Raspberry Pi vs. Beaglebone Black vs. Intel Edison

Pi ModelCPURAMfeatures
ZeroARMv6512 MB LPDDR2low power consumption, single-core CPU.
4ARMv8 (A72)1..4 GB LPDDR4quad-core CPU, GPU, Bluetooth 5, 802.11ac, gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0

The benchmarks for Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3 show far faster performance than the Raspberry Pi 1 / Zero. Using the graphical desktop, the Raspberry Pi 4 is useful for modest desktop use. The new CPU-direct USB and Ethernet of the Raspberry Pi 4 brings drastically faster IO.

Beaglebone

Beaglebone‘s deterministic IO due to the PRU is a key advantage for certain applications. The Beaglebone DDR3L RAM, and ARMv7 CPU is nearly twice as powerful as the Raspberry Pi Zero, native Ethernet, onboard SSD (eMMC), better onboard I/O (for local sensors), etc. However, CPU or GPU demanding tasks should consider the latest Raspberry Pi or Intel NUC, etc. instead.

Intel Edison

Intel Edison was a better choice for energy-budget conscious tasks than the Raspberry Pi and the Beaglebone Black due to the Edison’s dual-core x86 CPU, fast RAM, and extremely favorable energy efficiency. The Edison may have run 10-20x as long or more on battery than most Raspberry Pi models or Beaglebone Black.

The Raspberry Pi Zero has a fairly limited ARMv6 single core CPU, but much lower idle power for battery-powered applications.

Former Raspberry Pi models

These models shouldn’t generally be used anymore unless there’s a specific reason:

Pi ModelCPURAMusefulness
1ARMv6512 MB LPDDR2high power consumption, single-core CPU.
2ARMv8 (A53)1 GB LPDDR2no onboard wireless.
3+ARMv8 (A53)1 GB LPDDR2quad-core CPU, GPU, Bluetooth 4.2 / 802.11ac, gigabit Ethernet