Raspberry Pi 5 vs Intel N100 mini PC comparison – Features, Benchmarks, and Price

The Raspberry Pi 5 Arm SBC is now powerful enough to challenge some Intel systems in terms of performance, while Intel has made the Intel Alder Lake-N family, notably the Intel Processor N100, inexpensive and efficient enough to challenge Arm systems when it comes to price, form factor, and power consumption.

So we’ll try to match the Raspberry Pi 5 to typical Intel processor N100 mini PCs with a comparison of features/specifications, performance (benchmarks), and pricing with different use cases. That’s something I’ve been wanting to look into for a while but I was busy with reviews and other obligations (Hello, Mr. Taxman!), and this weekend I had some spare time to carry on the comparison.

Raspberry Pi 5 vs Intel N100 Mini PC

Raspberry Pi 5 vs Intel N100 mini PC specifications

I’ll start by comparing the specifications of a Raspberry Pi 5 against the ones for typical Intel Processor N100-based mini PCs also mentioning optional features that come at extra cost.

Raspberry Pi 5Intel N100 Mini PC
SoCBroadcom BCM2712Intel Processor N100
- CPUQuad-core Arm Cortex-A76 processor @ 2.4 GHzQuad-core "Alder Lake-N" processor @ 3.4 GHz (Turbo)
- GPUVideoCore VII GPU @ 800 MHz with support for OpenGL ES 3.1, Vulkan 1.2
24EU Intel HD graphics @ 750 MHz with support for DirectX 12.1, OpenGL 4.6, OpenCL 3.0
- Video Decode on GPU4Kp60 HEVC decoder4Kp60 AVC (H.264), HEVC (H.265), VP9, JPEG, AV1
- Video Encoder on GPUN/A4Kp30 AVC, HEVC (H.265), VP9, JPEG
System Memory4GB or 8GB LPDDR4X-4267 8GB to 32GB DDR4/DDR5/LPDDR5
StorageMicroSD card
M.2 NVMe or SATA via HAT board
2.5-inch/3.5-inch SATA drive via HAT board
MicroSD or SD card slot
Included M.2 NVMe or SATA drive
2.5-inch SATA drive slot on some systems
Video Outputs / Display Interfaces2x micro HDMI ports up to 4Kp60
2x 4-lane MIPI DSI display connectors
Up to 3 displays supported via HDMI, DisplayPort, and/or USB-C up to 4Kp60
AudioDigital audio via HDMI
Various HATs for additional audio ports
Digital audio via HDMI
3.5mm audio jack (on most systems)
Camera2x 4-lane MIPI CSI camera connectors (multiplexed with MIPi DSI)Usually only through USB cameras
EthernetGigabit EthernetGigabit Ethernet, 2.5GbE, or multiple Ethernet interfaces depending on system
WirelessWiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0WiFi 5/6/6E and Bluetooth 4.2 to 5.4 depending on M.2 wireless module selected
USB2x USB 3.0 ports (5Gbps)
2x USB 2.0 ports
Depends on system, up to 5x USB ports, with 10 Gbps USB 3.2, USB 2.0, and USB-C with DisplayPort Alt mode ports supported
GPIO40-pin Raspberry Pi GPIO headerUsually none, only available through USB to GPIO adapters
PCIeCustom connector for PCIe Gen 2 x1 (official), or PCIe Gen3 x1 (unofficial, and may not work on all boards)Standard M.2 socket with PCIe Gen3 x4
Power Supply5V/5AVaries, often 12V (30W)
Idle Power Consumption3.0 to 3.6 Watts7.5 to 10 Watts (Typ.)
Dimensions85 x 56 mmAs small as 87.8 x 87.8 x 37 mm (Blackview MP80)
Supported OSOfficial Raspberry Pi OS support
Certified Ubuntu 22.04/24.04 support
Several other OSes with various degree of supports
Usually ships with Windows 11 Pro
All x86 operating systems are supported (Linux, FreeBSD, ..) albeit full support depends on available drivers (e.g. for WiFi/Bluetooth)

Some remarks:

  1. Intel N100 systems with DDR4/DDR5 usually rely on one (replaceable/upgradeable) SO-DIMM module while LPDDR5 is soldered on the main board. Raspberry Pi 5 always comes with soldered-on memory.
  2. Not all USB-C ports found in Alder Lake-N mini PCs support Displayport Alt mode, it depends on the model.
  3. Some Intel N100 SBCs such as the AAEON UP 7000 provide a GPIO header, but I wanted to focus on the features in typical mini PCs in this post. It’s also possible to add GPIO headers through a USB adapter
  4. The Blackview MP80 mini PC is not powered by an Intel Processor N100, but by the similar Intel N95 or N97 Alder lake-N processor, and was used to show it’s possible to get a really small x86 mini PC. Most are larger than that, and the Raspberry Pi 5 should be a better option for space-constrained applications.

Benchmarks

The Raspberry Pi 5 was tested with Raspberry Pi OS Desktop 64-bit, and I selected the benchmark results for the GEEKOM Mini Air12 mini PC on Ubuntu 22.04. I haven’t run Geekbench 6 on my Raspberry Pi 5, so I took one of the results from the Geekbench 6 database for a Raspberry Pi 5 at stock (2.4 GHz) frequency. The storage read speed for the Raspberry Pi 5 was measured with a 128GB MAKERDISK NVMe SSD and the PCIe interface configured as PCIe Gen3 x1.

Raspberry Pi 5GEEKOM Mini Air12
SBC-Bench.sh
- memcpy5158.3 MB/s10459.3 MB/s
- memset11671.4 MB/s10665.4 MB/s
- 7-zip (average)10930 MIPS13940 MIPS
- 7-zip (top result)10980 MIPS13976 MIPS
- OpenSSL AES-256 16K1,367,736.32k1,233,283.75k
Geekbench 6 Single7891,213
Geekbench 6 Multi1,5233,272
Speedometer (Firefox)56.6 runs/minute149 runs/minutes
Speedometer (Chrome)63.5 runs/minuteN/A
Max storage read speed (NVMe SSD)855MB/s3.2GB/s

The Raspberry Pi 5 can be overclocked to get more performance, and some people managed to achieve 1,033 points (single-core) and 2146 points (multi-core) at 3.10 GHz, but it is still lower than on Intel Processor N100 mini PC, and may not work on all Raspberry Pi 5 boards.

The Intel N100-powered GEEKOM Mini Air12 is faster for most tasks, and in some cases up to almost three times as fast (Speedometer 2.0 in Firefox), except for memset (similar results) and OpenSSL AES-256 where the higher sustained single-core CPU frequency helps the Arm SBC.

Raspberry Pi 5 vs Intel N100 mini PC price comparison

This one will be tough as everybody has different requirements, local or import taxes, and so on. But I’ll first calculate the price of a minimum working system and the Raspberry Pi 5 equivalent of the MINIX Z100-0dB mini PC with 8GB RAM, a 256GB NVMe SSD, 2.5GbE, WiFi 6, and a fanless enclosure.

For the minimum working configuration, we’ll assume the user wants a Linux or Windows system that boots to the OS, and connects to the network and a display without any other specific requirements. The Raspberry Pi 5 4GB is good enough for this along with the active cooler, a 5V/5A power adapter (although 5V/3A might do too), and a microSD card. I also searched for the cheapest N100 mini PC I could find with storage and memory: the CHUWI Larkbox X (12GB RAM, 512GB SATA SSD) sold for $125.93 with free shipping on Aliexpress at the time of writing.

Raspberry Pi 5 4GBCHUWI Larkbox X
System price$60$126
Active cooler$5Included
Power adapter$12Included
Storage$10 (32GB Class A1 microSD)Included
HDMI cable$6 (2 meter micro HDMI cable)Included
Total$93$126

I tried to select low-cost items for the Raspberry Pi 5 and considered adding an enclosure unnecessary for the minimum configuration (it would add $5 to $20). Taxes and handling fees are not considered for either device, and the shipping fee is not included for the Raspberry Pi 5 kit which ends up being about $33 cheaper. The Larkbox X mini PC delivers higher performance and offers more memory, dual Gigabit Ethernet, and WiFi 6. The Raspberry Pi 5 remains the ideal candidate for use cases requiring GPIO, low power consumption, and a small size.

Now let’s switch to another user who will wonder “What year is this?!” when hearing or reading the words “gigabit Ethernet”, “WiFi 5”,  “4GB RAM”, and/or “microSD card”. He won’t allow any noisy fan to pollute his room either, and he’d been fine with a fanless mini PC like the MINIX Z100-0dB with 8GB RAM that’s currently sold for $220.71 on Amazon excluding taxes with an 8% discount coupon selectable before order.

MINIX Z100-0dB Amazon Discount

Let’s see what happens if we try to reproduce this setup with a Raspberry Pi 5 8GB. We’ll still need the 5V/5A power adapter and a micro HDMI cable, but we’ll replace the active cooler with a fanless metal case that can still take HAT expansion boards and the microSD card with an NVMe SSD with an M.2 PCIe Hat. We’ll need a WiFi 6 USB 3.0 dongle and a 2.5GbE USB 3.0 dongle, although HAT expansion boards could be daisy-chained to achieve the same result, but that would start to get messy and be more expensive.

Raspberry Pi 5 8GBMINIX Z100-0dB
System price$80$221
Fanless case$18 (EDATEC)Included
Power adapter$12Included
Storage$26 (256GB M.2 NVMe SSDIncluded
M.2 PCIe HAT$15 (GEEKWORM X1001)N/A
HDMI cable$6 (2 meter micro HDMI cable)Included
WiFi 6 Around $24 on Amazon Included
2.5GbEAbout $20 on AmazonIncluded
Total$201$221

The Raspberry Pi 5 system is still cheaper (by $20) before taking into account the shipping fees which may add up when purchasing from multiple vendors. The EDATEC fanless case is also hard to get as it’s not for sale on Aliexpress anymore, and finding another complete Raspberry Pi 5 case that takes a HAT+ expansion board is challenging. We’ve also created a monster with a HAT and all four USB ports would be used in a typical system with a USB keyboard, a USB mouse, and our two USB 3.0 dongles for WiFi 6 and 2.5GbE. In that specific use case, I’d consider the Raspberry Pi 5 to be undesirable, and people would be better served by a mini PC. I reckon I’ve pushed the requirements a bit far with WiFi 6 and 2.5GbE, as I’d expect many people would be fine the the built-in gigabit Ethernet and WiFi 5 connectivity, in which case the Pi 5 could still be considered.

Final words

As one would expect, there’s no simple answer to the question “Which is the best? A Raspberry Pi 5 SBC or an Intel N100 mini PC?” since it will depend on the user’s specific requirements. The Raspberry Pi SBC was first introduced as cheap hardware for the education market, and I would recommend the Raspberry Pi 4 over the Raspberry Pi 5 for this purpose since it’s cheaper and does the job. The Raspberry Pi 5 is more suitable for projects that require extra performance while keeping the small form factor, GPIO header, and camera connectors. Intel Processor N100 mini PCs offer a better performance/price ratio as a general-purpose computer running Windows 11 or a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu, although you may potentially save a few dollars by using a Raspberry Pi 5.

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34 Comments
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kak
kak
21 days ago

what was the power consumption (at the wall) during the benchmarks and idle?

DougQuaid
DougQuaid
21 days ago

I managed to get my N100 mini pc to 1.3-1.5W idle power consumption at wall with active wifi connection (screen turned off), so for headless server idling most of the time the N100 is better option.

DougQuaid
DougQuaid
20 days ago

yes, the important things are enabling ASPM for all PCI-E root ports and setting maximum package C-state to C10. Interestingly, I achieved this low power consumption only in windows, in linux it was around 1.8-2.0W, although the package was still reaching C10 state.

Willy
Willy
20 days ago

IMHO there are the usual trouble with ASPM randomly affecting some devices and mainboards. Some might take ages to wake up or just stay in power saving mode and not wake up when you need them. It seems that the i226 on the Odroid-H4 is suffering from this for example, and I have it entirely turned off on my PC because I don’t remember what was randomly failing, I think it was the integrated GPU but I could be wrong, it’s been so long being happy without. But some machines work remarkably well with ASPM and in this case it… Read more »

DougQuaid
DougQuaid
20 days ago

I didn’t have any, but I use only wifi. With lan, the CPU package goes only to C8 and the idle power consumption is around 2.5W

Shane
Shane
20 days ago

I think it’s worth moving from a instant power reading (watts) to counting the amount of energy used during the test (watt hours) which would give you a directly comparable metric.

Willy
Willy
20 days ago

I agree that it would be better in general under load. However the idle consumption requires an instant reading (or averaged over a period) since that’s what most SBCs will experience.

Anonymous
Anonymous
21 days ago

The N100 should technically support up to 48 GB now, as seen with the N97 in the ODROID-H4(+). Maybe that will even rise to 64 GB when the new 64 GB modules are released within the next year, as motherboards are already being updated to support them. There’s no fix for it being in single-channel though.

Bib
Bib
21 days ago

I would like to see comparison with n97 as well.

nobitakun
nobitakun
20 days ago

But I don’t understand the comparison between the Chuwi Larkbox X and the RPi5. The N100 box has 12GB/512GB. Why it is compared to a RPi5 with much lower specs? wouldn’t be fair to get the closest specs RPi5 can have and then compare the prices? because it sounds like RPi5 there is the winner and it is not 🙁

tonny
tonny
17 days ago

I think he mean, you should compare it to at least RPi5 8GB version.

Adam Stansbery
20 days ago

I would rather have something like this ( https://amzn.to/49TC2gZ ) than a Raspberry Pi. By the time you end up buying all of the extra items needed to assemble it into something that works like the above. The cost plus the amount of time required to put it all together adds up to if not more than an already built PC.

tonny
tonny
17 days ago

You could get N100 minipc with same price on AliExpress. And N100 > N5105. And yes, if you don’t plant to use GPIO, x86 minipc is a no brainer.

Salvador
Salvador
20 days ago

There are no 4k h265 videos on youtube afaik…

Salvador
Salvador
20 days ago

H264*

Anonymous
Anonymous
20 days ago

According to this, YouTube was still serving out H.264 sometimes in 2022. Not sure about 4K though.

streaminglearningcenter.com/codecs/which-codecs-does-youtube-use.html

Get a YouTube downloader that shows all of the available formats and H.264/AVC might be listed along with the quality.

Anonymous
Anonymous
20 days ago

I tested my “new” Skylake OptiPlex system by loading 4K YouTube videos and it worked well despite lacking VP9/AV1 hardware decode. Forgot which one it used in my test, but it’s going to be either VP9 or AV1 almost certainly. The Intel N100 has performance similar to 4c/4t 35W TDP Skylake chips, but has VP9, H.265, and AV1 HW decode.

persondb
persondb
20 days ago

Why was the Pi tested with PCIe 3.0?
It doesn’t officially support it and it’s like an overclock, it could fail at any moment, stability is not guaranteed.

Nita Vesa
Nita Vesa
20 days ago

Personally, I consider Intel’s QuickSync to be a major advantage for the N97/N100. QuickSync is awesome and it’s extremely well supported these days.

lifelion
lifelion
19 days ago

I wonder if it would be possible for RPi-like SBC to support SODIMM DDR3 or DDR4?
That could lower the cost of the board?
When you want to buy a 4 or 8 Go RPi5, you are not sure whether 4 Go would be enough, so you look at the 8 Go version, look at the price and start to hesitate and think that N100 will be a better option. With a SODIMM version, you could recycle a memory card found in a drawer and end up with 32 Go. No need to hesitate.

tkaiser
tkaiser
19 days ago

> I wonder if it would be possible for RPi-like SBC to support SODIMM DDR3 or DDR4?

The SoCs usually lack the data lines needed to talk to the SPD EEPROM on the DIMM to get the timings.

Paul Jurczak
Paul Jurczak
19 days ago

There are smaller N100 mini-PCs. I have a Topton model on my desk, which is 72*72*44.5mm in size, see https://www.toptonpc.com/product/2th-gen-pocket-mini-pc-alder-lake-n100-quad-core-12gb-ddr5/

back2future
back2future
18 days ago

[ Is there a todays/new hardware for USB with dma or memory shift registers for high speed gpio applications available? (thx) ]

back2future
back2future
16 days ago

[ If the device needs a separate OS/firmware (kernel adjusted for embedded and interactive, modifiable system or real time firmware with ‘single use’ functionality) anyway, it’s probably more useful connecting with LAN options (ethernet or wireless) with wired Gbit support available (vs. USB2.0 or even 3.0), nowadays(?)
Thanks for the example. ]

Kessl
Kessl
17 days ago

You got a kind of shitty N100 Mini PC there. The ASUS PN42 has a idle desktop power of 5-6W. Most likely in large parts due to a better quality power supply.
And the N100 was already a poor server, my N4000 drops below 4W idle Desktop.

technik007cz
technik007cz
9 days ago

Raspberry Pi is credit sized SBC and I don’t think the Intel N100 would fit this small factor due to high heat dissipation needs. Forget what the Intel specification says, because the real consumption due to many their BIOSes and MOBO manufacturers breaking allowed power limits, is usually higher to get more performance. But with this more performance more heat is coming what would make most of Intel CPU not suitable for credit sized computers like Raspberry Pi is.

Khadas VIM4 SBC