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Zero Raspberry Pi vs CHIP: Who wins the battle of the ultracheap miniPCs?

The miniPCs that started out with Arduino and became popular with the Raspberry Pi have become a small miracle that put in the hands of its owners a benefit unthinkable year ago. Competition not to offer new models, and after a year in development reaches the market CHIP, the minicomputer that for only $ 9 try to unseat many of its rivals.

The benefits offered by the small CHIP are amazing, but we have a direct competitor that could make life difficult: the Raspberry Pi Zero 5 dollars is precisely a powerful alternative, so what the differences are, and which of the two options is best for you?

White lies: neither one costs $ 9 nor the other 5 lbs

The first thing that needs to be clarified in both cases is that although effectively their manufacturers indicate the cost of the plates with the basic components, will not be the final cost that we impose these devices.

In that, influence cost accessories that need to operate this equipment. Some of these accessories are optional, but others will be needed all the time. It is the case of the cost of storage in the Raspberry Pi (without Micro SD we cannot do anything), the cables to feed or which enable us to connect to a TV or an HDMI monitor.

Zero Raspberry Pi vs CHIP

Image Source: Google Image

The need to also take into account shipping costs, which vary but we have calculated through a standard order at the official store of CHIP and through an order of the Raspberry Pi Zero in online store. Here we must clarify that the availability of RPI Zero remains a problem at times, and should go to the official distributors in Britain that logically impose a higher shipping costs.

CHIP ZERO RASPBERRY PI
Price 8$ 5$
Cost cables 1$ for the USB cable to feed 2$ (mini HDMI to HDMI adapter) + 2$ (microUSB to USB OTG adapter) + 1 € USB cable to feed
HDMI cost No (adapter format “hat plate” for 15 €) Included
Cost WiFi + Bluetooth 0$ (included as standard) 12$ ( USB adapter )
Cost of storage 0$ (4GB included as standard) 6$ (8 GB microSD card)
Total price (without peripherals) $ 30 $ 32

In the table we have also including a section for HDMI cost: miniPC CHIP does not have that outlet and integrate it necessary to buy a small plate that is placed on top (its format is HAT, “hat”, precisely because it is located above) that It has a cost of $ 15. This accessory is not strictly necessary since we have a composite video output and a cable for that connection is included (without sound, yes, here’s another cable that does offer that option), but the fact is that video input it is no longer so common and it is likely that many users prefer the comfortable HDMI interface that is the norm today.

In both cases also we have interesting options for accessories, but what is clear is that both proposals have a cost higher than actually offer those sales messages. We not include for example the cost of USB adapters He supposed to have any loose that no longer use in our old mobiles, nor the cost of some cables like HDMI.

CHIP has an advantage here: the integration of Bluetooth connectivity allows us to use wireless keyboards and mice easily: in the case of the Raspberry Pi Zero will need a USB wireless USB adapter or a hub to connect mouse and keyboard to operate the device easily, at least during these early operations operating system installation where these peripherals are often more comfortable to make use of SSH connections to remotely manage and configure them , for example.

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Specifications: there are no major differences in power

In terms of hardware specifications, we find two very similar proposals in most sections. CHIP is more ambitious by a fundamental part: the integrated WiFi connectivity that can give much play to those who want to connect the device directly to your local area network to enjoy it from the first moment.

That does not happen in the case of Pi Raspberry, more limited in this area if we can solve that facet with an adapter WiFi USB or a USB to Ethernet. It will impose an additional cost with which we counted in the above table, something to keep in mind and that makes both proposals are fairly balanced in all: one does not have HDMI but WiFi + Bluetooth connectivity while in the other the opposite.

CHIP ZERO RASPBERRY PI
GPIO port 80 pin 40 pin
Processor AllWinner R8 at 1 GHz Broadcom BCM2835 1 GHz
RAM 512 MB 512 MB
Storage 4GB No (Micro SD slot)
Feeding USB adapter 5V and 300 mA 5V USB adapter
External Battery Feed A cell LiPo 3.7 V (not included) with two pins 2-pin JST-PH 2.0mm Do not
Connectivity WiFi 802.11b / g / n Do not
Bluetooth LE If Do not
USB ports 1 x USB-A, 1 x Micro USB OTG 1 x Micro USB with OTG, 1 x Micro USB
Composite video output Yes ( Cable mini to RCA TRRS included) Do not
License Open Hardware Owner
Dimensions 40 x 60 mm 30 x 65 x 5 mm

In terms of power, both alternatives are at par, although there is a section that can define things for many: although CHIP includes a 4 GB eMMC memory as the basis of its internal storage by the operating system install -there not have slot Micro SD, something that does occur in the Raspberry Pi Zero. The price they are these cards option seems more interesting. In both cases, we can add external storage devices, but the proposal from the RPI seems more versatile.

It is interesting that CHIP has something that has no Raspberry Pi: a button on and off, which seems more intuitive than that turning off and on the Raspberry Pi to pull stroke and Micro USB cable connection though before we should have shutdown software, something many do not (do) and that compromises the integrity of the data.

The community is the great advantage of the Raspberry Pi Zero

There is a section in which the Raspberry Pi Zero and his older sisters sweep competition: the community of users and developers is brutal in this case, and makes the interest in these devices allows access to many more options in topics software and hardware.

The number of projects appearing and taking the RPI as a base is huge, and although CHIP and other proposals offer a connectivity options and similar power for many applications, have the accepted solution “the fact” makes this and other Raspberry Pi competing for often lose points, especially for novice users.

This large community also makes available to us many more options in the form of hardware accessories. Not only covers, but modules and accessories that extend the benefits of Raspberry Pi Zero and probably give more guarantees to those who want to experience. For users without many pretensions when “tinker”, CHIP and other plates can of course be a valid alternative.

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