Dragon12
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Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:12 am

My Linux desktop computer has just died and now I'm trying to decide what to do next; buy a PI 3 or a laptop. I have two PIs, a model 1B and a model 2. One for general use (mostly playing with arduino and python) and the other has MCOS installed and makes an excellent media player. I'm sort of looking for a justification to buy a model 3 PI.

The model 2 makes a reasonable web browser and plays music and videos with omxplayer but I'm unsure about Claws mail. I have two IMAP accounts and I'm reluctant to download several thousand e-mails to find out. I'm not sure if Claws will import my Thunderbird addressbook. And while I think of it, will the Chromium browser import my Firefox bookmarks? I wonder if my HP laser printer/scanner will work on the PI? It has always worked well under Linux previously.

I get the impression that Claws does not handle HTML e-mails by default. Could this be a problem when it comes to receiving e-mails that contain pictures and video clips? And what about playing an embedded video? Can MP4 files, for instance, be linked to omxplayer or a some other video player?

I use Gimp occasionally and keePassX password safe quite often. That pretty well sums up how I used my desktop computer.

I have a couple of USB external disk drives which I'm sure will come in handy.

fruitoftheloom
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:51 am

Dragon12 wrote:My Linux desktop computer has just died and now I'm trying to decide what to do next; buy a PI 3 or a laptop. I have two PIs, a model 1B and a model 2. One for general use (mostly playing with arduino and python) and the other has MCOS installed and makes an excellent media player. I'm sort of looking for a justification to buy a model 3 PI.

The model 2 makes a reasonable web browser and plays music and videos with omxplayer but I'm unsure about Claws mail. I have two IMAP accounts and I'm reluctant to download several thousand e-mails to find out. I'm not sure if Claws will import my Thunderbird addressbook. And while I think of it, will the Chromium browser import my Firefox bookmarks? I wonder if my HP laser printer/scanner will work on the PI? It has always worked well under Linux previously.

I get the impression that Claws does not handle HTML e-mails by default. Could this be a problem when it comes to receiving e-mails that contain pictures and video clips? And what about playing an embedded video? Can MP4 files, for instance, be linked to omxplayer or a some other video player?

I use Gimp occasionally and keePassX password safe quite often. That pretty well sums up how I used my desktop computer.

I have a couple of USB external disk drives which I'm sure will come in handy.
I no longer have a x86 machine, replaced by a RPi 3B, see my sig......


firefox-esr web browser and icedove (Thunderbird rebranded) mail client can both be installed from the Raspbian Jessie repositories.

I use a HP Envy 4500 WiFi Printer set up in CUPS but using the hplip driver.

kweb suite includes omxplayerGUI and plays most sound and video formats.

LibreOffice Suite is as good as MS Office for day to day use....

chromium-browser is OK, 2 or 3 Tabs open is about the limit though..

I rarely use Gimp and never used KeepPassX.


The choice is only yours, but any excuse to buy another RPi is a good excuse
Retired disgracefully.....

peterlite
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:22 am

All the software works on a Pi 3B until you run into disk access speed. I have thousands of email in plain Thunderbird on Linux Mint notebook with SSD. The Pi 3B USB2 limits SSD access speed. I could have perhaps a thousand or two email on a 3B with an SSD but a search or scan would be too slow with more than that. The same limit happens with other files. My SSD on the notebook is more than 20 times faster than the same disk on a Pi and some common searches take a couple of minutes on the notebook. That would be an hour on the Pi.

The graphics are the same on every model and fast enough to watch but not edit any video. The single processor of the Zero is too slow for most of what I do. The four processor 3B is excellent for most things and runs on only 2 or 3 cores due to the disk access speed limitation. The 1 GB of memory is rarely used with 0.6 GB about the maximum used. I could happily use a 3B when working on one isolated project but not when I want to scan my accumulation of projects.

For my next project, I am using a Zero with a 128 GB SSD because the Pi USB2 interface can handle a search of 128 GB in a reasonable time. My notebook has a 1 TB SSD and is close to a 2 TB upgrade. I would not waste a 1 TB drive on a Pi.

Do you have 5000 files or 50000 or 500000?

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:48 am

Regardless of how you choose to go, if you get a Pi3B you can use it at least as a temporary desktop. If it turns out to be too limited for your needs, you're only out the cost of a Pi3B and anything you didn't already have to support it. If you go for the x86 replacement first, you'll never know if the Pi could have done the job. It's a pretty cheap experiment.

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HawaiianPi
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:00 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:Regardless of how you choose to go, if you get a Pi3B you can use it at least as a temporary desktop. If it turns out to be too limited for your needs, you're only out the cost of a Pi3B and anything you didn't already have to support it. If you go for the x86 replacement first, you'll never know if the Pi could have done the job. It's a pretty cheap experiment.
This would be my advice as well.

In my opinion, the Pi3 is not fast enough to be a primary computer. The limited I/O speed, RAM and processing power results in frustratingly slow performance at times. But I suppose it all depends on what you want to do with it (and how patient you are). I do use my Pi3 as a secondary desktop for lighter tasks and it works well enough that it has its own spot on my computer desk with its own screen keyboard and mouse.

Image

I have used GIMP on the Pi3, and it worked fine (depending on the size of the images you are working on). I pretty much use webmail now, so no idea about Claws mail. Sorry.

But, as W. H. Heydt said, if you already have the accessories you'll need for a Pi3 desktop, it's a pretty cheap experiment, and an excuse to buy another Pi. ;)
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Dragon12
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:43 am

Thank you for your replies.

After messing around with my Raspberry Pi 2 for the day I've decided to buy a Pi 3. There are a few programmes that I won't be able to run but it will do until I decide what I'm going to do with my dead desktop computer. I haven't decided what mail and browser I might use. I have a fairly large Thunderbird address-book and about 15 years of Firefox bookmarks. Fortunately, I backed up my desktop computer just before it failed.

klricks
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:04 pm

Dragon12 wrote:Thank you for your replies.

After messing around with my Raspberry Pi 2 for the day I've decided to buy a Pi 3. There are a few programmes that I won't be able to run but it will do until I decide what I'm going to do with my dead desktop computer. I haven't decided what mail and browser I might use. I have a fairly large Thunderbird address-book and about 15 years of Firefox bookmarks. Fortunately, I backed up my desktop computer just before it failed.
Which 2B version (V1.1 or V1.2)?
If you have 2B V1.1 then a 3B will have better performance.
If you have 2B V1.2 then that is essentially a 3B without WIFI & BT and will have near the same performance.
Unless specified otherwise my response is based on the latest and fully updated Raspbian Buster w/ Desktop OS.

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scruss
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:13 pm

KeePassX works well for me on a Raspberry Pi 3, but not KeePassX 2. It's written in Mono, takes a very long time to start up, then it immediately crashes.
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buja
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:30 pm

klricks wrote: If you have 2B V1.2 then that is essentially a 3B without WIFI & BT and will have near the same performance.
You would think so, but the 3B is still considerably faster than a 2B V1.2.
I did some tests with HardInfo (CPU based, no disk access):
2B V1.1: 293.5 seconds, speed 15.3
2B V1.2: 255.6 seconds, speed 18.6
3B : 189.0 seconds, speed 24.9

By the way: the numbers for my new x86 desktop are 7.3 seconds, speed 737.8 :!:
In a more practical test: compiling the SC source code on a 3B took 52 seconds, my new desktop did it in 7 seconds. Still a big difference, but not so dramatic as the pure CPU tests.

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davidcoton
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:12 pm

buja wrote:
klricks wrote: If you have 2B V1.2 then that is essentially a 3B without WIFI & BT and will have near the same performance.
You would think so, but the 3B is still considerably faster than a 2B V1.2.
I did some tests with HardInfo (CPU based, no disk access):
2B V1.1: 293.5 seconds, speed 15.3
2B V1.2: 255.6 seconds, speed 18.6
3B : 189.0 seconds, speed 24.9
Because by default the new 2B is clocked slower to reduce overheating.
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HawaiianPi
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:49 pm

davidcoton wrote:Because by default the new 2B is clocked slower to reduce overheating.
Yes, as I understand it, the new Pi2 is clocked at the same speed the old one was (900MHz), so the performance difference is due to the more efficient SOC. Bump it up to 1.2GHz and you should see similar performance to the Pi3 (and you might want to add a heatsink and/or fan).
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MarkyV
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:08 pm

If you keep your Pi3 clean and mean you can use it for all the things that the majority of laptop users do - when I first booted up my Pi3 I was impressed at the speed for such a little machine - my usual work computers are a Mac Pro and an i7 16GB Intel PC - having said that I won't be using the Pi3 for my usual work load that is Audio and Video editing - but if you need email, word processing, basic image manipulation and web - no reason the Pi3 won't do the job.

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JRV
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:59 pm

I find it fast enough for everything I do except web browsing.
The fact that it only has 100 megabit Ethernet is also a no go for me. I need my gigabit LAN.

hippy
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:19 pm

HawaiianPi wrote:In my opinion, the Pi3 is not fast enough to be a primary computer. The limited I/O speed, RAM and processing power results in frustratingly slow performance at times. But I suppose it all depends on what you want to do with it (and how patient you are).
That is my opinion too. For some things it is absolutely fine. For others it is frustratingly slow. It may be a perfect replacement for some desktop systems but not all.

Buy a Pi 3B; if you find it is okay and you are happy with it then great. If not you haven't really wasted money as you will almost certainly find a use for it elsewhere. Even if as a present for someone else.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:05 pm

buja wrote:
klricks wrote: If you have 2B V1.2 then that is essentially a 3B without WIFI & BT and will have near the same performance.
You would think so, but the 3B is still considerably faster than a 2B V1.2.
I did some tests with HardInfo (CPU based, no disk access):
2B V1.1: 293.5 seconds, speed 15.3
2B V1.2: 255.6 seconds, speed 18.6
3B : 189.0 seconds, speed 24.9

By the way: the numbers for my new x86 desktop are 7.3 seconds, speed 737.8 :!:
In a more practical test: compiling the SC source code on a 3B took 52 seconds, my new desktop did it in 7 seconds. Still a big difference, but not so dramatic as the pure CPU tests.
The Pi2B2 uses the same SoC as the Pi3B, but it retains the default clock speed of the Pi2B (900MHz). So what your test shows (with regard to the Pi2B versions) is that the Cortex-A53 has a higher IPC than the Cortex-A9. But we knew that.

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buja
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:38 pm

Yes, but just like klricks I expected the 2B V1.2 to be just as fast as the 3B. It isn't, because of the difference in clock speed, but I only realized that after the tests and reading about it.

I agree with HawaiianPi and Hippy that the 3B comes very close to being a desktop replacement if you can live with some limitations.

jahboater
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:43 pm

klricks wrote: Which 2B version (V1.1 or V1.2)?
If you have 2B V1.1 then a 3B will have better performance.
If you have 2B V1.2 then that is essentially a 3B without WIFI & BT and will have near the same performance.
Yes, though the 2B V1.2 has a 900 Mhz stock clock speed, while the Pi3 is 1.2GHz. I've not tried overclocking the Pi2 to 1.2GHz.

peterlite
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:09 pm

The best investment for a general purpose Pi is a fast microSD card. The speed printed on the front of a card is no indication of actual performance. You need to look at reviews for write performance with small blocks. That is the type of speed you get when an application updates all the little files with settings. A Web browser page view or an email status change.

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HawaiianPi
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:26 am

peterlite wrote:The best investment for a general purpose Pi is a fast microSD card. The speed printed on the front of a card is no indication of actual performance. You need to look at reviews for write performance with small blocks. That is the type of speed you get when an application updates all the little files with settings. A Web browser page view or an email status change.
They key here is good random I/O performance. Most SD cards and USB flash drives are highly optimized for sequential I/O and have really terrible random I/O performance, but a lot of data access computers do is non-sequential.

The best bang for the buck in a card for the Pi computers is the Samsung EVO+ (EVO Plus) series. They have random I/O performance better than most cards that cost several times their price, and good sequential performance as well. The difference on my Pi3 was quite noticeable when I switched to the EVO+ cards.
My mind is like a browser. 27 tabs are open, 9 aren't responding,
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jahboater
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:27 am

HawaiianPi wrote: The best bang for the buck in a card for the Pi computers is the Samsung EVO+ (EVO Plus) series. They have random I/O performance better than most cards that cost several times their price, and good sequential performance as well. The difference on my Pi3 was quite noticeable when I switched to the EVO+ cards.
I'll second that. They are also reliable. 16 or 32 GB cards are cheap now.

Dragon12
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:11 am

My experiment in using a Raspberry Pi as a desktop replacement has not gone very well at all.

Initially everything seemed to be going well. Even Firefox, although a little sluggish at times, worked well. Where I ran into real problems was with mail retrieval.

I installed Icedove and proceeded to download my mail. Gmail went fairly quickly but mail from my ISP was very slow, not helped, no doubt, by the large number of e-mail messages that I have on the server. After two solid days I had retrieved around about 150mb of mail. Then all of a sudden mail started disappearing from my inbox. Alarmed I thought "this can't be happening", but sure enough my ISP's web mail, which is generally slow anyway, showed that my inbox is indeed empty. Mail that I had previously sorted into their own directories, using Thunderbird on my now dead desktop computer, seems still to be intact. Those directories should still contain around 2.5gb of mail.

So, while not a complete disaster, I do have a backup which is now two weeks old, I'd rather that this hadn't happen.

peterlite
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:46 am

Mail clients can be set to delete mail on the server after download or to leave them on the server. When I use several computing thingies to retrieve mail, I set them all to leave mail on the server for a long time. I can then fire any device at any time and see all the mail.

Dragon12
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:39 am

Ah, that may be it. I normally leave the mail on the server. In my haste setting up the account I may have overlooked that setting.

Thank you.

Dragon12
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:14 am

That wasn't it. The default setting is to leave mail on the server. I think I've simply overloaded the Raspberry Pi with too much mail. I tried to compact the mail directories, off line, but Icedove crashed after the third directory. Icedove is also very sluggish, even off line. Off line, Top shows about 20% of memory used by Icedove and only a low percentage of CPU use. On line Icedove used almost 100% of the CPU at times.

FinnCoding
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Re: Is a PI 3 a viable desktop replacement?

Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:54 am

DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!
I also was thinking about that.... Then i bought the RPI 3 and it was a horrible time.....
I was directly crawling back to my desktop normal pc.


Dragon12 wrote:My Linux desktop computer has just died and now I'm trying to decide what to do next; buy a PI 3 or a laptop. I have two PIs, a model 1B and a model 2. One for general use (mostly playing with arduino and python) and the other has MCOS installed and makes an excellent media player. I'm sort of looking for a justification to buy a model 3 PI.

The model 2 makes a reasonable web browser and plays music and videos with omxplayer but I'm unsure about Claws mail. I have two IMAP accounts and I'm reluctant to download several thousand e-mails to find out. I'm not sure if Claws will import my Thunderbird addressbook. And while I think of it, will the Chromium browser import my Firefox bookmarks? I wonder if my HP laser printer/scanner will work on the PI? It has always worked well under Linux previously.

I get the impression that Claws does not handle HTML e-mails by default. Could this be a problem when it comes to receiving e-mails that contain pictures and video clips? And what about playing an embedded video? Can MP4 files, for instance, be linked to omxplayer or a some other video player?

I use Gimp occasionally and keePassX password safe quite often. That pretty well sums up how I used my desktop computer.

I have a couple of USB external disk drives which I'm sure will come in handy.
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