Though the situation is improving, it can still be difficult to find a Raspberry Pi in stock. Meanwhile, companies from around the world continue to offer their own alternatives to the world's most popular single-board computer. A product of Polish Electronics Maker EVEO, the Urve Board Pi (opens in new tab) has identical dimensions and a nearly-identical layout to the Raspberry Pi 3B / 3B+ but throws in unique features such as an M.2 SSD port, a real-time clock and a power-over-Ethernet (PoE) connector.
Available now for the equivalent of $90 (opens in new tab)on Polish web store TEM, the Urve Board Pi has an all-white PC PCB that's the same 85 x 56 mm size as the Pi 3B and it has pretty-much the same ports in the same locations so it should fit into a case that would accept a Pi 3B / 3B+.
In lieu of the Pi 3B's micro USB charging port, it has a USB-C port and, while it has a block of four USB Type-A ports just like a Raspberry Pi, one of these is USB 3.0 where the Pi 3 only had USB 2.0. One of the USB 2.0 ports is a USB OTG host. Video out is provided by a single, full-size HDMI 2.0 port that can output up to 4K, 60 fps while a Gigabit Ethernet port and 3.5mm audio jack appear in the same places as on a Raspberry Pi.
Also, just like on a Raspberry Pi, the Urve Board Pi has a MIPI CSI camera connector and MIPI DSI display connector. Its set of 40 GPIO pins has a pinout that appears to match that of all recent Raspberry Pi computers. So it's quite possible that some of the best Raspberry Pi HATs could work with it.
More importantly, there's an M.2 socket that the company lists as an M.2 SATA port on most of its spec sheets, but as an M.2 PCIe 2.0 NVMe SSD in the instruction manual. The socket appears to be M keyed as we would normally see for an NVMe SSD so it's unclear. Either way, you're getting much faster storage than you would from the built-in eMMC Flash memory or even one of the best microSD cards.
There's a coin cell battery slot for a real-time clock (RTC) that will keep the time even if the Urve Board Pi is unplugged. There are also pins for a power-over-Ethernet connection (PoE) and there's some kind of microphone connector on the back side of the board. The board has Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth connectivity.
|Processor||1.8-GHz Rockchip RK3566 Quad-Core, Cortex A55|
|GPU||Mali-G52 (up to 4K, 60 fps)|
|Onboard Storage||8GB eMMC|
|Video Out||1x HDMI 2.0, 1x MIPI DSI|
|Storage connectors||microSD reader, M.2 SSD|
|USB||2x USB 2.0, 1x USB 2.0 OTG, 1x USB 3.0|
|Networking||1x Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2|
|Camera Port||1x MIPI CSI Port|
|Power||1x USB-C, 1x PoE Connector|
|Audio In / Out||3.5mm audio, Microphone input|
|GPIO||40 GPIO Pins|
|Dimensions||85 x 56 mm|
The Urve Board Pi is powered by a Rockchip RK3566 Quad Core Cortex A55 CPU running at 1.8 GHz. It's unclear if this would be faster or slower than the 1.5-GHz Broadcom BCM2711 Cortex-A72 chip in the Raspberry Pi 4B, but it's likely a lot faster than the 1.4-GHz BCM2837 Cortex A53 CPU in the Raspberry Pi 3B+. It comes standard with 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM and a built-in 8GB of eMMC Flash memory.
As with any Raspberry Pi competitor, it cannot run Raspberry Pi OS, but it can run Debian 11 (Raspberry Pi OS is based on Debian) and Android. However, if it can work with Raspberry Pi HATs and accessories, there's a good chance it could serve as a competent substitute for the Raspberry Pi 3B+.
via Lilliputing (opens in new tab)
If I were content with 4x A55, I'd probably go with the ODROID-M1, which uses the RK3568B:
Some benefits being that its M.2 port is PCIe 3.0 x2 instead of 2.0, it has a SATA 3 port and comes with either 4 GB or 8 GB (the Urve board has only 2 GB). Clock speed is also a little better at 2.0 GHz instead of 1.8, but quite a minor discrepancy.
The main selling point I can see for the Urve board is case-compatibility with the Pi 3B.
I tend to agree that it wasn't worth keeping the Pi 3B's form factor, unless they had some really specific reason.
I could have the details wrong. It was a while ago. I had to lookup the error message I got, put the SD Card back in my PC, and then force the "last mount time" attribute back to an old value. Not a big deal for me, but it's just an example of why it's nice to have a battery onboard to keep the time for you. Most PC motherboards have that, as well.
Depending on the state of Armbian for this, you might want to consider an Orange Pi 5:
Sadly, you can't just assume it'll work out of the box. It seems the manufacturer provides little or no support for it, so look carefully before you leap. Here's the distro I'd recommend:
They are not calling it a Raspberry Pi clone. So, I can respect their design compromises, in general. The best feature IMO is the PCIE/M.2 SSD. My biggest disappointment with this product: 2 GB RAM. Linux crawls at this capacity. Maybe their market in Europe can justify that decision. I suspect that using the form-factor of the RPi3B is to be able to leverage a large market of enclosures.