On Pi Day: Rock Pi vs Raspberry Pi

Author : Sven Pannewitz | Product Manager, Active/Passive Components | reichelt elektronik

14 March 2019

Pi Day

On Pi Day (3/14), reichelt elektronik take a closer look at the Rock Pi, comparing it to the Raspberry Pi across development board power, connectivity and accessories – ultimately asking is Rock Pi flexible and powerful enough for makers?

Over the past few years, Raspberry Pi mini computers have enjoyed the majority of market share within the developer community. The Raspberry Pi has established itself as the go-to mini-computer. Many have since tried to emulate its success, with a wealth of similar mini-computers introduced to the market, but few have made the same impact.

Enter the Rock Pi – a powerful alternative to the Raspberry Pi.
 
Sven Pannewitz, Product Manager for active/passive components at one of Europe’s largest electronic components distributors, reichelt elektronik talks us through a head-to-head match-up between the Raspberry Pi and the Rock Pi.

The Raspberry Pi has rapidly become the go-to single board computer for a whole range of projects. There’s good reason for that too. Raspberry Pi offers a versatile solution for a range of different challenges. Whether it’s controlling smart lights in your home or office, or building your own entertainment system hub, the pocket-sized computer can be reconfigured and put to work in a variety of useful (and fun) ways.

Sometimes though, the humble Raspberry Pi just doesn’t cut it. When more power is needed, you might want to bring in the big guns. Some projects are more challenging and require faster network speeds, more processing power or more onboard memory.

Rock Pi

If you have a project where the Raspberry Pi just isn’t enough, you might want to consider deploying the Rock Pi. The Rock Pi is a particularly powerful single board computer from Radxa. It also comes in two different models, with Model A sporting an Ethernet connection, while Model B also packs in WiFi, Bluetooth connectivity and optional PoE.

We’ve broken down the main head-to-head match-up between the Raspberry Pi and the Rock Pi.

More power!
Both the Rock Pi A and B models have a powerful Rockchip Hexa-Core-CPU, which brings far more computing power into play when compared with other developer boards. The Rock Pi comes in 1GB, 2GB and 4GB variants, so there’s plenty of RAM on board too to ensure fast and trouble-free data processing. If your project is processing heavy, you might want to consider deploying the powerful Rock Pi instead of a struggling Raspberry Pi.

Rock Pi

Faster connectivity
If your project depends on a fast connection to the internet, the Rock Pi might also have the edge for you. Both the Rock Pi A and B models have a real Gigabit LAN connection. To get a sense of comparison, the Raspberry Pi only transmits at a speed of 300 Mbit. As mentioned, the Rock Pi also sports wireless connectivity with its model B variant and is WiFi-enabled at both 2G and 5G standards. Data is transferred via the speedy Bluetooth 5.0, and if you want to pump out come high res visuals, the Rock Pi has an HDMI 2.0 interface with 4K at 60Hz.

Plenty of room for expansion
As you might imagine, a more powerful beast like the Rock Pi also means a suitable CPU cooler needs to be installed to prevent the board from overheating, but there are plenty of options out there.

The Rock Pi also supports an expansion memory or an eMMC expansion card for the Micro SD slot. Another option is to expand up to 2TB with an M.2 SSD hard drive, although this does require an additional expansion board. And finally, if you want to activate the Rock Pi’s RTC function, an RTC battery can be added too.

Conclusion
If you have a project where you need more power and faster speeds than the Raspberry Pi can provide, then the Rock Pi might well be for you. It’s flexible yet powerful, so for bigger projects past the experimentation phase, you should certainly consider subbing in the Rock Pi to realise your project’s full potential.


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