February 16th 2015

Benchmarking the Raspberry Pi

raspberry pi
Since I now have various models of the Raspberry Pi sitting on my desk, I figured I’d benchmark them (to satisfy my own curiosity). Obviously, the new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is faster, that’s a no brainer, given the improved spec of the system.

A few points before I begin. My Raspberry Pi Model B is the version with 512MB RAM. As for cases, my Model B is in an original Pibow case, the other 2 devices are encased within Pibow Coupes. All have 16GB class 10 SD Cards in them. No overclocking, no overvolting. I’m not going to list the full spec of each of the devices; this page contains information for each revision.

The benchmarking tools came from Roy Longbottom. Longbottom’s site provides a comprehensive library of benchmarking tools, along with an explanation of what each of the tests actually do.

Here’s a summary of the tests I ran.

Whetstone Benchmark
Raspberry Pi Model B Raspberry Pi Model B+ Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
MWIPS (million whetstones instructions per second) 270.808 272.801 530.060
secs 10.044 9.934 9.980
Dhrystone Benchmark
Raspberry Pi Model B Raspberry Pi Model B+ Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
Nanoseconds one Dhrystone run 671.88 668.75 370.00
Dhrystones per Second 1488372 1495327 2702703
VAX MIPS rating 847.11 851.07 1538.25
Linpack Double Precision Unrolled Benchmark
Raspberry Pi Model B Raspberry Pi Model B+ Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
MFLOPS (mega floating-point operations per second) 41.76 44.02 119.79
Livermore Loops Benchmark (overall ratings)
Raspberry Pi Model B Raspberry Pi Model B+ Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
Maximum 146.7 148.6 250.1
Average 64.4 64.7 126.6
Geomean 54.8 55.0 115.4
Harmean 46.7 46.7 104.3
Minimum 21.3 17.6 41.8

I also ran a few temperature tests though I’m not convinced the results I got were accurate. The tests showed that the Model B produced temperature readings which were 7-8 degrees celcius higher than the other 2 Pis. It had been sitting running constantly for a few days prior to testing so I’d expect it to be warmer in this case. The other 2 Pis had only just been switched on.

So there you have it. The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is definitely faster (duh). Still, I think the figures presented in each of the tables make for an interesting comparison.

February 14th 2015

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B and a camera flash

You may have heard about an issue with the new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B computers which were released recently. If you haven’t, the story is that the Pi will unexpectedly reboot if a camera flash is triggered too close to the computer. Apparently it’s caused by the photoelectric effect, which is very interesting. The camera has to be relatively close for it to work though and I don’t think it’s a huge issue. Cool though!

My conclusion: the Pi is shy, and there’s nothing wrong with being shy.

I managed to replicate the issue, and I have posted a video of it on YouTube.

February 14th 2015

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B- an overview

Last Monday, the Raspberry Pi foundation announced the launch of the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. Being a massive geek, I had to purchase one, and on Tuesday evening, one landed on my doorstep.

The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is a huge improvement compared to both the first and second revisions of the original Raspberry Pi Model B. The original Model B had a 700 MHz single-core ARM1176JZF-S processor and 256MB RAM. The newly released Raspberry Pi 2 Model B features a 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU and 1GB RAM. Saying that it’s much faster is an understatement!

The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B also features 4 USB ports, 40 GPIO pins, HDMI port, Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio jack/composite video port, camera interface, display interface, micro SD card slot and a VideoCore IV 3D graphics core. All for just under £30 which is an absolute bargain!

The new Raspberry Pi will also be capable of running Windows 10. Microsoft announced the version of Windows 10 for the Pi will be free and will run natively. Currently, the Maker community is being encouraged to register as a Windows Internet of Things Developer. The link is- https://dev.windows.com/en-us/featured/raspberrypi2support.

Though I haven’t yet had much time to play with the new Raspberry Pi, I’m really excited about the development. I think the foundation are making computing education more accessible and affordable. Purchasing my first Pi inadvertently taught me about electronics, and it even got me soldering again (something I hadn’t done since my first year of High School). If a Pi has had that effect on me, a seasoned nerd, it must be fantastic for those just starting to learn about computers.

Anyway, I’m off to think up some new projects for my new Pi!

February 12th 2015

Benchmarking Resources

Since I have a variety of Raspberry Pi models in my possession, I wanted to benchmark them, out of sheer curiosity. When looking for suitable benchmarking programs, I found a link to Roy Longbottom’s site, where he has a large collection of such tools. The website can be found at http://www.roylongbottom.org.uk/Raspberry%20Pi%20Benchmarks.htm.

I’ve got the results from my Model B, Model B Plus, and the newly released Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. Once I’ve analysed the log files produced, I’ll write a blog detailing my findings. Admittedly this is the first time I’ve tried benchmarking anything!

February 12th 2015

Shrek The Musical, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, 7th February 2015

shrek

First solo theatre trip of the year! On Saturday, I popped to Aberdeen for the matinee performance of Shrek the Musical, bagging a 4th row seat. It’s not a musical I was desperate to see however, it had a successful run in the West End, and I enjoyed the film. I was curious as to how the film would translate into a stage adaptation.

How did it translate? Quite nicely! Good story, great singing, amazing costumes, colourful sets and plenty of humour. Dean Chisnall played Shrek and he had a powerful voice! Good facial expressions too. Idriss Kargbo was Shrek’s sidekick Donkey- he was great, fab comic timing. Unfortunately the character of Donkey irritates me (nothing to do with Kargbo’s performance, the character annoyed me in the films….too clingy).

Faye Brookes was fantastic as Princess Fiona too- probably the strongest voice in the cast? Of course, Lord Farquaad (Gerard Carey) was hilarious. Obviously, Carey had to walk around on his knees to play the character. His lack of stature led to some great jokes. Definitely one of the highlights of the show. I was particularly impressed by the 20-30ft dragon puppet that was on stage though. I think it took 3-4 puppeteers to move her around and it was flawless. You could almost believe there was a large animatronic dragon sitting in front of you.

There were a few references to other musicals thrown in along the way too- the nod to Wicked made me smile. I believe there was also a reference to RENT that I missed…and I call myself a fan!

My only gripe is that the songs don’t seem to have been that memorable. The only one that sort of stuck with me the next day was “Big Bright Beautiful World”. Still, I really enjoyed the show, and it was a great day out.