Test and review of the Banana ft, clone du Raspberry Pi

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When I was offered to test the Banana ft I have to say that I got a bit as a kid for a few days of Christmas : “OWL a new toy”. So when today, I have a phone call telling me “Hey you got a package, It must be your thing machin pi”, I went all crazy, Press to test. And it was him !

Raspberry Pi Home Server - Banana Pi board

Once unpacked, I asked myself the question of : How to test and share with you on something that has already been seen and reviewed on various sites … Ben I not found. So I'll give you my impressions as they came.


Here, You surely know all, Banana Pi is more efficient than Raspberry Pi. The main differences for me :

  • The CPU which is a ARM Cortex-A7 dual-core clocked at 1GHz by default.
  • The memory of 1GB in DDR3
  • An Ethernet port 10/100/1000 MB
  • 2 USB ports directly managed by the A20 therefore no sharing of bandwidth with Ethernet !

It is already making a beautiful difference. After you have some additional new features like for example a USB OTG port, SATA port, three buttons (which one to do a reset) and an infrared sensor.

Brief, for the moment on paper is well tempting.

Side similarities, We find an exit HDMI (v1.4), one output Jack 3.5 mm, a Composite video output, a LVDS port (for LCD monitors) and a CSI port (for cameras).

The big common point, and it is a great news, It is the 26 GPIO ports that are identical to those of Raspberry Pi ! So in theory the maps that go over the Raspberry will on the Banana (later, we'll see if theory joined the practice !)

Side gap, as Raspberry Pi, no clock RTC ! Je trouve ça dommage pour les projets de robotique ou de ballons dans l’atmosphère 😉 Autre petit point négatif vu sur différents sites, the GPU (a Mali 400) would be less efficient than that of the Raspberry. Finally no port DSI, an LVDS instead.

You'll understand, Coté equipment, Banana Pi is really attractive. Those looking for the raw performance will be served.


Raspberry Pi Home Server - Banana Pi GPIO

I wanted to look a little on this side of a little more precisely because it is important on the Raspberry. Even if you can see in my different blogs that I am more “specialist” software and electronic, for me it is the element that makes all the difference and that gives often outstanding projects ideas.

That said, the first step was to check the compatibility of the existing maps on the Raspberry on the Banana. Finally when I say the cards it is rather those that I have at home :

  • A Gertboard
  • A Gertduino
  • A PiFace

Results :

Raspberry Pi Home Server - Banana Pi additional boards

The Slice of Pi is fine so no worries. The Gertduino has a small buffer that is based on the USB ports, as for the Raspberry.

Finally the Gertboardne does not totally but there also fit as on the Raspberry. Welds keys USB ports and with static electricity there may be a risk ? I do not know but I find it kinda weird.

Side software, lemaker has released a new release of its distribution that ensures the compatibility of map with libraries wiringPi and RPI.GPIO. So, you should be able to reuse your programs without fear.


Here's how I proceeded.

  • New configuration
    Installation from the official distribution (1.3GB to download) and see if it happens as well as for the Raspberry. If you want you will find images of Fedora, Lubuntu, ArchLinux, OpenSuse and even Android (version 4.2-2.0).
    Once the downloaded 1.3 Gb image, unpacked (3.6GB !) copying on the SD card is done as for the Raspberry. Then login. Galley to find the right user : root/bananapi.

    Raspberry Pi Home Server - Banana Pi free memory

    La mémoire de 1Gb est bien là 🙂

    Raspberry Pi Home Server - Banana Pi gigabit ethernet

    Flow of 1258 kb/s for the update of the system.

    Raspberry Pi Home Server - Banana Pi kernel update

    The kernel 3.4.90

    For the rest, We find everything that makes the happiness of a possessor of Raspberry : raspi-config, the RPI Bookstore.GPIO, wiringPi, etc.
    PRaspberry Pi Home Server - Banana Pi running raspi-configour fun I took the SD card to insert it into a Raspberry Pi model B. No worries for the start. The kernel passes in version 3.12.22, X is well launched and SSH works without worries.
    Screenshot 2014-08-14 from 19.21.14

  • A map of an existing Pi Raspberry
    I told myself that if it was so consistent that much with the Raspberry if I take an SD card with already a distribution, will it work ? I took the card I had made for This article on Owncloud 7. Connecting the NIC, Food and …. nothing. Just the Red led that lights up, nothing more. I used nmap to detect the Banana on the network but it is not apparent. So I did other tests but take a Pi Raspberry SD card and put it in the Banana doesn't seem to work. On the other hand, the official distribution of the Banana is compatible with the Raspberry. So if you want a day pass on the Banana, use instead this distribution (If it is fairly stable !).
  • Performance
    Then there don't expect to tests and other benchmark, I give you just my impressions with no scientific value (Yes nothing that it). The boot is fast. Less than 10 sec with the version that contains X 11. Reducing the AC distribution must be able to start much faster.
    There where the difference arises it is for downloads. On a wired connection, flows are really more important and it smells. For me it is a significant comfort.
  • XBMC
    Bon là c’est un peu un test pipo car j’en connais à l’avance le résultat 😉 Mais c’est toujours bon de le signaler : No XBMC support for processors A20. So don't buy a Banana if you want to put it behind your TV !

OK this isn't the best tests but I think ca represents the capabilities of the Banana ft.

And support in all ca ?

Because Yes it's nice this card but in the end in case of problems how do I ? Was easily the documentation or information about what is specific to the Banana ? There is a wiki that resembles or rather tries to resemble eLinux but many pages are empty at the moment. Suddenly when I'm looking for information on the I2C bus (initially there is not one), Ben I find not necessarily much information. For me it remains a big brake to make the toggle.


Despite very good performances for a slightly higher price than Raspberry Pi, I think that Banana Pi target specific projects where you have a power and memory. Of more non-compatibility (for the moment) with XBMC is punitive and it is unfortunate with a built-in infrared receiver ! In addition, compatibility with certain elements doesn't seem to be total. I think a CTS for example, After hardware-free, a DS1307 does not work. Perhaps to recompile the kernel but good …

My personal opinion is that I'll probably replace my small server and migrate it on the Banana. Above I have my Mac Timemachine management, the rsync, the transmission, Minidlna, a Web server, a CUPS for the AirPrint printing Manager, a recorder of probes, bref pas mal de soft où je fais attention à ne pas tout utiliser en même temps 😉 Pour les autres projets, I will definitely stay here on the Raspberry but surely more by “ideology” by gaps on the Banana.

Voilà, do not hesitate to give your impressions and opinions in the comments or even if you have any questions on the map !

And thanks to lemaker.org for mailing the card !

– The most powerful processor with the A20– The price. Yes, there not a big difference but still
– 1GB of memory– The side sentimental. Yeah, It's not a Raspberry and then the lemaker company's objectives are not the same as the Raspberry Foundation !
– One Gigabit Ethernet port– The community. Thanks to the compatibility with the Raspberry Pi, There are support. But for what is specific, It is more difficult
– A true Ethernet port which is not shared with USB ports !– XBMC is still not compatible
– The compatibility of the GPIO ports with those of Raspberry Pi– No IP Cam support
– Possibility to install Android– No integrated RTC clock
– The official distribution is compatible with the Raspberry– Raspberry are not compatible
– The Raspberry SD cards are not supported. If you are migrating will need to redo an installation

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  • Vinzouille

    Thank you for this return.
    So if the usb and ethernet does not share the bandwidth it means that the banana will be better than the raspberry for all what is nas?
    The raspberry-level I have a flow of slow super file copy and I bet that some of the slowness of my openelec (who is on a second raspberry which will read the files on the first) are due to this bandwidth sharing…
    The passage has a banana would be a good plan for a file server?

  • David

    You have planned to test one of the versions of the Hummingboard ?

    • Hello. The day where I have a map, Yes but for the moment nothing presently scheduled

  • fidoboulettes

    Damage to XBMC….
    Is that you know if the banana ft resumes the same size as the PI… wholesale, know if he fits into the same boxes?

    • No dimensions are different so it is necessary to other housing :
      – Raspberry Pi : 85.0 x 56.0 mm
      – Banana feet : 92.0 x 60.0 mm

  • Halukard

    Yes I have read an article and many things will be worn above a cause precisely the A20 proc which is not completely open and documented by the manufacturer.

    Damage the more power and the GB are still interesting for certain features.

  • > balloons into the atmosphere or
    Who says ball in the stratosphere, generally receiving said GPS, et donc horloge atomique si besoin pendant le vol 😉

    Should be watching that consumes the bananapi..

    For me, the wholesale + would the Sata to overcome USB2 speeds for connecting hard drives.

    Thank you for the test

  • Hello, We are official distributor of the broom in France recently. We are trying to move forward the documentation for the BananaPi, to make the tests. I sui personally this block for a year now, and is my personal server based on the.

    What is Xbmc, development advance, but the particular Mali drivers does not help… A first version based on Android is available on our website and invite you to test it to make sure that the BananaPi is capable of playing HD videos directly from the internet…

  • sonicpm

    Hi and thanks for your article and more generally your site !

    Do you think the purchase of a bananapi is useful for example to host a subsonic Server ?
    (On my raspberry I have java which eats all the cpu at the time of the solicitation of the interface web subsonic tomcat)
    And it seems to me that the memory is full also.

    This says 2nd question how well check or check what program uses random access memory ?

    Thank you and strongly next articles

    • Hello. There is a little more power but it remains light. And I do not think that double RAM will help. See if the load rises only once or if it is constant.

      You have the top command which gives lots of info especially if you play with the header and filter.

      Les articles vont bientôt revenir 😉

  • Hello, and thanks for this post.

    I have a BananaPI now 1 week and I have installed Gentoo, to replace my server from the cellar (Apache, PHP, PostgreSql, torrent (Flood), DNLA (mediatomb), basic network services (DNS, DHCP, …) and monitoring of all my machines. All is running smoothly at the same time and there fat, level CPU that ram.

    The big big big plus for my use over the Raspberry is the Sata port : and it boosted the bugger !
    The 1 GB memory allow me to almost all compilations … RAM disk. Best, We can have a system fully functional only with an SD card for a little do not have stuff that makes too many entries : I started to install my system as well before my hard drive arrives.

    On the compilations precisely (Gentoo requires), the perfs are more than honourable : I did not really by bench, but it is much faster than my old Athlon 1.1 GHz … tout en consommant moins de 10w avec le disque dur 🙂

    About the limitations that you specified (at the time I write these lines) :
    * It is clear that this is not the community of the Raspberry … But let us not forget that the cards is in sales for a few weeks …
    * The people of LeMaker are relatively quick to respond on their forum
    * There are drafts of support for GPU … but I don't care, mine is “Headless”.
    * There is a BTI : only missing a battery or a super condo to power it …

    Brief, one in the other, je suis super content de mon achat 🙂

    • Thanks for your sharing of experience. I'll look at this story of RTC because I witnessed the battery holder but nothing in the doc.

  • AdictiK

    I had a small question.
    I presume that all applications developed, or compatible with raspbery pi will not with the banana, unless the devs don't make them compatible ?
    Even if you install raspbian on the banana?
    Thank you

    • Hello. In theory the applications are compatible. An apt - get should be able to recover the good packages. Otherwise a recompilation…

  • AdictiK

    Maybe I'll say a testicle but it made the application are compatible with raspbian, If it is installed on the banana the application will also be compatible or not?

    • What I in tested Yes it is compatible. The ARMv7 can run applications ARMv6

  • Bobo

    And therefore conclusion, is the banana ft the PIFACE-compatible?

    • The insertion seems already delicate. After the operation I do not know, I do not have this map

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