Page 1 of 2

Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Sun May 14, 2017 6:16 pm
by Judicator
Hi everybody,
I own an ancient RPI model B the first one without mounting holes.
I used it a for some time when I bought it but it's been basically forgot in a drawer until a few days ago when I dusted it off, burned the last Raspbian image to an SD card and fired it on again.

Well I can't remember for sure how it was back then but I'm pretty sure it wasn't so slow like it is now.
It is so slow that even staying at the desktop moving the mouse pointer around makes its CPU work at 30%, it takes literally minutes to load web pages, even now while I'm typing this post the CPU is at 100% and I see these words written very, very slowly.

Even trying to do search on the forums was a pain.

The SD card I'm using is a 8GB one it is a micro SD placed in an adaptor so right now I can't check out its specifications.
I've downloaded the latest Raspbian image and set up basic features in Raspi config and ran update.
What can I do to make my RPI faster?
Thanks.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Sun May 14, 2017 8:12 pm
by W. H. Heydt
First, you're using a 700Mhz single core ARMv6 with 256MB RAM if it's really one of the original versions of the Pi. Raspbian has had a lot of work done to it and is much happier with a faster CPU (and GPU, for that matter) plus more RAM to work in. The current Pi3B is about 10 times faster and has 4 times the RAM. If you have been using a Pi2B or Pi3B recently, then--yes--an original Model B is going to feel pretty slow.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Sun May 14, 2017 8:22 pm
by jahboater
W. H. Heydt wrote:The current Pi3B is about 10 times faster and has 4 times the RAM.
and four CPU cores which makes a big difference.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Sun May 14, 2017 8:23 pm
by runboy93
Buy RPi 3 and see difference :D

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Sun May 14, 2017 11:58 pm
by mfa298
Judicator wrote:Hi everybody,
I own an ancient RPI model B the first one without mounting holes.
I used it a for some time when I bought it but it's been basically forgot in a drawer until a few days ago when I dusted it off, burned the last Raspbian image to an SD card and fired it on again.

Well I can't remember for sure how it was back then but I'm pretty sure it wasn't so slow like it is now.
It is so slow that even staying at the desktop moving the mouse pointer around makes its CPU work at 30%.
I don't think the original pi's have ever been that good at acting as a desktop. Limited ram and slow cpu won't make for a pleasant experience. In terms of equivalent performance think of a 20 year old pc!

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 6:01 pm
by Judicator
Thanks for the replies.
So you guys are telling me that my PI is basically unusable even for light web browsing, email, light documents?

Shoud I really abandon it and let it die and buy newer, powerful hardware? Isn't the PI about computing, projects, knowledge on cheap, less powerful hardware?
No noaning here, just asking a question. :)

Edit:
This is the board anyway.
Image

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 6:27 pm
by mfa298
Judicator wrote:Thanks for the replies.
So you guys are telling me that my PI is basically unusable even for light web browsing, email, light documents?
For desktop use then a newer pi3 will be a significant improvement over an original pi1

however:
Judicator wrote: Shoud I really abandon it and let it die and buy newer, powerful hardware? Isn't the PI about computing, projects, knowledge on cheap, less powerful hardware?
No noaning here, just asking a question. :)
Whilst the pi may not be ideal as a desktop there are many other things it can be used for. Media centre with libreelec, game emulation with the likes of retro pi, doing your own projects (code, electronics, etc.). I've got several pi1s running various things so they're still useful.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 6:45 pm
by Silverlock
I bought a couple of the original Bs years back. You could browse the web with them, but you wouldn't enjoy it. They do make fine media centres though; I'm still running XBMC on one of them to this day. It's a bit slow to get started, but it has no trouble at all playing videos or music once it's up and running.

Now, a RPi3 is an entirely different kettle of fish. I've been using one as my main computer for a few weeks now. It started out as an exercise in "let's see where this model falls down now". The one issue I ran into was with the uSD card being very very slow at inopportune times. Switching to an external hard drive I had laying around fixed that, and I haven't looked back since. It does pretty much everything I wanted it to. Browsing, mail, development, database work, you name it, it's doing it - and without "would you please hurry up you silly little machine" mutterings from me. Yes, there are some things it won't (or doesn't yet) do that my laptop did. WINE looks to be out of the question, obviously, so there's a couple of Windows programs that I have to come up with alternatives to. And no Google Earth, which still surprises me - and I'd be very happy to be corrected on this! But other than that... everything I had running on my x86 laptop is running here. Even a big Mono program that I absolutely depend on - and I had no expectation going in that that would work!

3 weeks in and I've yet to run into a show stopper. Some things I do a little differently, and some things are actually better. So far, so good.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 7:53 pm
by bensimmo
Judicator wrote:Thanks for the replies.
So you guys are telling me that my PI is basically unusable even for light web browsing, email, light documents?

Shoud I really abandon it and let it die and buy newer, powerful hardware? Isn't the PI about computing, projects, knowledge on cheap, less powerful hardware?
No noaning here, just asking a question. :)

Edit:
This is the board anyway.
Image
It is but for £5 you can buy a more capable Pi Zero or for £10 one with WiFi and Bluetooth.
And these are still not the best as a desktop especially with Chrome(ium), not so bad with the older browser they had.
Leave it as a Datalogging device reading sensors or something and get the Pi3 (or Pi2 at a pinch) for desktop, web browsing work.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 8:06 pm
by mattmiller
The original Pis were ideal to learn about physical computing using LEDs, switches etc and then with the many add-on boards that came along, to make it easy to turn a Pi into a robot vehicle

That was their USP - although there may have been some slightly exaggerated claims in some quarters that it was suitable for more - but they weren't really :)

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 10:42 pm
by DougieLawson
bensimmo wrote: It is but for £5 you can buy a more capable Pi Zero or for £10 one with WiFi and Bluetooth.
And these are still not the best as a desktop especially with Chrome(ium), not so bad with the older browser they had.
Leave it as a Datalogging device reading sensors or something and get the Pi3 (or Pi2 at a pinch) for desktop, web browsing work.
Nonsense. The original RPi1B and the newest RPiZW are running the same processor. The hardware board, power supply, HDMI etc. may have changes and the default overclocking parms changed but it's the same machine. The RPiZW is also crippled by not having a 100MB ethernet on the board - WiFi won't beat that.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 4:21 am
by W. H. Heydt
DougieLawson wrote:
bensimmo wrote: It is but for £5 you can buy a more capable Pi Zero or for £10 one with WiFi and Bluetooth.
And these are still not the best as a desktop especially with Chrome(ium), not so bad with the older browser they had.
Leave it as a Datalogging device reading sensors or something and get the Pi3 (or Pi2 at a pinch) for desktop, web browsing work.
Nonsense. The original RPi1B and the newest RPiZW are running the same processor. The hardware board, power supply, HDMI etc. may have changes and the default overclocking parms changed but it's the same machine. The RPiZW is also crippled by not having a 100MB ethernet on the board - WiFi won't beat that.
Amost... The Pi0 and Pi0W have BCM2835 SoCs that default to 1GHz instead of the original 700MHz, so the new boards are roughly 50% faster.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 4:39 am
by rpdom
W. H. Heydt wrote:Almost... The Pi0 and Pi0W have BCM2835 SoCs that default to 1GHz instead of the original 700MHz, so the new boards are roughly 50% faster.
But you can "overclock" the Pi1 to the same speed in most cases as long as the PSU is stable.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 6:03 am
by ghans
There where a lot of optimizations on the images since 2012. I would
check if a newer image doesn't bring an improvement on the old models
(better memcpy , fbturbo and pixman were introduced in the meantime)

ghans

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 6:52 am
by bensimmo
DougieLawson wrote:
bensimmo wrote: It is but for £5 you can buy a more capable Pi Zero or for £10 one with WiFi and Bluetooth.
And these are still not the best as a desktop especially with Chrome(ium), not so bad with the older browser they had.
Leave it as a Datalogging device reading sensors or something and get the Pi3 (or Pi2 at a pinch) for desktop, web browsing work.
Nonsense. The original RPi1B and the newest RPiZW are running the same processor. The hardware board, power supply, HDMI etc. may have changes and the default overclocking parms changed but it's the same machine. The RPiZW is also crippled by not having a 100MB ethernet on the board - WiFi won't beat that.

And the extra 256MB of Ram (double the ram)
And he would have to specifically know to boost to 1GHz to gain the extra 40% ?
He has a revision 1 board.
His troubles are not the speed of WiFi/Ethernet, though that may be a problem on the normal Zero.

Chromium is only just bearable on a Pi2 with quadcore and 1GB of RAM.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 10:38 am
by MarkR
It was never intended as a desktop replacement, people did find that later models (especially the Pi3) are useful as a low spec desktop.

Also the foundation did a lot of software optimisations. I haven't tried running a recent OS on an old Pi, but I imagine it's a lot better than the contemporary one.

"web browsing" is not a lightweight activity, modern web pages have a huge amount of content and a lot of things happening (video ads, anyone?)

Mark

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 11:24 am
by bensimmo
Just try the Google AIY website on a Pi2 and you want to punch it...
That first bit where you drag the Pi picture over something for no reason.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 5:19 pm
by timrowledge
First thing to do is load RISC OS onto a spare uSD and try it out. You'll be astonished how fast a UI can be on such an excruciatingly slow machine.

There are several problems here;
a) the code bloat and poor quality of most 'modern' software. Linux is most definitely not immune to this. Remember that not all that long ago a 33MHz intel 386 was a "massively powerful departmental server" machine!
b) the outrageous amount of crapulence you get delivered when requesting webpages
c) very much last in the list, the not very fast nature of a Pi 1.

Since you're not going to magically get a big improvement in a) overnight (though we're working on various bits of it) and I can only assume that b) will continue to get worse faster than hardware can improve, I'd suggest spending a whole US$35 to buy a Pi 3 as an ameliorative step. In the meantime, a Pi1 can be drafted into use as a weather station, a garage door controller, or all those fun projects you can find if you go back down the blog posts to the ancient times of 2013 etc.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 6:51 pm
by Judicator
Ok guys, I got it, I need to buy a modern PI, I think I'm going to wait for the new iteration of the PI since iirc the PI3 has been around for some time now and hopefully the new model is somewhat near in the future.

My little PI was overclocked to 950Mhz but the hardware is simply under powered. :)
I will follow the suggestions to use it as a media player hooked to a TV and maybe learn some Python.
In the mean time:
mfa298 wrote:
Judicator wrote:Thanks for the replies.
So you guys are telling me that my PI is basically unusable even for light web browsing, email, light documents?
For desktop use then a newer pi3 will be a significant improvement over an original pi1

however:
Judicator wrote: Shoud I really abandon it and let it die and buy newer, powerful hardware? Isn't the PI about computing, projects, knowledge on cheap, less powerful hardware?
No noaning here, just asking a question. :)
Whilst the pi may not be ideal as a desktop there are many other things it can be used for. Media centre with libreelec, game emulation with the likes of retro pi, doing your own projects (code, electronics, etc.). I've got several pi1s running various things so they're still useful.
Is libreelec better than Raspbian + Kodi?
ghans wrote:There where a lot of optimizations on the images since 2012. I would
check if a newer image doesn't bring an improvement on the old models
(better memcpy , fbturbo and pixman were introduced in the meantime)

ghans
MarkR wrote:It was never intended as a desktop replacement, people did find that later models (especially the Pi3) are useful as a low spec desktop.

Also the foundation did a lot of software optimisations. I haven't tried running a recent OS on an old Pi, but I imagine it's a lot better than the contemporary one.

"web browsing" is not a lightweight activity, modern web pages have a huge amount of content and a lot of things happening (video ads, anyone?)

Mark
I'm not sure I'm getting it right: are you guys telling me go back to older OSes?
timrowledge wrote:First thing to do is load RISC OS onto a spare uSD and try it out. You'll be astonished how fast a UI can be on such an excruciatingly slow machine.

There are several problems here;
a) the code bloat and poor quality of most 'modern' software. Linux is most definitely not immune to this. Remember that not all that long ago a 33MHz intel 386 was a "massively powerful departmental server" machine!
b) the outrageous amount of crapulence you get delivered when requesting webpages
c) very much last in the list, the not very fast nature of a Pi 1.

Since you're not going to magically get a big improvement in a) overnight (though we're working on various bits of it) and I can only assume that b) will continue to get worse faster than hardware can improve, I'd suggest spending a whole US$35 to buy a Pi 3 as an ameliorative step. In the meantime, a Pi1 can be drafted into use as a weather station, a garage door controller, or all those fun projects you can find if you go back down the blog posts to the ancient times of 2013 etc.
This looks intersting I'll give it a try for sure.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:07 pm
by ghans
Newer images should run faster than old ones. Even on first gen Raspberries.

ghans

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:11 pm
by mikerr
The original 256MB pi was short on ram for web browsing we used to set the memory split (GPU ram) to as low as possible to give more to the CPU:

Code: Select all

sudo raspi-config
Select advanced / Memory Split / 16

There's less of a need for that nowadays with the 512MB and 1GB models - but the 256MB needs all the ram it can get.

The slowness & "100%" cpu shown is likely running out of memory and hitting the swapfile.

Also use a lighter browser than the now default chrome
e.g. kweb:

Code: Select all

wget http://steinerdatenbank.de/software/kweb-1.7.8.tar.gz
tar -xzf kweb-1.7.8.tar.gz
cd kweb-1.7.8
./debinstall
viewtopic.php?f=66&t=40860

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:38 pm
by W. H. Heydt
Judicator wrote:Ok guys, I got it, I need to buy a modern PI, I think I'm going to wait for the new iteration of the PI since iirc the PI3 has been around for some time now and hopefully the new model is somewhat near in the future.
Either that or don't plan on doing things with a RPi1 that it isn't capable of doing at an acceptable, to you, speed.

I used Model B Pis for 4 years to act as terminals (*with* the GUI running and PuTTY as the terminal program) without issues. I was going to switch to B+ Pis simply to get the improved power handling when the Pi2B came out, so I switched to them. I'm still using v1.1 Pi2Bs for that and have no intent to "upgrade" any time in the foreseeable future.

Another Model B was my "alarmclock" until replaced with a P2Bv1.1, the replacement being for similar reasons. That Pi now has a HiFiBerry DAC+ and is mounted to an RPF 7" screen.
My little PI was overclocked to 950Mhz but the hardware is simply under powered. :)
I will follow the suggestions to use it as a media player hooked to a TV and maybe learn some Python.
The question should always be..."underpowered for *what*?"

My experience is that people lose sight of what Pis are and are for and generate expectations that a $35 computer will perform like a $1500 one. If you need the capabilities of a $1500 PC, then get that rather than expecting a $35 Pi to do the same things at the same speed.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:55 pm
by Strider64
I'll give you my experience that I just had. A couple of years ago I bought the Raspberry Pi B Version 2 (I believe). Being a scatterbrain I lost the Raspbian OS sd card for it (I probably used it for something else). Fast forward to today I want to build a birdwatching camera that will stream videos or pictures to my website. I notice when I installed the latest version of Raspbian OS that it was slower than a turtle. So I had three options, search the web for an older version of Raspbian OS which I didn't feel like doing, hack the current Raspbian OS or use the linux command line to make it at least tolerable when using applications - I'm not very good with linux (I can get by), or buy the latest version of the Raspberry PI. Me being a lazy creature by nature :D I took option 3, bought the latest version of the Raspberry PI and at least now I am not whistling or falling asleep while an application is opening. Like someone has said it's not going to be fast as a $1500 dollar computer, but at least it won't be agonizingly slow where you are pulling your hair out in frustration. That is if you take that route. It's just a matter of you current skillset on what option you want to take in my opinion. ;)

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 8:26 pm
by mfa298
Judicator wrote:Ok guys, I got it, I need to buy a modern PI, I think I'm going to wait for the new iteration of the PI since iirc the PI3 has been around for some time now and hopefully the new model is somewhat near in the future.
Don't wait for an upgrade, we've been told it's still at least a year away. The next upgrades will require significantly more design work than the upgrades so far. There's plenty of threads about that to read on these forums.
Judicator wrote: Is libreelec better than Raspbian + Kodi?
libreelec is designed as a small install designed just to run kodi. The great thing with the pi is that with a couple of SD cards you can try out a few different things and see what you like best.

Re: Raspberry Pi excruciatingly slow

Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 8:55 am
by hippy
Judicator wrote:Ok guys, I got it, I need to buy a modern PI, I think I'm going to wait for the new iteration of the PI since iirc the PI3 has been around for some time now and hopefully the new model is somewhat near in the future.
No one knows when the next generation Pi will arrive but the indications are that it won't for a year and possibly even longer.

If you need or want faster speed then $35 is not much of an up-front investment and it would not be unreasonable to buy one now, take immediate advantage of what that has to offer, and depreciate its value to zero over a year. No working Pi will actually have zero value after a year.