The Raspberry Pi has only been available for a few days, but already those boards are heading through the post office and onto workbenches around the world. From the initial impressions, we already know this quad-core ARMv7 system boots in about half the time, but other than that, there aren’t many real benchmarks that compare the new Raspberry Pi 2 to the older Raspi 1 or other similar tiny Linux dev boards. This is the post that fixes that.
A word of warning, though: these are benchmarks, and benchmarks aren’t real-world use cases. However, we can glean a little bit of information about the true performance of the Raspberry Pi 2 with a few simple tools.
Double Precision Linpack
Raspberry Pi Model B+ (700 MHz): 40.64 Mflops Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (1000 MHz)*: 92.88 Mflops *using one core
Dhrystone Version 2.1
Raspberry Pi Model B+ (700 MHz): Dhrystones per Second: 1481481 VAX MIPS rating = 843.19 Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (1000 MHz)*: Dhrystones per Second: 2085024 VAX MIPS rating = 1186.70 *using one core
There were a few questions if the graphics capability of the Raspberry Pi 2 have been improved. Luckily, we can test this easily. As expected, there is no appreciable difference in the OpenGL capability of the Raspi 1 and Raspi 2. Both tests were run at 1280×720 resolution:
Raspberry Pi Model B+ (700 MHz): Triangles WireFrame Shaded Shaded+ Textured 900+ 120.02 120.01 84.77 76.70 9000+ 39.23 39.16 29.29 22.75 18000+ 19.91 19.86 16.98 12.67 36000+ 9.98 10.00 9.21 6.68 Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (1000 MHz)*: Triangles WireFrame Shaded Shaded+ Textured 900+ 120.10 120.00 88.26 80.84 9000+ 40.77 40.61 30.45 24.19 18000+ 20.68 20.62 17.64 13.63 36000+ 10.39 10.37 9.57 7.35 *using one core
Single Core Python Performance
Finally, a real-world use case. Being able to do stuff fast in Python is a big part of what makes the Raspberry Pi cool, and there’s a simple, somewhat standard way of figuring this out: finding all the prime numbers below 1 million. Both of these tests were run with Python 2. The Raspberry Pi 2 was only using one core. The Raspi 2 ended up being more than twice as fast as the Raspi 1; the Raspi 1 completed the task in 51 minutes, the Raspi 2 in 21 minutes.
Raspberry Pi Model B+ (700 MHz): found 78497 primes under 1 million in 51:32.034 Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (1000 MHz)*: found 78497 primes under 1 million in 21:19.825 *using one core
Raspi 2 vs. BeagleBone Black
The fight everyone has been waiting for. As of a week ago, if you wanted a relatively high-power board with a great community, you were looking at the BeagleBone. Now, not so much. With nbench, the single-core performance of the Raspi 2 is very comparable to the BeagleBone Black:
Raspberry Pi Model B+ (700 MHz): INTEGER INDEX : 16.100 FLOATING-POINT INDEX : 5.568 Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (1000 MHz)*: INTEGER INDEX : 22.322 FLOATING-POINT INDEX: 9.578 BeagleBone Black (1000 MHz): INTEGER INDEX : 23.314 FLOATING-POINT INDEX: 2.976 *using one core
For integer performance, the Raspi 2 handedly beats the Raspi 1. The Raspi 2 and BB Black are comparable. Floating point is oddly low on the BeagleBone Black, and I’m going to chalk that up to me not setting the compiler options correctly.
The stuff I should have put in the lede
Retro console emulation! Mario Kart and Ocarina of Time and Conker’s Bad Fur Day! Nobody actually builds stuff with the Raspberry Pi, it’s just an odd form of nostalgic consumerism wrapped up in a faddish ‘making’ trend!
The original Raspberry Pi saw a lot of emulator use, but it was limited: the Pi 1 could handle the NES, SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive, and other earlier consoles with ease. Emulator performance for N64 and original Playstation games was just barely unplayable. Now, the Raspi 2 can easily handle N64 and PSX games. [HoZyVN] tried out N64’s Mario Kart and PSX’s Spyro the Dragon. They’re playable, and an entire generation rushed out to Microcenter to relive their glory days of sitting with their faces embedded in a console television drinking Sunny D all day.
The original Raspberry Pi was an interesting educational tool, but it was not a usable computer. I used a Raspi 1 as a workbench computer for about a week. It was slow, and it was terrible. The Raspberry Pi 2 is perfectly usable as a small, cheap, and portable desktop system, and the added power opens up a few doors on what’s is possible with a $35 computer.
When you consider the community support of the Raspberry Pi, thousands of random libraries on Github, and a huge amount of boards that already exist for the Raspberry Pi, this is probably the best small Linux board available today. If you need anything more powerful, you’ll be moving up to a ‘real’ laptop or desktop.