Raspberry Pi Alternative

Since Raspberry Pi 4’s are difficult to get nowadays.I was looking for an alternative and found this:


I was also interested in Risc-V, so I decided to get one. Maybe you find this interesting too.

I mean, sure, RISC-V is nice and neat. I would rather look into Pine64’s upcoming Star64 RISC-V board, said to have similar I/O with the Quartz64 or QuartzPro64, but obviously a lower-powered RISC-V chip, instead of ARM.

If you need something now, I personally recommend a Pine64 RockPro64, it is among the best supported alternative ARM SBCs. I also own an Odroid HC4 toaster NAS, and an Odroid N2+ container box. I like them all, but I would say that you should stay away from trying to run your preferred distro on them, unless you have an affinity for being constantly in pain. I tried running my distro of choice, but have trouble with getting it to boot properly if I’m not using another distro’s kernel and initramfs, like armbian’s. If you stick with Armbian, or whatever distros you choose that support those boards, you should be fine.

Every software that can run on a RPi can run better on those. There’s also the Khadas Vim4, but that’s on the more expensive and high-end side. I’d get the N2+ or RockPro64 in a heartbeat instead of a RPi. There are other good alternatives out there, but I have not used them personally, so I can’t comment on that.

What is a problem though is ZFS on ARM, it seems to be severely lacking build files for ARM. I have not tried NixOS, which would probably be my last bet and Gentoo failed to boot via pxe after compiling, just like other distros I tried. So unless you are not planning on using ZFS, you should be fine with any SBC. That is also applicable for the RPi 4, getting ZFS to work on any ARM SBC is a royal PITA.

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The VisionFive 2.0 seems to get ubuntu support ([Download Ubuntu for RISC-V Platforms | Ubuntu])(Download Ubuntu for RISC-V Platforms | Ubuntu), like the VisionFive 1.0, so that’s a good thing. For me it’s just a hobby learning and playing with these boards. Although my home kubernetes cluster runs on 4 Raspberry Pi’s. This board looks very interesting to me since it has 2 nics and a M2 slot, and the price was also good.

You will find Ubuntu and Debian running on RISC-V, OS support is not the issue with RISC-V, but software support. The software library is not as developed as on aarch64. ARM boards have the software advantage. For example, most docker containers will be made for ARM or x86. You will still find plenty of software for it though, just that if you want some advanced usage, like bridges and vlan tagging, I don’t think the ethernet drivers will be that great on risc-v boards.