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C.H.I.P. vs Pi Zero: Which Sub- Computer Is Better?
$5 Pi Zero and $9 C.H.I.P. with banana for scale. Photography by Hep Svadja
$5 Pi Zero and $9 C.H.I.P. with banana for scale. Photo by Hep Svadja

Now that there are two capable, sub-$10 computers for Makers — the $5 Pi Zero and the $9 C.H.I.P. — the debate will rage online over which board is faster, cheaper, and the right one to use in a project. These debates are often unproductive, but they don’t have to be. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each board.

Not sure which board is right for you? Make:’s interactive Board Guide lets you dial into the field to find the best one for your needs.

Specs Comparison

The main processor of the Pi and C.H.I.P. are fairly evenly matched, both operate at 1GHz with 512MB or RAM, but the C.H.I.P. uses the newer ARMv7 architecture (the Pi Zero uses an older ARMv6 architecture, which is confusingly also called ARM11). They each are powered using USB, but C.H.I.P. can also be powered using a Lithium Polymer battery and has built-in charging circuitry. Pi Zero requires a microSD card to act as storage space for an operating system and applications; the slot allows for swappable software and memory expansion at the same size. C.H.I.P. has onboard 4GB of NAND flash storage, and ships with an operating system preloaded in the memory. To go bigger, you have to use USB (a faster interface than the SD card) and an external drive or storage device.

piside1

Pi Zero provides an unpopulated 40-pin connector for input and output (I/O). Whereas C.H.I.P. offers two rows of 40-pin female headers — 80 total I/O — for easily accessible I/O. HDMI mini provides video output on the Pi, and composite video output is possible, but requires aftermarket soldering. C.H.I.P. lacks HDMI — though an HDMI accessory board is available — but has composite video output through the TRRS jack (it looks like a headphones jack).

CHIP , the $9 computer ships
C.H.I.P. on laptop keyboard. Photo by David Scheltema

The biggest difference between the two boards is with connectivity. C.H.I.P. has built-in Wi-Fi and BLE; the Pi Zero has no way to access the internet without additional accessories. Solving this lack of connectivity makes the cost of owning a Pi Zero increase greatly. It’s not just that you need a USB Wi-Fi dongle, you’d need a powered USB hub to have a Wi-Fi dongle, keyboard, and mouse (it only has one USB slot for peripherals; the other is for power).

Kiwi for scale, with Pi Zero and C.H.I.P. Photography by Hep Svadja
Kiwi for scale, with Pi Zero and C.H.I.P. Photo by Hep Svadja

Differing Design Approaches

The debate is also about differing approaches to product design. Is it better to take an existing product and remove components to make it cheaper, or is it better to simply setup and build a cheap product with all the features you want?

On one side, the Pi Foundation has taken an existing design and removed components from it to make it cheaper. The Pi Zero is a smaller board with less connectors. The CPU is faster by 300MHz than the Raspberry Pi B+, but that is thanks to a software configuration setting, which could be done on the B+ too.

Next Thing Co., on the other hand, only has one computer in their product lineup. C.H.I.P. is inexpensive because NTC has leveraged economies of scale and developed close business relationships with suppliers and manufacturer in Shenzhen, China.

This is how we got here. Six months ago Next Thing Co. launched their $9 computer on Kickstarter, generating over $2 million in pledges. The board is now shipping to crowdfunding backers; they’ll begin taking proper preorders on Cyber Monday.

Meanwhile, on Thursday the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced and began to sell the $5 Pi Zero, and included the board in copies of their MagPi print magazine. It was immediately available, but sold out on all reseller sites by the next day.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 6.35.43 PM

Ownership Costs More than Retail Price

The cost of owning either a C.H.I.P. or a Pi is a bit more money than the retail cost of the boards. Peripherals such as a power cable, keyboard, mouse, and monitor are necessary to accomplish any computer task on either of the devices. But it turns out the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero costs significantly more to operate than the Next Thing Co. C.H.I.P..

C.H.I.P. Raspberry Pi Zero
Retail Cost $9 $5
Cable Cost $1 USB cable for power $13.35 (USB OTG, USB standard to micro, HDMI to HDMI mini)
Storage Cost None (built-in eMMC storage) $5.65 4GB microSD card
Total Cost $10.00 $24.00
Hardware Specs:
GPIO 80 26 of 40
CPU 1GHz Allwinner R8 1Ghz BCM2835 (same as all pre-Pi 2 boards, but overclocked)
RAM 512MB 512MB
Storage 4GB MicroSD card (not provided)
Wall Power USB 5V @ 300mA (peak) USB 5V
Battery Power Single cell 3.7V LiPo battery w/ 2-pin JST-PH 2.0mm None
WiFi 802.11b/g/n None
BLE Yes None
USB 1 standard & 1 micro with OTG 1 micro with OTG; 1 micro
HDMI No (addon $13 HDMI accessory board is available, cheaper if bought with C.H.I.P.) Yes
Composite Yes via ⅛” mini TRRS to RCA composite video output cable None (hardware hack enabled, requires soldering pins to TV holes)
License Open Hardware Closed
OS Custom Linux, soon to be mainline Linux Custom Linux, not mainline
IO Header type Female headers Through holes
Dimensions 40mm×60mm 65mm×30mm×5mm
Included Cables Composite none

Actual Operational Costs

Regardless of how much it costs to operate a Pi or the fact that you have to buy an add-on board to get HDMI output on C.H.I.P., it’s fantastic that both of these products exist. Even seven months ago, the notion that 1GHz computers would cost under $10 would have seemed a bit crazy. And despite the fact that these boards require additional peripherals to operate in a constructive manner, the price is far less than ever before.

Community

And lastly, there’s the community aspect. Raspberry Pi has been around since 2012, with millions of its boards in the wild, huge amounts of established software available, and a large community of users who are available to help with any issues.

C.H.I.P. is the new player in this field, and has created a tremendous buzz with their product. It is leveraging strong relationships in the massive Linux and open source software and hardware communities, which may help it gain a large following. But right now, only crowdfunding backers have their boards. It will take a bit of time for those legs to grow.

What do you think the outcome of these low-cost, powerful devices will be, and what projects do you want to make with them? Be sure to tell us in the comments below.

171 thoughts on “C.H.I.P. vs Pi Zero: Which Sub-$10 Computer Is Better?

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    2. That’s like my one complaint. Should get easier to receive results for the CHIP -computer-, and not other things so much, as time goes by though. When Rapsberry Pi started, I’m sure they got a lot of, well, raspberry pie results.

    1. I managed to grab 2 raspi zeros and I ordered 2 chips from the kickstarter campaign which will be here in a few months(I missed the early pledge levels) so yeah, 4 computers and its not breaking the bank at all. I do like that I can go to my local microcenter and pick up the raspi for $5 with no shipping though, makes it a much easier choice for future projects.

  1. I already own the PiZero and plan to buy C.H.I.P on Monday. I don’t know what I will make with either one of them yet, but I’ll be very excited to compare the two of them for myself.

  2. Shame on the author. This is not the objective comparison it’s made out to be. Here are some examples of the obvious subjectivity in the side-by-side:

    1. (My favorite) For OS, C.H.I.P. is listed with an optimistic ‘Custom Linux, soon to be mainline Linux), while Pi 0 is listed with exactly the same thing, only worded far more pessimistically as ‘Custom Linux, not mainline’.

    2. The C.H.I.P. is listed as a total cost of 10, while the Pi 0 is (according to the author) “significantly more” at $24.00, however the author clearly fails to list the additional $13 cost for HDMI that the C.H.I.P. will cost in the (unnecessary) Total Cost line item. That, plus the additional $4 cost for the C.H.I.P. itself should put C.H.I.P. at an actual higher cost, but that’s not evident.

    I’m not sure if the subjectivity of the author was deliberate, or just unprofessional, but either way, as a Technical Editor for Make I’d expect better.

    The real question is: Is David’s article “novice, soon to be professional”, or “novice, not professional” ?

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Tad.

      I _love_ both C.H.I.P. and PI Zero, and did not try to slant coverage one way or the other. Here is why I wrote the article the way I did.

      The mainline comment is a bit unclear without more context. I should have added that Next Thing Co. has outlined detailed plans to obtain mainline Linux support: http://free-electrons.com/blog/free-electrons-chip-nextthing. However, to the best of my knowledge, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has not taken similar steps to mainline their code. If you know otherwise, please let me know and I will happily update the post.

      Regarding HDMI, you are correct, it does cost an additional $14 to C.H.I.P. to add HDMI, which makes the overall cost $24. However, you don’t need HDMI to run C.H.I.P., so I didn’t factor that in.

      A similar situation exists with the Pi, since C.H.I.P. has WiFi and BLE built-in, but the PI does not. If you were to add both USB dongles for WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy, the Pi would be more than $24.

      In fairness to both boards, I left out the peripheral costs that are not required to boot the board to a login prompt, but are available on the other boards. For C.H.I.P. that is, as you point out, HDMI. For Pi that is WiFi and Bluetooth.

      The point of the article is to compare two great boards and to note that though they sell for $5 and $9 respectively, the ultimately cost a bit more than the retail price to own.

      1. You don’t *need* WiFi to run the Pi Zero. USB-to-serial would give you a console.

        I’d still buy the CHIP, because of the power connector, battery, GPIO connectivity and lack of need for a powered USB hub. Less external “stuff” needed to make it usable.

      2. It is possible to run either board headless and not need video at all. You also neglected that point, so for a headless project the price of running either could be nearly the same if wifi/BLE were not needed.

        1. That’s another interesting point, I see the pi zero as a competitor to the arduino due or whatever one is newest (edison?). If you want to program it like a microcontroller and leave it in a project then that seems to be the best use. The CHIP being as connected as it is seems to be a competitor to the esp8266 (actually the esp32, the newest pre-release one) since it has built in wifi and ble. Both have a full linux distro capability, and add video to the list of things they do better than the microcontroller equivalents I listed. That all being said, I hate linux for embedded things (any OS really, due to poor handling of hard power cycles and cold boots) so I don’t know what I’ll use them for yet.

        2. This is the key point. Neither of these are a good start for a desktop computer. But both are potentially great headless machines. I use Raspberry Pis to run my audio systems, with a piggyback DAC and a wall wart power supply. That’s all. Connect through a web browser or ssh and I’m done. All the analysis of extra stuff seems misdirected to me.

      3. Actually I would like to thank David for gathering the specs and publishing them. I had a bit of difficulty getting that information yesterday for the C.H.I.P. offering. In the end our projects will decide which unit we buy.

        Bias is always present in journalism. I’m sure David has his own uses for the technology, and they may or may not be in line with the reader’s. After all, something had to drive a journalist to write an article in the first place.

        1. Agreed with Nexion.

          If David were intending to promote the C.H.I.P., then I doubt he would have mentioned community support.

          It’s easy to focus on specs alone, when many of us need excellent documentation, guides, and community forums to get going. Will the C.H.I.P. have that, ever?

          It’d be interesting to see how many tiny computers end up not being used…

      4. This response makes your CHIP bro crush even more apparent.

        An outlined plan to mainline is only marginally better than not outlining a plan to mainline. Regardless of any belief of intent, objectively neither product has mainline support. Not only are you comparing vapor favorably against the absence of vapor, but there’s also no clear benefit to gunning for mainline support when multiple popular distros and an active community have already been established. Your CHIP is showing.

        1. When you use a raspberry, if I remind well, there are a lot of packages that you’ve to install from the internet… So the network dongle is rather a requirement and not an option.

          On the other side, lots of low cost monitors have composite in and NO HDMI… Raspberry has composite out but no sound out, C.H.I.P. has full output (both composite and sound. If you want sound with the raspberry, you need to go to the (‘more expensive) HDMI output.

          Also, a real plus for the CHIP is the LiPo connector. When you want to make a mobile device, you’ll need this… LiPo charging modules are cheap (2-3$) but it’s an added cost which is not negligible when you look at such low-priced devices.

          I think that Raspberry tried hard to reach that 5$, maybe to undercut the approaching C.H.I.P. and other low cost devices (NodeLUA ?)… including by stripping down really useful functionnalities. The missing header is an example…

          1. “On the other side, lots of low cost monitors have composite in and NO HDMI”

            Far more low cost TVs have both composite AND HDMI.

          2. If you are thinking about bringing a 150-200$ TV, the 15-20$ price difference with a regular Raspberry Pi don’t matters much…

            you you plan to use one of these low cost (less than 20$) monitor that you can find on aliex*****, bang**** and other, you have to use composite.

          3. That’s odd… I must be dreaming, then, because I have an HDMI monitor (with a touchscreen, no less) that I got on one of those sites that only cost me $18 (including shipping). It’s sitting on the desk in front of me. It helps to do a little research before making absolute statements.

          4. 4.5″ are at about $10-$12 in composite… bigger are still below $20… What size is your touchscreen ? 3-4″ ?

          5. Make a search using the word TFT. These are usually advertized as monitors meant to be installed in a car for the 7″ one but you also have 4.5″ monitors.

          6. The Model B+ features a new 3.5mm audio jack which also includes the composite video signal. This has allowed for the removal of the composite video socket found on the Model B.

            The new jack is a 4-pole socket which carries both audio and video signals

          7. We are talking about the Raspberry zero which feature solder points for composite video but none for audio, not the regular raspberry which includes both composite video AND audio output

      5. It took me about 30 seconds to find micro USB to regular USB and mini-HDMI to regular HDMI adaptors. 74 cents USD each, and a USB wifi adaptor for 1.94 USD shipped from ebay. Also, 8GB Kingston microsd cards cost 3.66 USD at my local store. Correct your review. I have been looking to compare costs so I could get a few for some embedded projects, and your review doesn’t even come close to what I slapped together in my spreadsheets.

    2. Most of the bits required to support the C.H.I.P. are in mainline Linux right now, and the rest are being funded by Next Thing Co. On paper you ought to be able to install a headless version of Debian stable using the standard kernel that comes with it, just by adding the appropriate device tree describing the C.H.I.P. board – the SoC they’re using is just a repackaged version of the Allwinner A13 and that’s already supported. You lose audio and power management support (upstream but not in Debian), display support (in progress) and a few other things though.

  3. Your comparison is obviously biased towards CHIP… you say $14 for cables for the PI but do not compare apples to apples… the CHIP has no HDMI output so you would need to include both the Cable and the HDMI Board bringing the CHIP’s to something MUCH closer to the PI Zero

    For a fair comparison, please adjust your numbers accordingly.

    1. Bob, it wasn’t my intention to leave skew one way or the other. The cost of adding HDMI out adds $14 as the table suggest, but it’s not vital for using C.H.I.P.. In fairness, I didn’t add the cost of USB Bluetooth and WiFi dongles to the cost of running a Pi, since you don’t have to have them to operate the Pi.

      However, if I added HDMI cost to CHIP, I think I’d also have to add BLE & WiFi into the overall cost for Pi.

      1. For WIFI you only need a $3 ESP-01 instead of the USB dongle.

        If you add this to Pi0, and cables to the CHIP, they are even on services and prices.

  4. For me the pivot point is the need for an active display. Since none of my projects do, the C.H.I.P. is generally better suited for my applications. But even as an early backer I’ve not yet received the three I ordered, therefore I’m ordering at least one of these to putter with.

  5. I appreciate the side-by-side comparison. I can see situations where I would choose one over the other, depending on the project I had in mind.

    Ultimately, disposable computers are a good thing. I can put a lot of computational power or sensors into things that may not survive their environment (balloon to the stratosphere, or destructive crash testing, for instance). Or I can put them in places where I cannot recover them (throwies). And $5-10 is a lot easier to stomach than $35-50 for something I can use once.

    1. Ultimately, “disposing” of valuable resources is just bad.
      “Oh yeah, I just bought five of these computers, don’t know what I’m going to use them for, probably burn one, throw one away, “dispose” of another one, misplace one and maybe build something with the fifth.” Great form!

  6. If you are going to include the HDMI adapter in the price of the Pi then you should include the HDMI board in the price of the C.H.I.P. – or at the very least a TRRS to RCA Composite cable, $15 at Amazon. Not to mention that all the cables you list for the Pi are available at Adafruit for a total of $8.40 rather than your inflated price of $13.35 – and much cheaper much cheaper if you shop Amazon.

    It just seems like you skewed this article to make the Pi seem ridiculously expensive compared to the C.H.I.P. Whatever happened to unbiased journalism?

  7. Thanks for the broad outlines of these two cheap h/w. Clever C.H.I.P. to bundle hdmi board with initial purchase at a discount. Most geeks have other spares around like cable, kb, mouse, even monitor. Just for play these are a goof. Wouldn’t use for anything vital like trading or heavy science but for quick Net & email on the side might be worth the effort. And yes C.H.I.P. is bit awkward name.

  8. The cables you list for the Pi are available at Adafruit for a total of $8.40 rather than your inflated price of $13.35 – and much cheaper if you shop Amazon.

    It just seems like you skewed this article to make the Pi seem ridiculously expensive compared to the C.H.I.P. Whatever happened to unbiased journalism?

    1. And they’re available on the sites he mentioned, earlier in the comments with regards to cheap displays, for a fraction of that cost… the real price for the cables and adapters is closer to $5.

  9. At this price point I would be looking at embedding the device in a product. At that point the Pi wins hands-down – not just on price but footprint as well.

  10. Really excited about CHIP. It’s a hassle (and expensive!) to have to buy a bunch of aftermarket junk to make the Pi usable. I’m gonna buy a handful of CHIPs on Monday. Built-in Wifi and BLE is amazing.

    1. For my project I do not need either the wi-fi or the hdmi, so i can utilize the $4 price advantage of the zero.

    2. You CANNOT BUY A C.H.I.P. – THEY DON’T EXIST YET! Even the alpha backers have not received their boards, meaning of course that the crowdfunding backers are still waiting MONTHS BEYOND PROMISED DELIVERY DATE, and you cannot even PRE-ORDER a C.H.I.P. right now.

      OH, and when you do get to pre-order one, get prepared for the shock of the MANDATORY $20 SHIPPING CHARGE FOR C.H.I.P.!

      1. It’s not reasonable to complain that they don’t have pre-order yet, when pre-orders start only 19 hours after you made your comment:

        http://getchip.com/

        17 hours and 4 minutes left at time of my comment.

        The $20 shipping may be just a rumor; where did you hear that? For tomorrow morning, that shipping price hasn’t been revealed yet; we’ll find out soon if that is true. In any case, it won’t be long before supply chains get worked out for people to get shipped at a normal price, assuming they don’t already have some of that worked out for tomorrow morning. But even if it is true for now, we have to remember that this is a cutting edge product for a market that is hungry for a new paradigm that the CHIP offers. A working computer right out of the box for $9 with OS pre-loaded and everything. The Raspberry Pi Zero requires you to add your own MicroSD card and install their OS and other hassles just to get up and running–which is okay too for some people. But also, the Pocket CHIP is a FANTASTIC idea, with working prototypes fully demonstrated. I’ve been looking for a clean-cut solution like that for a long time.

        Why do you have an axe to grind against an emerging product like CHIP anyway?

      2. The $20 shipping price rumor turned out to be FALSE. I ordered a whole bunch of CHIP stuff and I did not pay $20 for shipping. The shopping cart shipping price for 1 CHIP was only $6! I read forum posts about Australians ordering many CHIPS and being charged only $7 for their order. So it looks like they figured out international shipping as well!

  11. I am planning on trying out both and think they both have numerous Pros and Cons. I think your article was very fairly presented and didn’t show bias. But the comments sure showed people that lack the ability to actually read and comprehend what they have read. I would really like to see a PI 0 with NRAM for the OS and retain the SD slot to act as a data SSD or the CHIP add an onboard SD slot for the same purpose.

  12. One’s sold out and the other is on pre-order. Guess I’ll wait to see what they are like in production quantities in a few months time. It will also be interesting to compare the power consumption of the two boards.

    As the article says, the whole concept of a viable embeddable computer for sub £10 is excellent news. On that basis, the cost comparisons are somewhat misleading: once you’ve developed your device – whether an IoT thing for the CHIP or an orthodox microcontroller for the Pi Zero, the cost of the additional hardware to develop on, becomes immaterial.

  13. You left out Shipping costs! C.H.I.P has a massive shipping cost $9 + $20 shipping, Weird you would leave that out as that seems to be the biggest complain from CHIP customers.

    1. Probably because he’s ever so slightly biased towards the CHIP. Notice how he includes the “Cable Cost” in to make the Pi look more expensive, but leaves out the small matter that the Pi comes with HDMI built in. HDMI on the CHIP is an after market add on that costs more than the device itself and also has to be shipped.

      1. I noticed myself, I didn’t want to make that the only point I had but I fully agree with everything you wrote. Why can’t we have a non-bias comparison of both. They are both great products. No need to skew the info too favour one-side as the both have advantages/disadvantages.

        1. well, to bring them both to the same level of usability you’d have to include the usb and hdmi adapters for the pi as well as a 4gb microsd card, and the hdmi shield for the chip. throw in shipping for both and the whole thing’s a wash. The amount of stuff removed from the pi balances pretty exactly with the hdmi shield and shipping for the chip. In addition the chip can use vga just as easily as hdmi (a feature you need yet another converter for the pi to do. I’d say thery’re even, but then again I’m not a fanboy and bought both because each costs less than a good burger.

          1. The Pi Zero doesn’t need any type of converter for composite video: it’s available at 2 pin holes near the end of the 40 pin GPIO (standard pinout for Zero, A+, B+, & 2B). Just solder up a 2-wire composite video connection.

          2. That’s an amazing thing about it. My son wants to play Minecraft. The Pi-Zero can do this, and costs little more than buying the game for Android. Yet I hope that having it on something like the Pi can raise some interest in electronics and computing too, or offer the chance to share this with him.

          3. Don’t forget the price of the Power supply, the SDCard, the keyboard, the mouse, the hdmi câble, the WiFi card and as PiZero only have one USB port, you’ll also need a USB Hub, so this make the price raise far away from $5.

          4. I overspent on SD card – £15 for a better larger one but I can use it elsewhere. I already have the other stuff, but others will not.

            I’ve seen a Pi kit marketed for kids, more expensive, but all in with kiddy orientated software. Could be interesting.

          5. Yes for sure, it’s only a general remark because the RasPi is often presented as a computer but it is NOT, it is only the mother board part of a computer that come with soldered CPU and RAM (and for RasPi no storage space) so you need to add/buy more or less elements that increase the price. When you say “hey I do have a new computer” you usually mean have a fully usable/equiped/running system and buying only a RasPi or C.H.I.P card is definitly not.

            Of course you can use spare parts like you could for any other computer and share/reuse time to time your Desktop Computer keyboard and mouse or grab the HDMI cable from your XBox. But if you want to fully equip it like a desktop computer the price will grow much higher that the Raspi or CHIP themselves.

            Even this article’s title is a bit wrong and should be “C.H.I.P. vs Pi Zero: Which Sub-$10 Computer **micro-motherboard** Is Better?”

            And this is something that came in mind after some friends I recommended RasPi told me “RasPi only cost a few bucks but finally it costed me much more”.

          6. So the Apple II wasn’t a computer because it didn’t come with a storage device or monitor? What about the Altair – no keyboard, video output etc. That wasn’t a computer? The Pi Zero and CHIP are computers, the other things you mention are peripherals.

      2. Shipping cost turned out to be only $6 for a CHIP. Even international shipping for 5 CHIPs is just $7. Why was this false information upvoted so much?

        See for yourself: getchip.com

          1. same here. shipping to South Africa $20
            Not to mention I can get the pi here from RS Components.

      1. You don’t need to “equip” them to be the same, They are different products. I find it weird they would include prices of cables in comparison.

      2. I’d prefer the article set a target application and compute what it would cost to equip a PiZero or Chip to do that task. Example: An internet connected device that just monitors a sensor and sends an entry to a data logging service on change; basically the computer running linux + WiFi and power, or another Example: An internet connected computer that can browse the web, which adds the cost of HDMI on chip or USB hub on Pi.

        But from the example given in the article, I can add and subtract. Would be nice to list the cost of the HDMI for the chip. That’s the only piece of information missing to figure out what a chip configuration using an HDMI monitor would cost.

          1. They must of changed it, when the Kickstarter started they wanted $20 per item. So if you wanted 5 it would cost $100.

          2. So wrong. Just pure non-sense. They said many times they were working all modes of shipping to drive down prices. Currently it’s $7 for one or five from getchip.com

          3. Chief Executive of Yahoo! – Marissa Meyer , is recommending people to start freelancing from home… Something that I have been doing for over 2 years now. My profit, for this year alone is $53k so far and all I needed was nothing more than my laptop and several hrs of free time each week at home working online job over internet company, despite that i have a full-time employment beside it. Great thing is that even newbies, can get $50/hr with no trouble and the earnings can go even higher over time… This is where i started. dcx…

            http://www.MakeaWish.ru.cm

    2. Not really. Depends on where you live. Adafruit costs me ~$13.25 for shipping. Even more for those people on the West Coast. So in the US the CHIP may very well be cheaper to ship for the majority. And I know people have been complaining about outrageous shipping costs for the Zero outside of the US. Such as Australia.

    3. That high shipping rumor is now confirmed FALSE. Their shopping cart had $6 shipping for 1 CHIP. I read in forums that Australia paid $7 shipping for multiple chips. I myself ordered a ton of CHIP stuff and paid less than $20 shipping.

    4. when i got my chip it was 5 dollars shipping? not sure why its 20 bucks for you unless your not in the states.

  14. I have several different flavors of Pi. My favorite is the A+ as I use camera modules and the A+ boards use less power. (I still have to add a boost converter and LiPo charger.) I am truly saddened to see the Zero is missing the CSI. For most of what I do with SBCs, the camera is vital.

    I will preorder a CHIP or two just to experiment with. I would love to see someone (Make:), create a serious feature survey for SBCs. Everyone seems to have a feature or two that is ‘make or break’ for them and it would be interesting to see how those features stack up across thousands of people. Personally, I need to capture images and run off as little power as possible. I would love to access my images via WiFi or BLE. I need a small footprint and a handful of IO lines. I think the CHIP has a LiPo connector and charging those will be extremely useful to me. In the end, we would all like certain features and would be willing to give up others. Cheap SBCs are here forever, they will only get better. It’s a win for all of us.

  15. This reminds me of an article from Wired years ago where someone made the comparison of computers to electric motors.

    100+ years ago, a family might have one electric motor, it was big and expensive, and had all these attachments to do tasks, but then they got so small and cheap that they could be put into everything including toys and toothbrushes.

    I thought it was such a great analogy because for a lot of my life a COMPUTER was often just that, a big, ominous, expensive thing. Its interesting to be able to shake that.

    Although, now that I think about it…my first computer, a Timex Sinclair 100 cost me $100 of paper route money. ;-)

    1. Ah, the Timex Sinclair 1000 (aka the Sinclair ZX81) a computer designed with the same philosophy as the Pi itself, make a computer, ANY computer, cheap enough for the man in the street to buy it, specs be damned.

      From the same country as well!

      1. Oh yeah! They were from England too, weren’t they? Way to go GB.

        I had fun with it…until we got our Commodore 64! Color!

  16. The raspberry pi zero and the chip are not “computers” in the general purpose sense. Although people do use them as such that is not their primary intended purpose. At least IMHO it shouldn’t be. Rather they are properly called embedded single board computers (SBC). If you use the properly terminology it becomes apparent that the chip is is an astounding achievement. I was excited about the pi zero and I am ecstatic about the chip. The fact that the hdmi is an add-on is a plus. The chip can be more precisely tailored to different embedded applications than the pi.

    As for cost. I will never be able to buy a pi zero for “$5”. Not ever. Electronic wholesalers are required to sell the pi zero with cables. Accordingly on Newark Canada the cost of a pi zero kit is canadian $30. So much for a $5 computer.

    Lastly I’d like to address the composite output issue. While composite output may seem last century, this is only the case if you are approaching these devices as general purpose computers. HDMI obviously makes sense in that use case. But if you are doing embedded computing say for instance a small kiosk then composite video is fine. Why you might ask? Because the major Chinese manufacturer of 5″ to 7″ LVD screens ships their screens with an adapter board that supports not only HDMI but among other interfaces composite video. See http://www.buydisplay.com

    As an after thought the real error on the part of the author was his narrow approach as to the use cases for these devices. Otherwise it was fine.

    1. They are both computers. And retailers are NOT required to sell them with the cables etc. The Pi Hut, for example, sells the board on it’s own, as does Pimoroni

      1. You are correct. I overstated the cable thing. But I never said either the chip or pi zero are NOT computers. Just different types of computers intended IMHO for different application from general purpose computers. So from an embedded engineering point of view the chip wins hands down. But as others have pointed out the shipping is an issue.

    2. Honestly, you could probably skip the adapter board and interface the display directly to the C.H.I.P. The Allwinner SoC it’s using supports most of the common LCD interfaces natively.

  17. Shipping costs like Jack mentioned is key. Honestly I`m surprised they have gotten away with this con this far.

    Thanks to the UPU agreement for developed nations to subsidize postal costs of lesser developed nations, as well as China further subsidizing international post… sending small packages from China abroad is dirt cheap. The actual shipping costs for something small such as the CHIP from shenzhen to most of the world is likely less than 1$.

    With this in mind, it`s not a 9$ computer at all, but 28$ + 1$ shipping. This could be confirmed during their original KS campaign by attempting to buy 10 of these. You`d still pay 10*29$. If the shipping costs was really the issue you`d get the next packages for next to nothing.

    Compare with the pizero made in Wales, likely shipped from wales, without mentioned subsidies at pimoroni for 5$.

    For an apple to apple comparison I can sell you a Macbook Pro Retina for only 1000$, as long as i can also can also charge 2000$ shipping :)

    1. I hate buying a $1 adapter on aliexpress and paying $40 in shipping if I
      want it to fly to me in couple of days as opposed to sailing on the
      free 30-45 day slow boat from china. Because there are 10K companies selling 10M products the chances of my being able to aggregate the shipping is next to nilI, if not null. Its interesting to see how widely the shipping varies from company to company (all located in shenzen) for the same product shipped by DHL. In fact its cheaper for me sometimes to pay 4-10 times the price and get it in canada because the shpping is much less. The real issue is how is china going to address this problem. Once they figure it out like opening up a distribution centre for shenzen in North America and charging a flat $8 next day shipping like newark and digikey do, It will be a brave new world.

    2. Your information is wildly out of date. The initial international shipping price was stated to be worst case and has long since been corrected. The US price was never that high, not even at the start. Sending me five CHIP’s and the pocket chip keyboard/screen thing cost me $8.

      So now that you’ve been informed of the facts, if you’re a respectful individual, you’ll call a halt to the disparaging comments. CHIP is not a con and never was.

      For me, the wireless connectivity, the on board flash, and the onboard battery charger make the CHIP a more appealing controller for my smart garden project (one controller per raised bed, solar power, multiple analog and digital I/O’s).

      For my 3d printer octoprint server, the Pi2 with the raft of USB ports, ethernet, quad-core A7 CPU, 2GB RAM makes it the right choice for remote slicing and print management.

      I don’t yet have a project where the Pi Zero’s choices are a good fit. But one will turn up, I’m sure. 0.4W idle is a very nice (and low) power draw.

  18. Both products are extraordinary, I find it amazing that you can buy a computer for $5.00! FIVE DOLLARS!!!

    I think the edge in this category does go to the C.H.I.P. though. I love the Raspberry Pi in all of its flavors and own multiples of every model (including the zero). I recently converted my middle school robotics club to a “computer science and technology” club and invested heavily in Raspberry Pis. However, I think the Raspberry Pi foundation missed the mark on this one.

    There is still no on-board WiFi or Bluetooth. This would be fine as USB WiFi dongles are below $10.00. However, the pi zero uses a USB micro connector so you have to use a converter to get wifi. A standard sized USB port would have been better. One of the best ways to use these small, embedded computers is to run them headless and SSH into them. That is how I use most of mine and with no built in WiFi it makes it difficult.

    The Zero has 40 GPIO pins with around 26 of them usable as GPIO. The CHIP has 80 (not sure how many are actual GPIO). Although 26 GPIO sounds like a lot, some projects use a lot of IO lines and the C.H.I.P will outstrip the Zero. For example, I designed a general purpose robotics controller using the Pi and when running 3-4 DC motors, multiple servos, analog and digital inputs and outputs you quickly run out of GPIO. The foundation needs to come out with a Pi with more IO lines.

    SD cards are cheap but slow. I wish the Raspberry Pi foundation would look into onboard eMMC or NAND flash, this could improve one of the big speed bottle necks
    of the RPi.

    It seems the Raspberry Pi foundation is fairly stagnant right now, I think the Zero was a knee-jerk reaction to the C.H.I.P. Most of the designs are simple varions on the same theme. I do understand the goal of the original Raspberry Pi was a small, cheap computer to teach kids to code and in that respect I think it excels, in fact at the price point of the bigger Raspberry Pi’s it is the best option out there and I love them. I do wish they would come out with a “super pi”, more IO, memory, built in WiFi etc…..

    1. “knee jerk reaction?”
      The RPZ is already released and the CHIP launches Monday. I’m guessing it’s been in the works for at least a little while.

        1. Yeah, even the article in the MagPi on the Zero states they did not begin heavy development on it until this summer. The C.H.I.P. Kickstarter ended at the end of May/start of June. I think they may have had vague plans prior to that for a cheap Pi but the C.H.I.P. spurred them to action.

  19. This article makes no mention of Pocket CHIP, the small touch screen + keyboard device that instantly plugs your chip into what becomes a portable personal computing device. NTC made a big deal about this during their campaign with working prototypes and will surely be making that available as soon as possible. The Zero doesn’t indicate any such accessory on the horizon. That’s a killer feature as far as I’m concerned, soon available for the CHIP, but not the Zero.

      1. That’s 1/3 of the way there. The other 2/3? A keyboard and for all of it to be in the same self-contained easy to use unit without a wired arrangement sprawled out all over the place.

    1. A BIG THING THAT THIS ARTICLE FAILS TO MENTION –

      You CANNOT BUY A C.H.I.P. – THEY DON’T EXIST YET! You cannot even PRE-ORDER a C.H.I.P. right now.

      Since C.H.I.P. is not available yet, I would bet that accessories will be even farther down the road.

      OH, and when/if you do get to pre-order one, get prepared for the shock of the MANDATORY $20 SHIPPING CHARGE FOR *EACH* C.H.I.P. (no discount for multiple boards ordered at the same time! I would guess that the Pocket C.H.I.P. will have the same shipping feature.

      1. I’ll be pre-ordering a CHIP tomorrow morning. That comes BEFORE being able to buy a Pi Zero because it is all sold out right now.

        http://getchip.com/
        17 hours, 31 minutes, 12 seconds

        I’ll let you know what shipping is like tomorrow morning. I haven’t seen the $20 rumor confirmed.

        But, even if it is confirmed, and even if we were to assume the worst about your pessimistic point of view toward the CHIP, you are making it sound like CHIP’s availability ought to measure up to something that’s been on the market for the last 3 years. I think the CHIP is about to give the Raspberry Pi a run for its money over the next year or so. I, for one, am REALLY looking forward to the Pocket CHIP. :)

      2. After ordering a bunch of CHIP stuff, I can confirm that the shipping price was NOT $20! That rumor turned out to be FALSE. In fact, the shopping cart shipping price for 1 CHIP was only $6! I read forum posts from Australians ordering multiple CHIPs and being charged only $7 shipping. So it looks like they figured out international shipping as well!

  20. One has to calculate “time” into the equation. Which board can you get to do what you want it to do, the quickest? Your time is valuable. So unless you’re using it for a class and plan on giving every kid one, or using it for production, go with the one you’re most familiar with, unless the alternative gives you some unbeatable option.

  21. the 4GB card is not enough anymore, as the new Jessie won’t fit on it anymore. There are rumors of a ‘lite’ version floating around that will fit, but as of right now ‘stock’ raspbian won’t fit.

    I honestly see this targeting the Arduino and Arduino+ boards (By Arduino+ I mean the boards that are physically the same size as an Arduino, but have a much faster CPU and other goodies onboard) and not really the C.H.I.P and Beaglebone boards.

  22. “the Pi Zero uses an older ARMv6 architecture, which is confusingly also called ARM11”

    The v6 architecture is the version of ARM’s Instruction Set Architecture, while ARM11 is the hardware version of the cpu core being used.

  23. Built in wifi, built in power converter (just add usb power cable). Composite connector? Actually a plus in my book, can connect to older TVs, plus my 1080p TV has a composite connector available. Plus built in storage. No additional SD card needed.

    That all adds up to a lot of savings on bits you dont need to buy.

    C.H.I.P in my book is the winner overall on costs and can connect to new and old TVs thanks to the old style connector.

    1. Don’t forget that C.H.I.P. carries a MANDATORY $20 shipping fee PER BOARD, no discounts for multiple boards in one order!

      1. That rumor confirmed FALSE. I paid LESS than $20 shipping for many CHIPs and accessories. I also went back and tried their shopping cart with 1 CHIP and shipping was $6. I also read Australians getting multiple CHIPs for $7 shipping.

      2. Still cheaper and better than a mess of dongles. Its the one thing that annoyed me about the Pi 1. Cheap computer but the separate crap needed for it work really bumped up the price.

  24. Dear author, please send me the free ⅛” mini TRRS to RCA composite video output cable that your article claims exists. Also provide instructions for the 32GB of storage I am running.

    1. A BIG THING THAT THIS ARTICLE FAILS TO MENTION –

      You CANNOT BUY A C.H.I.P. – THEY DON’T EXIST YET! You cannot even PRE-ORDER a C.H.I.P. right now.

      OH, and when/if you do get to pre-order one, get prepared for the shock of the MANDATORY $20 SHIPPING CHARGE FOR *EACH* C.H.I.P. (no discount for multiple boards ordered at the same time!

      1. This is a clearly unreasonable comment. Not being able to pre-order right now is splitting hairs. Pre-orders start in 17 hours from now: http://getchip.com/

        I haven’t seen the $20 shipping price confirmed, but we’ll find out tomorrow morning. Even if that’s the case, we’ve got to remember this is a bleeding edge product that’s coming to market. Give it a little time; we’re all going to be very happy with the competition in the end. After all, the articles back in May asking if CHIP was a Raspberry Pi killer is probably what got their butts in gear to come up with the Zero. So relax and be happy about where this is going. Encourage them by buying a CHIP tomorrow morning.

      2. Aftermath: The $20 shipping price rumor was FALSE. I ordered a whole bunch of CHIP stuff and I didn’t pay $20 for shipping. The shopping cart shipping price for 1 CHIP was only $6! But also, I read some Australians reporting that when ordering many CHIPS, they were charged only $7 for their shipping. So it looks like they figured out international shipping as well!

  25. I think people have to understand that both boards are almost designed for two different uses. I for one will be using the CHIP for none HDMI uses. For electronic projects like say robots. Or remote sensors. Who cares about a HDMI connection of video connection. The key is having wireless connection be it wifi or BT. Which the CHIP is perfect for. If you need a hdmi connection while setting up the board/project by one of the hdmi boards and re-use. As for the memory. I think 4GB is plenty if you are planning on using it as explained above in the example. OS and some Python/C code you still have plenty of space left. Since the Linux install won’t need all the GUI libraries you should have a load of free space.

    PiZ is perfect if you plan on building a cheap PC or something in the lines of a MAME setup as well.

    I think the CHIP will be a killer board for Internet of Things.

  26. It’s pretty obvious which one David likes best. But be careful not to miss the forest for the trees. Take a step back to appreciate the amazing paradigm shift that’s happening.

    You can buy computers (with an ‘s’) for under $10. Computers that fit in the tiny 5th pocket of your jeans. Computers that are 100x more powerful than anyone over 30 begged their parents for when they were growing up. It’s Fucking Amazing.

    But here’s where it gets even more exciting. Neither CHIP nor Raspberry Pi is responsible for this tiny, powerful, ridiculously inexpensive computing revolution. Nor does it matter which one is better. Both CHIP and Pi Zero exist because the components used on the boards can be sourced at a price that makes it possible. Both these companies source parts the same as everyone else, and that means everyone else can (and will) now make their own version of a sub-$10 computer/product/smart-whatever. This is just the start.

    Both Next New Thing’s CHIP and all Raspberry Pi devices (including the Zero) use main processors designed by the same company (ARM). The rest of the circuitry on both these boards could be thought of roughly similar to combining various Lego blocks in a unique way. I don’t mean to say designing a $5-10 computer is easy enough for a toddler, because it certainly is not. There’s an infinite number of ways to stick stuff together, and it takes a team of very smart people to figure out what to build and how to fit the pieces together.

    So here’s the point: which sub-$10 computer is better? Depends on your mood. Try one, if you don’t like it get another. They’re under ten bucks, get them both! When the next one comes out, try it too. Think of it like the candy at the grocery checkout. When you want a little sugar, you don’t worry about the superiority of nougat over peanut butter and chocolate, sweating Google to see if there’s a consensus. Try the Snickers, if you don’t like the Snickers, go with Butterfinger next time.

  27. You can’t compare a Pi you can eat with Vapor you can’t even breathe. The C.H.I.P. does not exist as you reviewed it. In order to own one today, you had to plunk down $150 PLUS EXHORBITANT SHIPPING to get two alpha boards, one of which doesn’t even have firmware flashed, requiring an Ubuntu host to do so, with the promise of shipping five production boards as late as May 2016, AND NO GUARANTEE OF EVEN THEN (based on their alpha shipments, expect at least an extra month). It’s not clear whether the alpha boards will be functionally identical to the production boards, which are now behind by at least a month. NTC is only PROMISING open-source and mainline and they’re NOT EVEN CLOSE TO DELIVERING either.

    If you’re going to ding the Pi for cables, then ding the C.H.I.P. for the non-included analog audio and video breakout cable – they do allegedly provide a composite video cable, but I wouldn’t know as THEY HAVEN’T _DELIVERED_ MY ALPHA BOARDS YET TWO MONTHS AFTER THE ADVERTISED SHIPMENT DATE. You also should do at least a modicum of research and use REAL WORLD STREET PRICES for things like cables, WIFI/BT dongles, etc. WiFi dongles are as low as $3 from U.S. warehouses now, and the adapters needed to connect a Pi to HDMI displays and USB-A are less than $4 together. Citing $10 and $13 for them, respectively, is ridiculous. Likewise, you went with the first listing in Google for a $5.65 Amazon 4 GB micro-SD card, but we can walk into Walmart and buy one for $3 on the way home from work. DO SOME ACTUAL RESEARCH.

    The SHIPPING for the C.H.I.P. is a REAL COST – THERE IS NO WAY AROUND IT AND IT MUST BE INCLUDED IN YOUR TOTAL COST. I can order Pi Zeroes from multiple suppliers with free ground shipping if I meet $200 – $250 minimums, which I do easily via orders for the computing enthusiast gatherings (Raspberry Jams) I participate in monthly. Where are the NTC/C.H.I.P. “Banana Confabs?” being held? They aren’t because THE C.H.I.P.s DON’T EXIST. BTW, CROWDFUNDING BACKERS DO NOT HAVE THEIR BOARDS, ONLY _SOME_ ALPHA BACKERS DO.

    For those not aware, you can SSH into a Pi via the UART configured on the GPIO interface by default, there’s no need to go in through USB, and no speed advantage – serial is serial at 115Kbps either way.

    The Pi Zero IS NOT OVERCLOCKED at 1 GHz – IT’S DELIVERED AND WARRANTED FOR THAT SPEED. The ARM spec for that series of devices actually allows for implementations at even higher speeds without overclocking. Overclocking explicitly means that the life of the device may be foreshortened considerably from its warranted longevity.

    The AllWinner SoCs are NOT OPEN SOURCE HARDWARE, AND ARE EVEN LESS SO THAN THE BROADCOM DEVICES USED IN THE PI. You “journalists” need to stop regurgitating PR copy from shady manufacturers in Communist labor camps and do some actual journalism. The Pi Foundation and Broadcom have already released the vast majority of the documentation for their hardware, including the GPU – i defy you to produce the same level of documentation for the AllWinner devices.

    The Videocore IV GPU in the Pi Zero is head-and-shoulders better in performance than the Mali400 GPU AllWinner keeps flogging. You need to reflect that in your comparison for those who do need as much graphics power as possible.

    YOU DON’T CITE THE 40 – 160 mA OF CURRENT NEEDED BY THE Pi Zero, vs the 300 mA NEEDED FOR THE C.H.I.P., and THAT’S CRITICAL FOR MOBILE EMBEDDED APPLICATIONS.

    DON’T LIST 80 GPIO PINS ON THE C.H.I.P. IN YOUR SUMMARY TABLE IF YOU CAN’T CONFIRM THEIR EXISTENCE AS STATED IN YOUR BODY TEXT.

    I own the Pi Zero and am still waiting for my C.H.I.P. alpha and production boards, open-source documentation, mainline Linux distro that works off-the-shelf, and many other PROMISED-BUT-NOT-DELIVERED items.

    I would write more, but my caps lock key is now broken – thanks a lot! :(

    1. Wow. Great post. Some more points towards the pizeros favor that I havent thought of yet. However you can`t really compare the clock speed of the pi directly to the CHIP. A cortex A8 should run circles around an ARM11 with the same clockspeed.

  28. I think you’re being a little unfair to the Pi Zero in the specs.

    Firstly you’ve included “Cable cost” in the initial hardware and overpriced the cables. The Raspberry Pi Foundation sells an adapter kit for the Pi Zero for £4, the same price as the Pi Zero itself, which includes a USB OTG cable, Mini to HDMI adapter and GPIO header.

    You’ve also left out the CHIP’s HDMI shield out of the initial hardware costs, The Pi Zero has HDMI built in and composite video available through soldering (a minor issue I’d have thought for Makezine readers)

    Also, you talk about how the Pi is closed licensed, Broadcom has actually released the specs to the SoC used to make the OldPi (and the Pi Zero) that were originally closed, have Allwinner done this?

    Also, you mention that the OS for the CHIP is “Custom Linux, soon to be mainline Linux” – soon-to-bes don’t matter, both devices run a “custom” Linux (but it’s not as if you can’t cross compile, although compiling is a bit of a stretch nowadays)

    And that’s before we mention shipping costs for the CHIP – that Next Thing Co add onto the price themselves.

    Also, where can you actually BUY a CHIP? Next Thing Co’s website only allows you to pre-order. The Zero is currently out of stock (they all went the day they went on sale, which is a shame as I was after the issue of Mag Pi that came with the device) but the Pi IS in retail and I’d think they’d be cracnking out more Zeros as we spek (or I certainly hope so!)

  29. A BIG THING THAT THIS ARTICLE FAILS TO MENTION –

    You CANNOT BUY A C.H.I.P. – THEY DON’T EXIST YET! Even the alpha backers have not received their boards, meaning of course that the crowdfunding backers are still waiting MONTHS BEYOND PROMISED DELIVERY DATE, and you cannot even PRE-ORDER a C.H.I.P. right now.

    OH, and when you do get to pre-order one, get prepared for the shock of the MANDATORY $20 SHIPPING CHARGE FOR *EACH* C.H.I.P. (no discount for multiple boards ordered at the same time!

    1. It’s not reasonable to complain that they don’t have pre-order yet, when pre-orders start only 19 hours after you made your comment:

      http://getchip.com/

      17 hours and 10 minutes left at time of my comment.

      Where did you hear the rumor of the $20 shipping? This hasn’t been revealed yet; we’ll find that out tomorrow morning if that is true. Supply chains will get worked out for people to get shipped at a normal price, assuming they don’t already have that worked out for tomorrow morning. But even if it is true for now, we have to remember that this is a cutting edge product for a market that is hungry for a new paradigm that the CHIP offers. A working computer right out of the box for $9 with OS pre-loaded and everything. The Raspberry Pi Zero requires you to add your own MicroSD card and install their OS and other hassles just to get up and running–which is okay too. But also, the Pocket CHIP is a FANTASTIC idea, with working prototypes fully demonstrated. I’ve been looking for a clean-cut solution like that for a long time.

      Why do you have an axe to grind against an emerging product like CHIP anyway?

    2. This shipping price rumor turned out to be FALSE. I ordered a whole bunch of CHIP stuff and I did NOT pay $20 for shipping. I also went back and tried the shopping cart shipping price for 1 CHIP and it was only $6! I even read forum posts about Australians ordering many CHIPs and being charged only $7 for their shipping. So it looks like they figured out international shipping as well!

  30. Having written articles like this, I think what some of the commenters see as bias is a by-product of building the story around a main point — that the Pi is not cheaper that the C.H.I.P. once you figure the total cost. It is easy to get carried away with trying to get a main point across and sound biased.
    I think Joe_Blow_on_Disqus make a very important point. The C.H.I.P. has not gone into production yet so both board and shipping price may change. It is premature to compare the two.

  31. I’m excited for the C.H.I.P and the Cyber Monday pre-order will be very telling. There are very clear differences between Pi Zero and C.H.I.P which make them appealing for difference purposes. The Zero having expandable storage makes it more appealing as an experimental computer, media centre or portable gaming option, whilst C.H.I.P is more focuses on the IoT aspect.

    The other thing that Zero has is 3 years worth of established software, and support, as the design is still the same as all the pre-rpi 2 boards, albeit stripped of certain components, which makes porting stuff directly across extremely simple.

    I received my Pi Zero yesterday, and being able to move my OpenElec SD from my old B+ to the Zero and it just work immediately was refreshing. That will be a tough act for C.H.I.P to follow! At these prices though, I’m going to grab as many of both as I can when they are available.

  32. According to articles here: http://hackaday.com/2015/06/11/does-the-worlds-first-9-computer-cost-9/ and here: https://olimex.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/how-to-get-in-the-news-tell-people-that-you-will-make-and-sell-something-which-cost-you-20-for-9/ the C.H.I.P costs $20.00+ just to make. The speculation is:

    1. The C.H.I.P will go up in price once it actually hits the market.
    or.
    2. They will continue to make up the difference via huge shipping costs.
    or.
    3. They plan on making their profit from the add-on boards such as the VGA and HDMI adapters while selling the C.H.I.P. at a loss.

    1. The good news is, all the rumors about $20 shipping prices turned out to be false. $6 shipping for 1 CHIP. Even international shipping to Australia was that low according to forums. We’ll see… perhaps they are mistaken in those articles. Time will tell.

  33. Really the biggest deal for me is the expandable storage on the raspberry pi zero which gives a lot of options. If you go through a site that specializes in cables you can get a 10 foot HDMI/mini HDMI cable for under $5 and an OTG hub for about the same which brings the price of a pi to about $15 which, if you live in the US is pretty close to what you would pay for a chip + shipping.

    Both devices have some entry barriers but in the end the cost of getting one and everything you need to work with it is less than any other hobbyist computer out there(that I know of). I do feel that one thing that should have been added to the comparison was power usage since both devices can be powered by li-po batteries it would be nice to see what kind of usage the chip has. The Pi already has some good write ups on power usage and it is very thrifty which makes it great for portable projects.

  34. OK, for anyone wondering, Pre-orders are live, with an $11 shipping charge. I ordered CHIP and PocketCHIP, which came up to $67 in total.

  35. Not a totally fair comparison $ wise. The PiZero cost is over inflated. $13 for cables just not a requirement PiZero, though I’ll bite on the sd card. If you really want to make them “equal” for a fair comparison you need to add the $11 hdmi extension, and the same set of cables of the CHIP, actually making chip more expensive… but then, going the “equal” route, you need an $11 usb wifi dongle for the PiZero too.

    I agree the “sticker price” can be a bit misleading, on both of them.

    If you need build in WiFi, I think CHIP is a better choice, if you need build in HDMI, then go PiZero. If you need both… well it is not as clear. You have to look at other factors, does the number of GPIO pins matter, which would you rather add wifi dongle or an HDMI board(that appears to take up all your GPIO)

    Bottom line though, this is a great time to be into DIY electronics, whichever route you go with.

  36. I have four Pi Zeros doing different things, yes all four have an additional usb wifi adaptor but I should point out that two also have usb keyboards and (wired) mouse plugged in, are super stable, and are not using powered usb hubs.

    As for who wins, specs don’t matter it’ll come down to community and supporting ecosystem. That said, seriously who cares? At this price buy both, we’ll all benefit with multiple platforms existing in this space – the last thing we want is some innovation sapping monoculture.

  37. Looking forward to seeing regular computer retailers in India selling an assembled laptop-form computer with detachable screen (we seriously need to separate the screen and take it up so it stops damaging the neck!), keyboard, mouse/touchpad and rechargeable battery and power supply, running a CHIP. Looking forward to manufacturers taking CHIP’s open source hardware designs and churning out even cheaper models the same way they are doing with Arduino.

  38. Both have their merits and i have a pizero with two chips on order. I have different plans for different devices. Not a very good review in my opinion as it’s extremely biased.

  39. I could easily see the C.H.I.P. being bought in bunches to talk to each other as the IoT gets bigger and bigger.(disclaimer – I was a C.H.I.P backer). The RasPi Zero lower cost(Not TCO but cost) will lend itself to being purchased in packs.(Disclaimer – I own every Pi except the Pi Zero and the Pi 2 is being built for my Mom). My favorite usage of the RasPi is as a video looper. This newer, smaller, lower cost package fits that usage perfectly. 2 cables to a Monitor and you have a fully functional video looper. Ideally the video looper concept could be expanded with a USB controller to allow you to control the video looper as you would an audio looper. The TCO of a RasPi Zero video looper without controller is less than the C.H.I.P.

    I honestly can see using the C.H.I.P. more since it ties into things faster from the ‘spec’ sheet. The RasPi has many things already built in, no spec sheet about it. Node-RED seems very interesting and is built in now to the RasPi official install and I could see C.H.I.P. using something like Node-RED just as well.

    Overall the winner is ME. I get tiny computers at just as tiny a cost to build things in this great big world. Still need to get that RasPi Canon USB Camera Controller working properly.

  40. Does anyone actually have a C.H.I.P.? I am a backer of the kickstarter project and I do not yet have one. Meanwhile, I have 2 Pi Zeros already working in two projects.

  41. When you can find a USB power supply for 1$, you can find an SDCard for 3 and USB OTG for 2 more. And sorry but “The cost of owning”, if not completely usage dependant, should not be comprised of anything like a USB OTG cable, HDMI cable, or HDMI adapter.

    By the way why do you include an HDMI adapter for the Zero and not the 15$ C.H.I.P. specific HDMI adapter?

    More than 1 bias here, not a serious work.

  42. If I purchase either of these devices now, which one will ship to me before the end of the year? Any comparison between devices should also include device availability.

  43. Pi is interesting for me as I’m already using the Pi B. The Zero is small, and I wonder if boards such as the Pi TNC that I use will come down in size to match.

    Cost comparison for someone already using the kit may not be the same. The cable bundle for Pi Zero is £4. I already have USB power, a spare Micro SD (albeit only 2Gig) and can borrow a powered hub from my bigger computer to play with. I have Mini-HDMI cable from a camera, which I’d use as I have nothing now that can display a composite video signal. The TRRS jack on the CHIP does seem proprietary, and my experience of those in amateur radio (used by Yaesu VX Series handheld radios) is that they’re a pain to solder.

    The interesting GPIO on the PI for me are I2C and Serial, which its header seems to lay out quite nicely. Serial will connect to a GPS module which is nicely sized to the Pi. I2C will drive the radio interface which is a bit larger.

  44. One other point. The Pi is manufactured in Wales, the Chip in China. Those who aren’t a fan of supporting china’s questionable workers’ rights record may want to consider this.

  45. One thing unmentioned as a pro for the Zero is that if you need more than 4gb storage, the CHIP is useless, whereas the Pi you just swap in the SD Card you require.

    Oh, & no mention of how thick the CHIP is? Why not? The Zero is a mere 5mm thick, which means it can be fitted into all sorts of things, with the IO soldered straight to the board. And if 4mm is required, you could remove the HDMI port!

  46. LOL, I love how this article is clearly trying to favor the CHIP but fails to mention that nobody has a mainline linux kernel that will support hardware acceleration for the chip. Basically every allwinner chip has been DOA from a performance perspective because nobody can get any linux kernel support. So feel free to “spend less” (which is a laugh considering things like OTG adapters are 75 cents on ebay) and get a chip that will basically perform as well a turtle in a hamster cage unless you plan to write your own custom linux kernel from scratch.

  47. ugh. promise fruitful (pun intended) discussion and all you do is note that you need to buy additional stuff? rpi has been around longer so more community?? THESE are your value added points to this (what you said at beginning is waste of time discussion!) ??? THESE??? AAAAARGHHH. weak. weak logic. weak writing. why i waste time talking to idiots…

  48. having the chip and the og pi and a pi 3 i have to say i feel that the 5 dollar pi is kind of not useful because of all the extra cost. i mean you can find an og pi for something close to 5-10 bucks im sure.

    the one thing i wish someone would make for the chip is an ethernet adapter so people running servers on them could get a little better performance out of it.

  49. Wrong information and too bias !!! hdmi add on card is so expensive cost $15 !!! for such a simple board. When plugin, both the gpio are no more able to use, obstructed by the hdmi or vga card add on. The trrs plug is also so high sky rocket expensive. The only good price is the cpu board at $9 with shipping $6.22 which is acceptable.

    The bad points are:
    1. the composite video (why not cheap vga).
    2. expensive and limited accessories add on.
    3. small 4GB nand flash instead of sd card slot (cheaper cost and let user choose better GB capacity.
    4. Start-up small community but can be stable after waiting for few years.
    5. Some design flaws example, card add-on blocks gpio connectors from user access.

    6. Still lack of information revealed online to users.
    7. Total price of cpu + shipping + usb hub (ebay) + trrs cable (ebay) = $19 without vga or hdmi !!!

    Price is quite comparable to orange pi and raspberry pi zero. Pi zero has HDMI vs Chip has Wifi bluetooth (bluetooth useless). Orange Pi has better CPU, GPU, HDMI and ex-stock vs Chip has better community support from both public and company.
    At this moment, I personally choose Chip because it is promised June delivery and better support than Orange Pi bad manufacturer support. I did not choose Pi zero because it is always has no stock, an advertisement sales gimmicks for Raspberry & its associates. The shipping cost is sky rocket high and Raspberry associates forces you to buy in a bundle set which ended up wasting money up to 10 times of the prices. If I needed to spend above $70, I rather spend on NIC or upgrade only my pc motherboard and cpu which has 100 times better performance. This type of SBC can never comparable to NIC and everyone who told you that it is good CPU are liars. These types SBC can only do simple task like surfing net, school small science projects, small individual projects,….. At the moment SBC are still not up to the level to say good and fast.

  50. Wrong information and too bias !!! hdmi add on card is so expensive cost
    $15 !!! for such a simple board. When plugin, both the gpio are no more
    able to use, obstructed by the hdmi or vga card add on. The trrs plug
    is also so high sky rocket expensive. The only good price is the cpu
    board at $9 with shipping $6.22 which is acceptable.

    The bad points are:
    1. the composite video (why not cheap vga).
    2. expensive and limited accessories add on.
    3. small 4GB nand flash instead of sd card slot (cheaper cost and let user choose better GB capacity.
    4. Start-up small community but can be stable after waiting for few years. But at that time, there will be more cheaper SBC.
    5. Some design flaws example, card add-on blocks gpio connectors from user access.
    6. Still lack of lots of information revealed online to users.
    7. Total price of cpu + shipping + usb hub (ebay) + trrs cable (ebay) = $19 without vga or hdmi !!!

    Price
    is quite comparable to orange pi and raspberry pi zero. Pi zero has
    HDMI vs Chip has Wifi bluetooth (bluetooth useless). Orange Pi has
    better CPU, GPU, HDMI and ex-stock vs Chip has better community support
    from both public and company.At this moment, I personally choose
    Chip because it is promised June delivery and better support than Orange
    Pi bad manufacturer support. I did not choose Pi zero because it is
    always has no stock, an advertisement sales gimmicks for Raspberry &
    its associates. The shipping cost is sky rocket high and Raspberry
    associates forces you to buy in a bundle set which ended up wasting
    money up to 10 times of the prices. If I needed to spend above $70, I
    rather spend on NIC or upgrade only my pc motherboard and cpu which has
    100 times better performance. This type of SBC can never comparable to
    NIC and everyone who told you that it is good CPU are liars. These types
    SBC can only do simple task like surfing net, school small science
    projects, small individual projects,….. At this moment, SBC is still faraway from being up to the good and fast level.

  51. Wrong information and too bias !!! hdmi add on card is so expensive cost $15 !!! for such a simple board. When plugin, both the gpio are no more able to use, obstructed by the hdmi or vga card add on. The trrs plug is also so high sky rocket expensive. The only good price is the cpu board at $9 with shipping $6.22 which is acceptable.

    The bad points are:
    1. the composite video (why not cheap vga).
    2. expensive and limited accessories add on.
    3. small 4GB nand flash instead of sd card slot (cheaper cost and let user choose better GB capacity.
    4. Start-up small community but can be stable after waiting for few years. But at that time will have more cheaper SBC.
    5. Some design flaws example, card add-on blocks gpio connectors from user access.
    6. Still lack of information revealed online to users.
    7. Total price of cpu + shipping + usb hub (ebay) + trrs cable (ebay) = $19 without vga or hdmi !!!

    Price is quite comparable to orange pi and raspberry pi zero. Pi zero has HDMI vs Chip has Wifi bluetooth (bluetooth useless). Orange Pi has better CPU, GPU, HDMI and ex-stock vs Chip has better community support from both public and company.At this moment, I personally choose Chip because it is promised June delivery and better support than Orange Pi bad manufacturer support. I did not choose Pi zero because it is always has no stock, an advertisement sales gimmicks for Raspberry & its associates. The shipping cost is sky rocket high and Raspberry associates forces you to buy in a bundle set which ended up wasting money up to 10 times of the prices. If I needed to spend above $70 on total set, I rather spend on NIC or upgrade only my pc motherboard and cpu which has 100 times better performance and can handle 100 more applications with no sweat. This is also the reason why I did not mention other brands. This type of SBC can never comparable to NIC and everyone who told you that it is good CPU are liars. These types SBC can only do simple task like surfing net, school small science projects, small individual projects,….. At this moment, SBC are still faraway from able to be on the acceptable level.

  52. How do i install the os an ssh without connecting the board to a screen (unless i buy a vga or hdmi adaptor)?
    Any suggestion?

    1. Pi Zero can be flashed with an OTG image so it supports serial over USB. CHIP has serial over USB enabled by default – just attach a micro usb cable and plug it into your computer.

  53. Getting my C.H.I.P. and Pocket C.H.I.P. this month. As for shipping, I did order allot (extra battery, case, HDMI, etc.) a few months ago but I think I only paid $8+ which isn’t bad. I did order the Pi 2 when it first came out from MCM and shipping on that was freaking insane. About $15 just for the board alone. I love my Pi 2 and debated about getting the Zero but with the Chip having more built into it, I decided to go that route before trying the Zero. All in all, it really is pointless to be a fanboy of either computer considering how cheap they are. I’m just excited they exist in the first place.

  54. CHIP only has 8 gpio! not 40! check the headers function before you post stupidly. You are too commercially sided to CHIP.

  55. The thing is that they are both unobtainable. The Pi-zero appears briefly to be in stock at a few places – but with maximum order quantities of ONE and shipping costs that are at least twice the price of the board – it’s a $16 computer. CHIP is a better choice because it has onboard USB and pre-soldered headers…but it was only available as a Kickstarter reward – and is…guess what…unobtainable.

    My take is that while it is possible to make sub-$10 computers, it can only be done by buying components at precisely the right time and in vast quantities. That’s fine for building a batch for an initial rush – but as a sustained business model, it’s tough. If you buy in those quantities and just have them sit on the shelf hoping that they’ll sell, the price is going to have to go up.

    Honestly, I’d prefer a $15 computer that I can buy in any quantity, any time I need it to a $5/$9 computer that I can buy one of and maybe never buy again. The latter is a toy, a gimmick – the former is an incredibly useful thing.

    Even hobbyists will have to invest time and effort into climbing the learning curve with a new computer – and if they have to continually buy different ones – that’s going to start to suck.

    The beauty of Arduino is that this kind of nonsense didn’t happen…but now we’ve moved on and expect Linux in our tiny machines.

  56. It is also a liar company which keep delaying months after promised time to deliver. Customer service, technical support, drawings, designs flaws also very bad. These guys are just non professional but bunch of people just lie their ways out. Emails reply will be 3 days to weeks or never reply. Dave never care at all and just pocket millions of $. If you buy the hard to get Pi zero, its had been 20 times faster! I ordered my CHIP in November and no news yet but I ordered my Pi Zero in June, and I got it now. Pi Zero only made me wait for stock for 1-2 months but CHIP forever no news!

  57. Personally, I have a chip, hdmi out, vga out, also a second chip with the lcd add on and an extra battery. Regarding both micro computers, I think they are both simply amazing. 10 years ago, one would not even dream about such an affordable device. Sure, CHIP is new, but it will get some cool uses and some very cool apps soon enough. I would agree that shipping was not cheap; however, everything was well packed. I have just received the items the other week, but will take a stab at them soon. Also, I like the idea that they come prepacked with something, so one can at least see the machine do something right from the start. Regarding the Raspberry Pi, I do not own one yet, but may very soon in the future.

  58. I want a redo of this comparing the pi zero w and the chip, the pi zero w is equipped with WiFi

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I love to tinker and write about electronics. My days are spent building projects and working as a Technical Editor for MAKE.

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