The latest in the series of powerful Raspberry Pi alternatives is the Khadas VIM3 single board computer. It features a powerful SoC, DDR4 RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage and a lot more.
The current Raspberry Pi 3 B+ model is an efficient and affordable machine. It is capable of entry-level computing performance but runs short of breath where high processing is required. It is one of the reasons why Raspberry Pi alternatives like VIM3 are on the rise.
Powerful Raspberry Pi Alternatives
Khadas has planned 3 models for the VIM3 but specifications of only one model are available at the moment. Khadas VIM3 is currently available in two variants:
- 2GB LPDDR4 RAM with 16GB eMMC 5.1 storage
- 4GB LPDDR4 RAM with 32GB eMMC 5.1 storage
Khadas VIM3 is powered by an Amlogic S922X series SoC which packs a hexacore CPU inside. It’s based on the Big.little architecture, and so there are four Cortex-A73 performance cores and two efficiency cores based on Cortex-A53.
Powering the graphics is a Mali G-52 MP4 GPU which supports graphics APIs OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan 1.0, the latest DirectX 12 FLP_3, and Renderscript.
VIM 3 has the same form-factor as its predecessors VIM 1 and VIM 2. It’s also compatible with their accessories such as the 3705 Cooling Fan and the new VIM Heatsink.
The powerful SoC easily supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. VIM3 brings video decoding support of up to 4K and 2k @60FPS and 1080P @60FPS. On paper, at least, the powerhouse Amlogic chip does look quite promising.
Support for LPDDR4 RAM, which comes with 2GB and 4GB options, further enhances the system’s speed. The board has 32GB of eMMC storage. What’s really unique is the NVMe SSD drive slot, which is faster than the usual SATA slot. Usually, SATA drives the max out at a speed of around 550MB/s; however, NVMe SSDs operate at a minimum speed of 2100MB/s.
The VIM3 has a healthy selection of I/O as well. VIM3 seems really promising due to its USB Type-C, dual HDMI port, and the ability to switch between USB 3.0 and PCIe interface. The Type-C port will be able to power devices anywhere from 5-20V like a speaker, a microphone, or an LCD display.
In terms of sensors, the Khadas VIM3 offers the KXTJ3-1057 Tri-Axis Digital Accelerometer.
Khadas SBC also features a Neural Processing Unit for A.I. that is capable of delivering 2.5 TOPS (Theoretical Operations Per Second). The VIM3 has a weight of 28.5g and a size of 82.0 x 58.0 x 11.5 mm.
A Lot of Options
Khadas VIM3 will launch sometime later but no pricing details have been revealed yet. The company also has the older model VIM2 available on its website. However, if you’re like me and want a cheap and powerful SBC right now then you can check out RockPro64.
The SBC from PINE64 features a similarly powerful 64-bit HexaCore Soc along with USB-C and USB 3.0 and up to 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM. The GPU in the Rockchip RK3399 chip is the Mali T-860. Although it doesn’t support DirectX 12, it runs at a slightly higher clock speed of 700MHz.
If you’re not a fan of ARM-based SBCs then x86 based tiny computers are also available to satisfy your tinkering needs. No matter what platform you use, the versatility of Powerful Raspberry Pi alternatives is only limited by your imagination.