Banana Pi BPI-M5 Aims To Take a Slice of the Raspberry Pi 4

Banana Pi BPI-M5 Images
(Image credit: Banana Pi)

The Raspberry Pi is the defacto standard for Single Board Computers (SBC) and has spawned many alternative boards since it was released in 2012. One of those is Banana Pi and their latest board, BPI-M5 offers the power of the Raspberry Pi 4 with onboard eMMC flash storage.

As found by CNX Software, the Banana Pi BPI-M5 has at its heart an Amlogic S905X3 System on Chip which features an Arm Cortex-A55 processor running at 2 GHz and a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU running at 650 MHz. RAM comes in the form of a single chip of 4GB of LPDDR4, so mid-range when compared to the three memory options for the Raspberry Pi 4. What is most welcome is 16GB of eMMC flash storage soldered to the board, with options available for models featuring up to 64GB of eMMC. Onboard eMMC storage is much faster and more reliable than micro SD cards, it also frees up the micro SD slot for additional storage. Four USB 3.0 ports provided plenty of connectivity and a single full size HDMI 2.1 port offers up to 4Kp60 video output.

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Banana Pi BPI-M5 Hardware Specification
CPUAmlogic S905X3 Quad-Core Cortex-A55 (2.0 GHz)
GPUMali-G31 MP2 GPU with 4 x Execution Engines (650 Mhz)
Memory4 GB LPDDR4
StorageMicroSD slot with support for up to 256GB expansion and 16GB eMMC flash with support for up to 64GB
Network10/100/1000 Mbit/s Ethernet
Video Output(s)1 x HDMI 2.0 (up to 4K@60Hz with HDR, CEC, EDID)
Audio Output(s)3.5mm jack and 1 x HDMI digital output
USB portsUSB 3.0 PORT (x4)
GPIO40 Pin Header : GPIO (x28) and Power (+5V, +3.3V and GND). GPIO pins can be used for UART, I2C, SPI or PWM
SwitchesReset, Power and U-boot
LEDPower Status and Activity status
Power Source5 Volt @3A via USB Type C
Dimenasions3.6 x 2.4 Inches (92x60mm)
OSAndroid and Linux

Banana Pi BPI-M5 Images

(Image credit: Banana Pi)

Software support will be provided via versions of Android and Linux but nothing more is known at this time, including the price. If it were to be released at a lower price point than the Raspberry Pi 4 4GB, then it could be a viable option for some. But with the Raspberry Pi 4 now coming with 8GB RAM and USB booting, it will be hard for alternative boards to gain an advantage

Les Pounder

Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".