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New Year's Grab Bag RoadTest - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 5
Product was easy to use: 10
Support materials were available: 10
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 55 / 60
  • RoadTest: New Year's Grab Bag RoadTest
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: BeagleBone Black, Raspberry Pi3 Model B+
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: none

  • Detailed Review:

    Introduction:

     

    Thanks to Element 14 for the opportunity to thoroughly test this product to the best of my capability with the support test equipment and test aids that I have at hand.  For this roadtest I will be testing the performance the original Raspberry Pi 1 B (delivered item), the latest Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and a Beaglebone Black (BBB) that I had at hand and compare the results, emphasizing the differences relating to performance and features.

     

    The Technical differences are:

     

    Hardware /Software:

     

    This is the product I received:

    rpi 1 front

    Raspberry Pi 1 Model B (front side).

     

    rpi 1 rear

    Raspberry Pi 1 Model B (back side).

     

     

    No software was provided.

     

     

     

    These are the items used that I have on hand:

     

    3bplus

    Raspberry PI 3 Model B Plus.

     

     

    BBB

    Beagle Bone Black (BBB).

     

     

    k400r

    Logitech K400r keyboard.

     

     

    ac adapter

    5 volt 3 Amp ac to dc power adapter.

     

    microSD

    Sandisk U3 32GB µSD Memory Card.

     

     

    p4460

    P4460 Kill A Watt Power Meter.

     

     

    Discussion:

     

    As you can see from the pictures and comparison table above, there are many physical differences among these three devices.  However, they all serve the same basic function as a Single Board Computer (SBC).

     

     

    I will concentrate on testing the performance of the CPU, RAM throughput, Ethernet throughput, power consumption and CPU temperature. 

     

    The first steps are to load the following latest standard software on the Raspberry Pi's in the following sequence:

     

        1.  Raspbian Stretch Lite OS dated 18 April 2018, Kernel Version 4.14.34-v7+.

     

        2.  Run update and upgrade to make sure that the latest Linux drivers are in place.

     

        3.  Setup static IP so that I can SSH into the Raspberry Pi from my desktop and disconnect the monitor and keyboard from the Raspberry Pi and also know exactly where the Raspberry Pi is located(IP) on my home network at all times.

     

        4.  Install samba software so I can easily transfer data to my desktop for analysis using Microsoft Excel and inclusion into this report.

     

        5.  Install sysbench 0.4.12 to perform benchmark cpu and memory tests.

     

        6.  The resultant software on the microSD will run on both the Pi 3 B Plus and Pi 1 B with the use of a microSD to SD card adapter.

     

    The same installation procedure was performed on the BBB except the latest firmware loaded was:

        Linux beaglebone 4.14.71-ti-r80 #1 SMP PREEMPT Fri Oct 5 23:50:11 UTC 2018 armv7l GNU/Linux.

     

     

    TESTS:

     

    1. CPU Performance:

     

    The following results were obtained using sysbench running primes generator on both Raspberry Pi's and BBB set at 1 thread or core:

     

    rpi1cpurpi3cpubbbcpu

       RPi1 Model B CPU running 1 core                                                     RPi3 Model B+ CPU running 1 core                                                    BeagleBone Black CPU running 1 core     

     

    With 1 core exercised the RPi1 is significantly slower than both the RPi3 (66% slower) and the BeagleBone Black (43.8% slower).  The biggest reason for this is the fact that the RPi1 CPU is only running at 700 MHz whereas the RPi3 CPU is running at 1400 MHz and the BBB CPU is running at 1000 MHz. 

     

     

     

    The following results were obtained using sysbench running primes generator on the RPi3 Model B+ set at 4 threads or cores:

     

    rpi3cpu4

       RPi3 Model B+ CPU running 4 cores

     

     

    With  4 cores exercised on the RPi3, the RPi1 1 core is 91.4% slower!

     

     

     

     

     

    2. Memory Performance:

     

     

    The following results were obtained using sysbench running speed tests in the read mode on both Raspberry Pi's and BBB set at 1 thread or core:

     

    rpi1readrpi3readbbbread

       RPi1 Model B memory read running 1 core                                      RPi3 Model B+ memory read running 1 core                                    BeagleBone Black memory read running 1 core

     

     

    With 1 core excercised, the RPi1 shows a 87.2% reduction in throughput compared to the RPi3 and a 31.1% reduction in throughput compared to the BBB.  Apparently, the CPU speed also has a great effect on memory performance also.

     

     

    The following results were obtained using sysbench running speed tests in the read mode on the RPi3 Model B+ set at 4 threads or cores:

     

    rpi3read4

      RPi3 Model B+ CPU running 4 cores

     

    With  4 cores exercised on the RPi3, the RPi1 1 core shows a 96.2% reduction in throughput!

     

     

     

     

    The following results were obtained using sysbench running speed tests in the write mode on both Raspberry Pi's and BBB set at 1 thread or core:

     

    rpi1writerpi3writebbbwrite

       RPi1 Model B memory write running 1 core                                      RPi3 Model B+ memory write running 1 core                                BeagleBone Black memory write running 1 core

     

     

    With 1 core excercised, the RPi1 shows a 87.9% reduction in throughput compared to the RPi3 and a 45.6% reduction in throughput compared to the BBB.  Apparently, the CPU speed has a great effect on memory performance.

     

     

    The following results were obtained using sysbench running speed tests in the write mode on the RPi3 Model B+ set at 4 threads or cores:

     

    rpi3write4

       RPi3 Model B+ CPU running 4 cores

     

     

    With  4 cores exercised on the RPi3, the RPi1 1 core shows a 96.6% reduction in throughput!

     

     

     

     

     

    3. Ethernet LAN Performance:

     

    The following results were obtained using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 on a Windows PC connected to the Raspberry Pi and BBB with a 1 Gb/s LAN Switch measuring sequential file throughput.  The U3 Sandisk microSD is specified at a minimum of 30 MB/s speed for both read and write.  As a baseline, I measured the throughput of the microSD card on the PC through the USB 3.0 interface and recorded a 43.92 MB/s Read and 42.33 MB/s performance. This therefore represents the upper limit of the testing capabilities for this setup.  In other words, as long as any results I get with the Pi or BBB is less than 42 MB/s I know that the microSD card is not bottle-necking the Pi or BBB results.

     

    rpi1etherrpi3etherbbbether

       RPi1 Model B 10/100 Ethernet                                                                           RPi3 Model B+ 10/100/1000 Ethernet                                                             BeagleBone Black 10/100 Ethernet

     

     

    The RPi1 shows a 17.8 MB/s read (transfer from Pi to PC) throughput decrease which translates into a 77.2% reduction and a 11.5 MB/s write (transfer from PC to Pi) throughput decrease which translates into a 62.4% reduction when compared to the RPi3.  The upgrade to a 1 GB/s LAN on the Raspberry Pi3 B Plus shows a tremendous increase over the 100 MB/s LAN of the RPi1.

     

    When compared to the BBB, the RPi1, shows a 6.2 MB/s read (transfer from Pi to PC) throughput decrease which translates into a 54.3% reduction and a 3.8 MB/s write (transfer from PC to Pi) throughput decrease which translates into a 36.9% reduction.  Here again I suppose that the slower CPU in the RPi1 is mainly responsible for the decreased performance over the BBB.

     

     

     

    5.  Boot Time:

     

    Boot time was measured at  30 seconds for the RPi1, 14.8 seconds for the RPi3 and 30 seconds for the BBB.  This is to be expected since the RPi3 has a 1400 MHz 4 core CPU.

     

     

     

     

    6.  Power Performance:

     

    Power measurements were taken using the P4460 KillAWatt Power Meter connected to the 5 VDC adapter and in conjunction with the CPU performance tests previously described.  The efficiency of the 5 VDC adapter was calculated by connecting a 10 ohm load to the 5 Vdc output of the adapter and reading the corresponding P4460 value and determining the difference from 2.5 Watts.  This calculated efficiency is 73%.

     

     

    The readings annotated below were therefore adjusted by .73:

     

    There is a 0.69 W draw at standby for the RPi 1B vs. a 0.55 W draw for the RPi 3B+ vs. 1.1 W draw for the BBB with Ethernet, HDMI and keyboard dongle connected.  This behavior reflects input design differences among these models with the BBB being the biggest power consumer at standby.

     

    At idle, there is a 2.08 W draw for the RPi 1B vs. a 2.56 W draw for the RPi 3B+ vs. 1.53 W draw for the BBB with Ethernet, HDMI and keyboard dongle connected.  The RPi 3B+ shows the largest power draw since it contains the 1400 MHz 4-core CPU plus many other onboard modules, such as, WiFi, POE, 1 GHz LAN, etc.  The BBB actually shows the lowest idle power consumption of the three.

     

    At 1 core full load,  there is a 2.12 W draw for the RPi 1B vs. a 3.25 W draw for the RPi 3B+ vs. 1.97 W draw for the BBB with Ethernet connected.  As expected the RPi 3B+ again shows the largest power draw but surprisingly the BBB shows the lowest even though it possesses a 1000 MHz CPU.

     

    The BBB seems to be the most power efficient of the three SBCs.    Although the power consumption increases for the RPi 3B+ are reasonable considering the increased performance and capabilities realized.

     

     

     

     

    7. Temperature Performance:

     

    Temperature measurements were taken by opening a separate Raspberry Pi SSH window on the PC and periodically running the command:

     

    "vcgencmd measure_temp"

     

    For the BBB temperature readings were taken using a contact less infrared temperature reader aimed at the CPU chip.

     

    The ambient temperature during these measurements was 15 degrees centigrade:

     

     

     

    At idle the RPi 1B is 3.4 degrees C cooler than the RPi 3B+ and 5.2 degrees C hotter than the BBB in HDMI mode.  In headless mode and idle the RPi 1B is 5 degrees C cooler than the RPi 3B+ and 7.5 degrees C hotter than the BBB.  Here again the BBB is the winner with the coolest idle temperature.

     

    A full load the RPi 1B is 11.4 degrees C cooler than the RPi 3B+ and 1.9 degrees C hotter than the BBB in headless mode.  Here again the BBB is the coolest and with the 4 cores of the RPi 3B+ it is significantly hotter.

     

     

     

     

    Conclusion:

     

    The original Raspberry Pi Version 1B, although outdated when considering CPU, Memory throughput and LAN performance, is still a viable Single Board Computer (SBC).  It is stable, power efficient and still runs the latest version of Raspbian software.  There are even some characteristics that the original RPi possesses that later versions don't, such as, a video composite RCA jack output, full SD card slot and a FDX (full duplex) LED indicator.

     

     

    All test results described above are contained in the attached Excel spreadsheet (RPI 1B.xlsx).


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