB 2.0 ports.

A Quick Word On Pricing

Pricing and availability do fluctuate quite a bit on both of these products, but as a guide, the Raspberry Pi 4B 4GB model is priced at $55 (plus taxes and shipping) and the latest Banana Pi M5 comes in at around $63 (plus taxes and shipping) so it is a little more expensive than the Raspberry Pi 4.

buy raspberry pi accessories

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, both the Raspberry Pi and Banana Pi offer a wide range of capabilities and functionalities that make them excellent choices for various projects.

However, as we’ve explored in this article, there are some noticeable differences between the two that may make one more suitable than the other depending on your specific needs.

The Raspberry Pi 4’s advanced video processor and larger following make it an attractive choice for media-heavy projects and a more supportive community.

On the other hand, the Banana Pi M5’s SATA port and eMMC memory provide faster storage and booting speeds, while its physical reset buttons are a convenient feature.

As always, the choice is yours.

While you’re here, be sure to check out the video by GreatScott! where he breaks down the differences between the Raspberry Pi and Banana Pi.

Erik D

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