ProDigit
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Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:42 pm

Anyone who owns all 3 can comment on the usability between the 3, and biggest noticeable differences in usability when using a gui?

Like does the zero feel slow or laggy for small jobs like coding?

Are there any people who prefer to use the slower, smaller versions for coding or every day use, over the faster ones?

Andyroo
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:49 pm

I use a Zero connected of USB for significant command line work.

I edit in nano on the Pi and run from a terminal session using TMUX

Most of my coding though is now via Visual Studio Code connected via Samba to the Zero with a couple of terminal sessions via SSH running TMUX

Been awhile since I used a GUI on the Zeros - it worked but via VNC is was laggy.
Need Pi spray - these things are breeding in my house...

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BIMThoughts
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:00 pm

Hello, I have all way too many Pi's.

The Pi Zero is slowest of the three by far, but for running as a server, it does ok. I am using a Pi Zero W in my Rover Project as it has enough power and consumes less power.

The 3B+ is an excellent Pi and runs the GUI very well. I have two in use right now: OctoPrint (3d Print Management) and OpenMediaServer (NAS). I have a 3A+ running DAK board.

The 3A+ is nice but is low on RAM and consumes too much power for the rover.

I just picked up the Pi 4, and it's night and day faster. I have a 2gb one running my Web Server, and it's using way less than 1gb of RAM at the moment.

If I used one for as a desktop and code with it, I would get the 4GB flavor of Pi 4 for that.

Note: The Pi 4 does indeed run hot, and I have a 5v fan cooling down the board.
Bill
Learn more about the rover: http://rover.bimthoughts.com/

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bomblord
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:10 pm

In my experience using all 3 as a desktop

Pi zero -> GUI Environment unusably slow outside of terminal and word processing.
Pi 3B -> Usable but slow in some scenarios particularly web browsing. Works adequately for all basic tasks
Pi 4 -> Comparable to a low end desktop pretty much consistently snappy and responsive

Fraoch
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:14 pm

I don't have a Zero, but I do have an original model B (just a bit slower than the Zero), a 2B, a 3B+ and a 4 2GB.

You indicate "low CPU applications" but want a GUI.

The preferred way if resources are an issue is to use a Pi headless, of course, and here the Zero would be fine.

But with a GUI - I'd say based on experience with all of these, the standard Raspbian Buster GUI is slow on the 1B (and the Zero). The solution is not to use the Raspbian Buster GUI, use something else. In terms of window managers, LXDE is about as light as it gets - Xfce is largely the same, MATE is somewhat heavier and others heavier still.

Have you tried piCore? It is blazingly fast, even on a 1B/Zero. It's quite different than your usual distro, it boots core files from the SD card and runs entirely in RAM once they're loaded. You get a command prompt in 2-3 seconds even on the 1B/Zero. Packages are supplied as downloadable extensions which get written onto the SD card and loaded as needed. So it's fast even with their desktop GUI. I'm still learning and playing with it, it's amazing. I'd really recommend looking into this for the Zero.
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ProDigit
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:14 pm

Fraoch wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:14 pm

Have you tried piCore? It is blazingly fast, even on a 1B/Zero. It's quite different than your usual distro, it boots core files from the SD card and runs entirely in RAM once they're loaded. You get a command prompt in 2-3 seconds even on the 1B/Zero. Packages are supplied as downloadable extensions which get written onto the SD card and loaded as needed. So it's fast even with their desktop GUI. I'm still learning and playing with it, it's amazing. I'd really recommend looking into this for the Zero.
What is pi core? Is it similar to Raspbian Buster Lite?
I'm definitely looking into a headless solution. With E-ink if possible even..

Fraoch
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:33 am

It's based on Tiny Core Linux. It's very, very basic - far more basic than Raspbian Lite. But the beauty of it is that you install only what you need. The basic software loads from the SD card into RAM on boot. It runs entirely in RAM so it's very fast and doesn't write to the card.

If you need other things, you load them from extensions, which are either loaded on boot or loaded on demand from the SD card.

Trying to figure it out today and got a fast FLWM desktop, nano and the Dillo web browser running very easily. The Lynx web browser was a little harder. Installing software and mounting a Samba share was pretty easy, I just need to figure out how to put fstab into persistent storage.

It's very do-it-yourself and requires some work but you end up with only what you need.

http://tinycorelinux.net/welcome.html

http://tinycorelinux.net/9.x/armv6/releases/RPi/
Pencoed-made Model 1B, Samsung memory
2B 1.1
3B+
4B 2GB

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:39 am

BIMThoughts wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:00 pm
The 3A+ is nice but is low on RAM and consumes too much power for the rover.
The Pi3A+ has just as much RAM as the Pi0/Pi0W.

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bertlea
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:45 am

I have all 3 models you mentioned and use them in different use cases. The main differences of use cases is not how demanding of the CPU usage but requirements of RAM. For Raspbian Lite based web servers, just watching downloaded video, play music (using omxplayer) I found Pi-0W is perfect. For running Raspbian with desktop, browsing, coding (using VS code), I use my Pi3B or Pi3B+ currently. I just got the Pi4-4G RAM version, and I expect I will move all my desktop works including compiling packages, multi-tasking works, watching Twitch or Youtube for a long time.

alphanumeric
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:56 am

I have a couple of Pi Zero W's in some two wheel rovers. I wanted small size and low power consumption. They work fine for those. They run headless with no GUI, they boot to command line.
I also have a Pi Zero W setup as an Internet radio. It takes a while to boot up and get streaming but other than that its up to the task. It also runs headless and boots to command line.
I tried using a Pi Zero as a web camera running Motion Eye OS but it just wasn't up to it. Not streaming video anyway. Very choppy and laggy.
Switched to a 3A+ and its usable now. This one also runs headless and boots to command line. Boot up is pretty quick. I went with 3A+'s to keep the cost down and get a small size compared to a 3B or 4B. I have 4 of these setup now.
I also have a couple of the A+'s (not 3A+) with sense hats on them setup as weather clocks. Headless setups that boot to command line. They seem more than up to the task. I'm just slowly scrolling text on the sense hat LED matrix. Date, time temperature etc.
I don't do much coding other than some occasional python code. That I do on a Pi 3B+ that is setup as my breadboarding rig. Its where I test stuff out and refine my code. This one will likely get upgraded to a Pi 4B at some point. Its been upgraded several times already from a Pi 2B.
I have a Pi 4B but haven't dedicated it to any specific task. Not yet anyway. Just tinkering with it so far.

ProDigit
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:16 am

For coding, I was able to run my Pi 3B+ with Raspbian with 24MB of VRAM. It doesn't really need a lot to run.
I was thinking of installing the full version of Raspbian on the zero W, with 24MB of VRAM (at 720p resolution) and just use it for coding.
16MB works even, but sometimes gives errors. I could see if 20MB could work.
The Pi 3B+ still can run 480pix youtube video with 24MB of VRAM, so I think it should work on the Zero as well.
I'm just seeing a lot of info on the Zero and the Chromium browser being quite slow (needing SD SWAP file access probably eats a lot of that speed).
With Raspbian OS, that should leave about 300MB of RAM left for a browser, so I'm probably looking for a lighter weight browser as the only modification to the Raspbian OS.

I haven't yet found an LCD that fits the Zero in size.
At best, I've found a 240x240 pixel screen with buttons for emulation purposes.
But I wished they had something like a 320x240 pixel widescreen, for a headless version.
Then I would have gone with Raspbian lite.

In the meantime, I'm dependent on an external monitor (as I don't want an LCD that would stick out the Pi), and I'll probably have to do with Raspbian desktop OS (with GUI), as I want to maximize the benefit of the monitor.

Though, if one day the Pi zero can boot from a fitting screen hat with at least 320x240 pixels resolution, I would want that very much!

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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:34 am

ProDigit wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:16 am
Though, if one day the Pi zero can boot from a fitting screen hat with at least 320x240 pixels resolution, I would want that very much!
I use 3.5" 480x320 LCD displays that mount to the GPIO block with Pi0?pi0W boards. Yes, the display is bigger than the Pi, but it does work nicely.

ProDigit
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:39 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:34 am
ProDigit wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:16 am
Though, if one day the Pi zero can boot from a fitting screen hat with at least 320x240 pixels resolution, I would want that very much!
I use 3.5" 480x320 LCD displays that mount to the GPIO block with Pi0?pi0W boards. Yes, the display is bigger than the Pi, but it does work nicely.
Is there a difference between screens using the GPIO pins and screens using the display ribbon cable?

ProDigit
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:43 am

Fraoch wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:33 am
It's based on Tiny Core Linux. It's very, very basic - far more basic than Raspbian Lite. But the beauty of it is that you install only what you need. The basic software loads from the SD card into RAM on boot. It runs entirely in RAM so it's very fast and doesn't write to the card.

If you need other things, you load them from extensions, which are either loaded on boot or loaded on demand from the SD card.

Trying to figure it out today and got a fast FLWM desktop, nano and the Dillo web browser running very easily. The Lynx web browser was a little harder. Installing software and mounting a Samba share was pretty easy, I just need to figure out how to put fstab into persistent storage.

It's very do-it-yourself and requires some work but you end up with only what you need.

http://tinycorelinux.net/welcome.html

http://tinycorelinux.net/9.x/armv6/releases/RPi/
I've tried tiny core Linux before on older laptops.
While it offers some functionality, there's a lot to do, to get it to work properly.
Like adjusting screen resolution, getting bluetooth and wifi to work, etc...

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:12 am

I use PiCore for B+ networked stuff with webserving.
Ultibo for Zero portable stuff.
Both have learning curves.

Buster Pi4's are now my home PC's.
Previously tried 3B+ and Gentoo4, but Buster is nearly as good as old Gentoo64.
I expect newest 64bit OS's will surpass 32bit Raspbian Buster in the next week/month.

The Fifth Browser on PiCore was very usable but you need the ARM7 version of PiCore.
ARM8 64bit PiCore on a Pi4 should be smoking, wish I knew how to do it.
Want to try it with Wayland and not x11 :D

Waiting for stock of the 4GB Pi4 before trying to compile stuff like that.

Buildroot like MotionEye OS, usable on B+ but better on Pi2 and above, ditto for Pikrellcam.

If you mess about with small LCDs, Raspbian Lite otherwise those drivers will drive you crazy.
I need to spend time on learning how to do this using PiCore/Ultibo and small LCDs.
I have a collection of LCDs now.

Zero's are really handy if you do baremetal coding, they can boot via USB OTG, no SD card is needed.
The PI4 should be able to do this too one day.

My A's, A+'s, 3A+'s don't get used much yet.

Now that I have moved development onto Pi4's I am considering a Compiler farm.
A stack of Pi's, B+, 2B, 3B, 3B+, 4B all networkd and running VNC or headless SSH.
That way I can write code for any Pi or use those Pi's to compile their own code.
Hmm, so many cluster cases, whch one?
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Fraoch
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:31 pm

Gavinmc42 wrote: Hmm, so many cluster cases, whch one?
Go big or go home:

http://www.bitscope.com/product/blade/?p=about

($$$!!)
Pencoed-made Model 1B, Samsung memory
2B 1.1
3B+
4B 2GB

ProDigit
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:16 pm

Fraoch wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:31 pm
Gavinmc42 wrote: Hmm, so many cluster cases, whch one?
Go big or go home:

http://www.bitscope.com/product/blade/?p=about

($$$!!)
https://youtu.be/i_r3z1jYHAc

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:07 am

I was just thinking about using a 5 port switch, but those clusters look cool.
A 5 x Pi 4 cluster would be as fast as that old 33 x Pi B one?
When Pi4's get net booting :D

I have one Cluster hat, anyone done a cluster of cluster hats?
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Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

ProDigit
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:09 am

not me, but they say the 30+ Pi cluster is more a proof of concept, than actually fast.

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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:29 pm

ProDigit wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:39 am
W. H. Heydt wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:34 am
ProDigit wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:16 am
Though, if one day the Pi zero can boot from a fitting screen hat with at least 320x240 pixels resolution, I would want that very much!
I use 3.5" 480x320 LCD displays that mount to the GPIO block with Pi0?pi0W boards. Yes, the display is bigger than the Pi, but it does work nicely.
Is there a difference between screens using the GPIO pins and screens using the display ribbon cable?
By "display ribbon cable" I assume you mean using the on-board DSI connector. There is only one display compatible with the DSI connector. That is the RPF 7" touchscreen. 5" is kind the the transition point between displays that connect to the GPIO block and the HDMI port. When using a GPIO-connected display the resolution and refresh rates are...rather limited. IIRC, for a 480x320 display, the refresh rate is going to be restricted to around 20 fps.

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:49 pm

I think the GPIO on the Pi4 can go faster.
Would that mean higher fps for those small GPIO LCDs?
DPI is parallel, DSI is SPI based, can SPI go faster now?

320x240 was about the limit for good fps.
480x320 can be a bit slower, will it be fast enough for video on a Pi4?
Last edited by Gavinmc42 on Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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alphanumeric
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:00 am

Pimoroni have a Hyperpixel GPIO connected touch screen display that is 720x720 pixels (~254 PPI) and 60 FPS frame rate.
https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/hyperpixel-4-square
Be advised that it will eat up all your GPIO pins though. And repurpose just about every one of them.

Me personally, I've never been a fan of the GPIO connected displays. I usually have other devices connected that will cause a conflict. Plus I'm not all that fussy for small displays. I'd like to see some other options for DSI connected displays. 10 inch or bigger. Don't have to be touch screens, just bigger that the current 7 inch offering. Even a 7 inch with a higher resolution would be nice.

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rpdom
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:17 am

alphanumeric wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:00 am
Pimoroni have a Hyperpixel GPIO connected touch screen display that is 720x720 pixels (~254 PPI) and 60 FPS frame rate.
Weird size...

It uses the DPI interface on the GPIO pins, the same as Gert's VGA666 board does although to drive a different interface. DPI is capable of 1280x1024 at least.

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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:30 am

alphanumeric wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:00 am
Me personally, I've never been a fan of the GPIO connected displays. I usually have other devices connected that will cause a conflict. Plus I'm not all that fussy for small displays. I'd like to see some other options for DSI connected displays. 10 inch or bigger. Don't have to be touch screens, just bigger that the current 7 inch offering. Even a 7 inch with a higher resolution would be nice.
I use the 3.5" displays as electronic name badges. Refresh rate is pretty much irrelevant.

As for the DSI... Sigh... Yes. Back when the first word got out about the effort to make the 7" display, Dr. Upton talked about doing a 10" to follow. That has never happened and I'm afraid at this point, it never will. Would be nice though. I would be happy to get at least two of them... And given how wide the border around the 7" display is, one wonders if a 10" could be fitted in the same form factor...

On the 7" display, I'm fine with the current resolution. Since I've had cataract surgery, I no longer need to run font size up and can get an 80x24 terminal window on it. My other use--my alarm clock--needs text readable from about 3 feet away, so that limits the font. I use a 58x6 terminal window for the metadata to the audio stream. (If a 10" display were made, I could display more data in that window.)

alphanumeric
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Re: Pi Zero W, VS 3B+, VS 4 for low CPU applications?

Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:07 am

rpdom wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:17 am
alphanumeric wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:00 am
Pimoroni have a Hyperpixel GPIO connected touch screen display that is 720x720 pixels (~254 PPI) and 60 FPS frame rate.
Weird size...

It uses the DPI interface on the GPIO pins, the same as Gert's VGA666 board does although to drive a different interface. DPI is capable of 1280x1024 at least.
There is a more standard rectangular 800x480 pixels version of it.
https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/hype ... 9706963

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