Raspberry Pi 3 vs. BeagleBone Black: Which is Better?

Raspberry Pi 3 vs. BeagleBone Black: Which is Better?

Choosing the right single board computer for your project can be tough. Do you go with the tried and true Raspberry Pi 3, or do you take a chance on the BeagleBone Black? In this article, we will compare these two popular single board computers and help you decide which is the better option for your needs. We’ll cover everything from price to performance to ease of use, so you can make an informed decision before purchasing one of these devices.

Single Board Computers in General

Single board computers are incredibly small yet powerful electronic devices that have become increasingly popular in recent years.

They offer convenience and cost-efficiency, making them ideal for makers, hobbyists, and professionals alike.

While not as powerful as a traditional desktop computer, single board computers are still capable of running a full operating system and completing tasks like web browsing, video streaming, and gaming. They can also be used as the brains of robots or Internet of Things (IoT) projects.

Single Board Computers in General

When it comes to choosing a single board computer, the two most common options are Raspberry Pi 3 or BeagleBone Black. Both of these powerful devices come with their own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to understand which is best suited for your needs before making a purchase.

What is Raspberry Pi 3?

The Raspberry Pi is a series of small single-board computers developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in Great Britain.

The Raspberry Pi is an affordable, low-cost computer for hobbyists and students to use for computing projects. It has become one of the most popular single board computers among makers, hackers, and educators alike.

Raspberry Pi 3 is a model that was first released in 2016. It is one the latest models of Raspberry Pi and it still offers powerful computing capabilities, making it an ideal choice for many applications even today. It has a Broadcom BCM2835 processor with a core clock of 250MHz, 512GB LPDDR2 SDRAM memory, 28 GPIO pins, HDMI output port and four USB ports. The board also provides Bluetooth connectivity and Ethernet port.

In addition to being a powerful computing device, Raspberry Pi 3 also has a range of expansion boards available which add extra functionality such as additional USB ports or audio support. [1], [2], [3]

What is Raspberry Pi 3?

BeagleBone in General

The BeagleBone is a single-board computer developed by Texas Instruments.

It runs an open source Linux operating system and is designed to be used as a low-cost digital signal processor (DSP) and/or embedded controller.

BeagleBone Black (BBB) is the most popular variant of the BeagleBone. It has upgraded hardware that makes it an ideal choice for computer vision and robotics applications. BBB is powered by a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 512MB of DDR3 RAM, 4GB of eMMC Flash storage and two PRU (Programmable Real-time Unit) cores.

It also features USB 2.0 ports, HDMI output, Ethernet port, microSD card slot and both JTAG and serial debug connectors. The BeagleBone Black offers more memory than its predecessor – the original BeagleBone White – with twice as much RAM (512MB vs 256MB). It also has four times more storage capacity (4GB vs 1GB).

BeagleBone is focused on IoT development and offers a range of expansion boards, software libraries, hardware add-ons and development kits to facilitate the creation of projects. [1], [2], [3]

Comparison of the Two

Both Raspberry Pi 3 and BeagleBone Black offer powerful hardware capabilities, making them ideal for a range of applications. Therefore it may be hard to decide which one is better for your needs. To start with, let’s take a look at some of the similarities between Raspberry Pi 3 and BeagleBone Black.

Operating system compatibility

When it comes to the Raspberry Pi 3 vs. BeagleBone Black debate, operating system compatibility matters greatly. Depending on what you intend to use your single board computer for, the right operating system might mean the difference between a successful project and wasted time.

For example, if you are designing an embedded Linux system using open source software, then your choice of single board computer will be largely determined by which operating systems it supports. Fortunately, both the Raspberry Pi 3 and BeagleBone Black support many popular Linux distributions such as Raspbian for the Raspberry Pi and Ubuntu for the Beaglebone Black.

However when it comes to the exact number of distributions supported, the Raspberry Pi 3 is slightly ahead of the Beaglebone Black. The Raspberry Pi 3 supports many Linux distributions, especially those focused on smart home hubs and the Internet of Things. NAS and Media Center applications are also popular on the Raspberry Pi 3 due to its excellent hardware capabilities.

And if you’re a fan of retro gaming projects, Lakka, Recalbox, and RetroPie are all supported on the Raspberry Pi 3. On the other hand, BeagleBone Black offers a more limited selection of operating system distributions. It is compatible with more common distributions such as Ubuntu or Debian, but cannot run some of the more specialized distributions supported by the Raspberry Pi 3.

Still, this should not be a deal-breaker for most people since both boards are capable of running popular operating systems like Ubuntu and Raspbian. So if you have no need for specialized distributions, both the Raspberry Pi 3 and BeagleBone Black will meet your needs.

Comparison of the Two

Other platforms such as Windows 10 IoT Core can also run on either device but only with certain hardware configurations; thus you should make sure that the board you choose has sufficient memory and processing power to support Windows 10 if you plan on using it.

Ultimately, when considering the Raspberry Pi 3 vs. BeagleBone Black debate, operating system compatibility is an important factor to take into account. Ensure that whichever single board computer you decide to purchase supports the necessary operating systems for your project so that you can achieve the best possible results.


Price is another important factor to consider when choosing the best single board computer for your needs. Both single board computers offer excellent value for money, with the Raspberry Pi 3 being the more budget-friendly option.

Raspberry Pi 3 will cost you from $35 for the model with 1 GB of RAM and up to $55 for 4 GB, while the BeagleBone Black retails for $63 to $70. This makes the Raspberry Pi 3 more attractive if you’re on a tight budget, though be aware that you may need to invest in additional hardware such as memory cards and monitors.

The BeagleBone Black might be the better choice for those who don’t mind spending a bit extra for features like extra GPIO pins or powerful software capabilities. When evaluating price, make sure to consider any additional hardware or software purchases you will need to make in order to get the most out of your single board computer.

Community and Resources

When choosing a single board computer, you should consider resources availability. Community support is essential for SBC projects, so you should consider which device has more resources available.

Raspberry Pi 3 is backed by a huge online community and an extensive list of tutorials from RaspberryPi.org as well as contributions from third-party vendors. The support ecosystem also provides access to a wide variety of software and hardware options, making the Pi easy to use and develop with.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation also has an active presence in various platforms such as Reddit, YouTube and Twitter which can be beneficial for gaining feedback or troubleshooting problems.

Comparison of the Two

The BeagleBone Black also has good support in the form of forums and discussion boards dedicated to it on sites such as element14 and Bug Labs. However, it’s not as widespread or comprehensive as that available for the Pi 3, largely due to its smaller market share. Still, there are plenty of tutorials and resources available to get you started with the Beaglebone Black.

Overall, when it comes to resources and community support, both boards come shoulder to shoulder in terms of availability, with the Raspberry Pi 3 just edging out slightly in terms of community. This should not be a major deciding factor for most people, but it can be an important consideration for those who are concerned about having adequate support on their projects.

Project Availability

Obviously, when considering the Raspberry Pi 3 vs. BeagleBone Black debate, you should take into account the range of projects available for each board. Both boards offer a wide variety of projects to choose from and can be used for everything from home automation to robotics.

Because it is more popular, the Raspberry Pi 3 has more project options available than the BeagleBone Black does.

One of the most popular uses for Raspberry Pis is home automation. Thanks to its low price and ease of use, it is perfect for setting up a basic system for controlling lights, fans, or other devices around your home. You can even use it to create a media center with Kodi.

For more advanced projects, Raspberry Pi can be used in robotics applications such as obstacle avoidance, line following robots, and intelligent surveillance systems. It can also be used in industrial settings such as monitoring factory assembly lines or controlling manufacturing processes.

Aside from these practical uses, Raspberry Pi can also be used to learn programming languages such as Python and C++. With its GPIO pins, you can control any number of devices with just a few lines of code. You can also use Raspberry Pi to develop games and multimedia applications.

However, this doesn’t mean that the BeagleBone Black cannot provide similarly powerful projects; in fact, many users swear by its powerful capabilities and small form factor.

One thing you can do with BeagleBone Black, is using it as a Linux desktop. This can be done easily with the integrated HDMI port and is quite useful for lightweight development work.

But what makes BeagleBone stand out from Raspberry Pi 3 is its focus on IoT applications. With its capabilities, it can help you create Internet of Things projects with ease. It also comes with an array of connectivity options such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi which makes it ideal for wireless applications.

Comparison of the Two

BeagleBone is also a solid choice for robotic projects.

Its small form factor makes it easier to integrate into existing robotic designs, and its wide range of connectivity options make it easy to control external devices with just a few lines of code.

Overall, both the Raspberry Pi 3 and BeagleBone Black offer a wide variety of possibilities for users who are interested in creating their own custom projects. Raspberry Pi has a slight upper hand when it comes to project availability and the range of projects available, but BeagleBone provides a powerful alternative for those who need more specialized IoT or robotics applications. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make.

Input/Output Connectivity

The Raspberry Pi 3 and BeagleBone Black both offer different types of input/output (I/O) connectivity options. Each board has its own unique set of I/O capabilities and both are capable of carrying out a wide range of tasks.

Raspberry Pi 3 offers a wide variety of ports, such as four USB ports, Ethernet, Wireless LAN, 8 GPIO pins. Furthermore, it comes with an optional Bluetooth module which can be used to enable wireless communication between devices.

The BeagleBone Black while having fewer USB ports, offers a few advantages over the Raspberry Pi 3. It comes with an HDMI port, allowing users to connect a monitor or television directly to it. Furthermore, the BeagleBone Black has an Ethernet port for internet connection. It also has 46-pin headers for expanding its I/O capability.

But what truly makes BeagleBone special, is the dual PRU 32-bit microcontrollers it has. These microcontrollers allow it to be used for real-time applications such as robotics and industrial automation.

And on top of that, it boasts 4 GBs of eMMC storage. This allows users to keep their projects running without the need of an SD card.

In conclusion, BeagleBone blows Raspberry Pi 3 out of the water in terms of I/O connectivity, offering a wider range of options for users who need more specialized projects.

But when it comes to general use, Raspberry Pi 3 is still the winner with its easy setup and vast availability of projects. [1], [2], [3], [4]

Main Advantages of Raspberry Pi 3

Now that we’ve looked at the differences between Raspberry Pi 3 and BeagleBone Black, let’s take a look at some of the main advantages of Raspberry Pi 3.

Built-in Wifi

One of the biggest and most obvious advantages of Raspberry Pi 3 is its built-in Wifi. This feature allows you to connect your Raspberry Pi 3 to a wireless network without having to buy additional hardware. This makes it much easier to set up a home media center or a remote development environment, as you don’t need to worry about connecting an ethernet cable.

Main Advantages of Raspberry Pi 3

GPIO functionality

Another great advantage of Raspberry Pi 3 is its GPIO functionality. The General Purpose Input Output (GPIO) pins on the board can be used to connect a wide range of sensors and devices, allowing you to create your own custom projects. This makes it much easier to create interactive projects such as robotic arms, drones or home automation systems.

Raspberry Pi 3 has 28 GPIO pins in addition to 12 power and ground pins, allowing you to connect a large number of sensors and devices.

Easy Setup

Finally, the Raspberry Pi 3 is very easy to set up and use. All you need to do is download an operating system such as Raspbian and install it onto a microSD card, then plug it into your Raspberry Pi 3. You’re then ready to go!

The Raspberry Pi 3 also has a number of official starter kits which include everything you need to get started. This makes it one of the easiest single board computers for beginners.

Huge community

We said it before and we’ll say it again: Raspberry Pi 3 has an active and passionate community of users. There are a huge number of forums, websites, tutorials and projects all dedicated to helping you get the most out of your Raspberry Pi 3.

This makes it much easier to find answers to your questions or learn how to do something new with your board. It also means that there’s always someone who can help if you run into any problems! [3], [4]

Main Advantages of BeagleBone Black

Next, let’s discuss the main advantages of BeagleBone Black. Feature wise it doesn’t get behind the Raspberry Pi 3 in terms of what it is capable of.

GPIO Real-time units

A great advantage of BeagleBone Black, is the fact that it has several dedicated pins for real time GPIO (General Purpose Input Output) units. This means that you will be able to send and receive signals in a very short amount of time, which makes it ideal for operations requiring quick response times or high speed operations.

On board storage

Beaglebone Black also has on board storage, where the Raspberry Pi 3 does not. This means that you can store your data and files directly onto the device itself, without having to connect it to an external drive or memory card.

Large amount of connection points

The BeagleBone Black has a large number of connection points, with 92 connection points compared to the 26 on the Raspberry Pi 3. This means that you can connect a range of devices directly, from sensors and motors to cameras and LCD screens.

Main Advantages of BeagleBone Black

Open source

The BeagleBone Black is also an open source device, so you can download and modify the source code to fit your own needs if necessary.

The open-source nature of BeagleBone makes it more attractive for developers looking for greater control over their system’s performance. Open source allows users to tinker with their device, create custom applications for specific tasks, eliminate memory constraints by adding external storage sources etc. Moreover, there are plenty of online resources – like tutorials and forums – available for users who want to learn more about the board and its capabilities. [3], [4]


What OS does BeagleBone use?

The BeagleBone Black is a single board computer that runs Linux, which means its operating system (OS) is open source and free for anyone to use.

The default OS it comes with is the Angstrom distribution of Linux, but you can also install other versions of Linux on it if you would like. It has many features such as GPIO pins that make it great for tinkering and prototyping.

When it comes to OSes specifically made for the BeagleBone Black, there are several options available. You can choose between Ubuntu Core (which is designed for embedded devices), or Debian. All these come pre-installed with drivers, libraries and utilities needed to get started with the BeagleBone Black. Alternatively, you can opt for a more custom OS such as Android or Windows 10 IoT Core but it requires way more tinkering.

Is BeagleBone better than Raspberry Pi?

The answer depends on what you need the board to do. Both the BeagleBone Black and Raspberry Pi 3 are powerful, single-board computers and offer many capabilities.

BeagleBone Black offers much more input/output capabilities than the Pi, and it is mainly focused on IoT applications. It also is a great board for robotics applications, as it can handle more complex tasks.

Raspberry Pi 3 is simpler yet as versatile as BeagleBone Black. It can be used for almost any application, from gaming to software development. The Raspberry Pi 3 also runs a more user-friendly version of Linux than the other board, making it easier and more accessible to users with less experience in programming. And it comes at a much cheaper price than Beaglebone.

What is the difference between the Raspberry Pi 3 and the BeagleBone Black?

The Raspberry Pi 3 and the BeagleBone Black are both single board computers (SBCs) that offer a variety of features for hobbyists, professionals, and students. The main differences between them include: operating system compatibility, size & weight, connectivity options, GPIO pins & expansion headers, memory type & capacity, storage type & capacity, audio capabilities, I/O ports & connectors, networking options and price.

Overall, BeagleBone will be supported by less OS distributions than the Pi 3, but it will offer more GPIO pins, expansion headers and memory capacity. In contrast, the Raspberry Pi 3 features better audio capabilities, support for multiple OS distributions and better project versatility.

Price wise, BeagleBones is a much more expensive option compared to the Pi 3. Consider what your needs are and choose the SBC that provides you with the features you need most. Both boards can do some amazing things, so it really comes down to your preference and budget.

Can BeagleBone run Raspbian?

Unfortunately, the BeagleBone Black does not support Raspbian, which is the official software for the Raspberry Pi. Although some developers have created unofficial versions of Raspbian for the BeagleBone Black, the process of setting up and running these programs can be time-consuming and difficult.

In general, it’s best to use a single board computer specifically designed for the type of operating system you wish to run on it. The BeagleBone Black is best suited for running Linux systems such as Debian or Ubuntu; while the Raspberry Pi is better suited for Raspbian (or other ARM-compatible operating systems).

What is BeagleBone Black used for?

BeagleBone Black is used for a variety of applications, from automation to robotics. It can be used as an embedded controller for IoT projects, as well as serving as a gateway or router device in home networks. It’s also widely used for creating interactive environments with its onboard sensors and digital I/O pins. BeagleBone Black has enough power to run Linux operating systems and can even serve web pages.

Useful Video: Beaglebone Vs Raspberry Pi 2


When it comes to choosing the best single board computer between Raspberry Pi 3 and BeagleBone Black, it depends on your application’s needs.

If you’re looking for a powerful board with plenty of IO options, wanting to run heavy duty applications such as robotics or computer vision then the BeagleBone Black is the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you need an affordable device with a simple setup process and large community support then Raspberry Pi 3 is your best bet.

BeagleBone also comes with on-board storage, better power management, and is a good option for those who want to leverage the capability of an RTOS system. Raspberry Pi 3 offers an easier set-up and better OS compatibility, so it’s better for those who are just getting started with single board computers.

But when it comes to projects, either of these boards can perform complex tasks. And while they have different advantages, it is ultimately up to you to decide which board suits your application needs best.

Whichever board you choose, both the Raspberry Pi 3 and BeagleBone Black are great options for anyone who wants to explore the world of single board computers. With proper setup and support from their respective communities, these boards can help you get started on any project quickly and easily. With that said, it’s important to do your research in order to make sure you select the best SBC for your particular project. So go ahead and start exploring! Good luck!


  1. https://www.electromaker.io/blog/article/beaglebone-black-vs-raspberry-pi
  2. https://www.engineersgarage.com/raspberry-pi-2-3-vs-beaglebone-black/
  3. https://www.educba.com/raspberry-pi-3-vs-beaglebone-black/
  4. https://mender.io/blog/beaglebone-vs-raspberry-pi