Thetechy1
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Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:13 pm

The raspberry pi is far from as powerful as my desktop with an i7 and nvidia graphics... but how far can the pi be pushed? Is there a way to setup say 4 raspberry pi together to make them act as one machine that is as powerful as a standard laptop? (I know it’s more complicated then how I am asking but I’m just putting this out here and hoping for some guidance)

Heater
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:34 pm

See long, on going, thread about exactly this question on this very forum https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/view ... 3&t=244171

In short, yes it can be done. How well it works or if it is useful at all for you depends on what you want your "main computer" to do.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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topguy
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:42 pm

Is there a way to setup say 4 raspberry pi together to make them act as one machine that is as powerful as a standard laptop?
No.

I think Heater read that as "a raspberry pi 4" and not " 4 x raspberry pi"...

Heater
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:02 pm

Sorry yes, read it wrongly as it line wrapped at the crucial point on my screen.

No, there is not.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

k-pi
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:11 pm

There is somewhere on the forums, an adapter board that uses multiple RPis, been a while since I saw it, but something like that might work - but it would be easier to wait for the RPi4 to get all its software & drivers sorted out, & use a 4GB version - that should run pretty good, once sorted. 8-)

Kendek
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:29 pm

The Pi4 is great and strong as headless computer. If you want a NAS, then this is your board, but if you want to replace your high-end desktop PC, not so much.

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mahjongg
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:39 pm

k-pi wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:11 pm
There is somewhere on the forums, an adapter board that uses multiple RPis, been a while since I saw it, but something like that might work - but it would be easier to wait for the RPi4 to get all its software & drivers sorted out, & use a 4GB version - that should run pretty good, once sorted. 8-)
record broken much? :mrgreen:

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clicky
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:54 pm

k-pi wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:11 pm
There is somewhere on the forums, an adapter board that uses multiple RPis, been a while since I saw it, but something like that might work - but it would be easier to wait for the RPi4 to get all its software & drivers sorted out, & use a 4GB version - that should run pretty good, once sorted. 8-)
I'm using Raspberry Pi 4B (with 4GB of ram) as main desktop computer for last 2 months more or less exclusively (still need to use my MBP for work and 3D printing) - but otherwise I'm getting fully rounded environment from this Raspberry Pi...

And from that perspective I have absolutely no idea what rattles your cage so you have to put the same sentiment in each thread.

fruitoftheloom
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:30 pm

Thetechy1 wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:13 pm
The raspberry pi is far from as powerful as my desktop with an i7 and nvidia graphics... but how far can the pi be pushed? Is there a way to setup say 4 raspberry pi together to make them act as one machine that is as powerful as a standard laptop? (I know it’s more complicated then how I am asking but I’m just putting this out here and hoping for some guidance)

Definitely not, you would not do that with a PC or Laptop, so why is the Raspberry Pi SBC any different ?????

Bottoms line is 4 X Quad-Core RPis does not make a 16 core machine !!


You need to search for Distributed or Parallel Computing, such as:


https://www.pidramble.com/

https://media.ccc.de/v/1428-ceph-explai ... pberry-pis

https://bryanapperson.com/blog/the-defi ... pberry-pi/
Retired disgracefully.....

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B.Goode
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:36 pm

Is there a way to setup say 4 raspberry pi together to make them act as one machine


In the simplistic way you pose the question, No.

But you might like to look at the series of Blog posts published by Raspberry Pi themselves on the topic of OctaPi, which illustrates how the power of multiple RPi systems can be applied to certain classes of automated problem solving.

It is clever, and useful in some circumstances, but not the same as making them into 'one machine.'


https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/octapi/

wh7qq
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:50 pm

mahjongg wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:39 pm

record broken much? :mrgreen:
"Broken record?" Is your age showing :D or are you a vinyl aficianado (I am both old and use one of my RPis to rip vinyl)? Today's generation may not even know what a broken record sounds like, like, like, like....

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DougieLawson
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:22 pm

wh7qq wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:50 pm
mahjongg wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:39 pm

record broken much? :mrgreen:
"Broken record?" Is your age showing :D or are you a vinyl aficianado (I am both old and use one of my RPis to rip vinyl)? Today's generation may not even know what a broken record sounds like, like, like, like....
Broken records were more common when they were pressed in bakelite. Vinyl fixed that to a large extent, but was more prone to damage from a blunt needle. [And yes I am just old enough to have used a clockwork gramophone with a tin of needles.] Some artists did strange things on their lead-out tracks.
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Moonmarch
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:39 pm

The RPI4 can be as fast as a standard laptop if you use certain programs which includes email clients, watching online videos in high definition, online shopping, using web browsers I have not seen any website that did not load correctly when I'm using Chromium 32 bit, the main difference between the RPI4 computer, and a gaming PC would be different CPU architecture the RPI computers use the ARM CPU the gaming computers or office computers will use either a Intel or AMD CPU, which means you will see many programs that were installed on the personal computer cannot be installed on the RPI computer, to say the RPI computer is slow well comparing the RPI computer to a standard desktop or laptop is a difficult comparison considering the difference in CPU architecture.

To use 4 RPI computers at the same time you can have each computer run a different program instead of using only 1 computer for everything, running 4 RPI computers would not have the same power requirements compared to using 4 PCs at the same time.

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HawaiianPi
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:01 pm

Thetechy1 wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:13 pm
Is there a way to setup say 4 raspberry pi together to make them act as one machine that is as powerful as a standard laptop? (I know it’s more complicated then how I am asking but I’m just putting this out here and hoping for some guidance)
Simple answer:
In any practical sense, no.


Longer answer:
Machine clusters run specialised operating systems and software for very specific computational tasks. You don't run general purpose software like web browsers, office applications or games on clusters. In addition, the number of Pi computers it would require to significantly beat the performance of a modern multi-core Intel or AMD based computer would probably cost as much as the Intel/AMD computer (if not more).


Raspberry Pi supercomputer?
There are a lot of websites and youtube videos that talk about Raspberry Pi Supercomputers, and that is a misnomer. A cluster of Raspberry Pi computers will in no way be "super" in performance. So why do people build them? I'd say mainly for education (learning how to program distributed task software for clusters). The other reason would be economics. Genuine supercomputers not only cost buckets of money to build or buy, they also cost a lot to run (they can cost millions of dollars a year for the electricity to power them). So it makes sense to have a lower cost, less power hungry system for software development, which also allows for less downtime on the real supercomputers.


Back to your question:
As you suspected, it's not as simple as connecting a bunch of standard computers together. Sorry that's not the answer you were looking for, but I hope you have a better understanding of the subject now.
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Gavinmc42
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:33 pm

but how far can the Pi be pushed?
There is not much that can be changed once the hardware is fixed.
Until RPF bring out a faster Pi

Turn the question around.
What software can run on Pi's that can do the same thing as that software on a big PC?
The old home computers taught people to code on reduced hardware and get the best out of them.

Standard "PC/Laptop"? that keeps changing. 5-10 years ago a Pi4 would be not bad.
Learning how to get the best from a Pi can take a long time.

Gaming pushes any hardware, it always has.
But now with Web games it is pushing the browser software as well.

I'm happy with my Pi4B4 as a home PC, it's much better than I expected
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Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

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HawaiianPi
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:07 am

Gavinmc42 has a good point. The definition of "as powerful as a standard laptop" is pretty vague. Who's laptop, and what is standard?

My budget gaming laptop is certainly faster than my Chromebook, but not as fast as my GF's high-end gaming laptop. However, even my mid-tier Chromebook is significantly faster that my Raspberry Pi 4B4 (not to mention, more portable, and more software compatible with the ability to run Chrome, Linux and Android apps).

So I *could* use my Pi4 as my main computer, but I'd much rather use something else.

On the other hand, I recently did a software reload on a friend-of-a-friend's old Windows laptop, and that thing was gawd-awful slow. Seriously, a Pi3 would be a step up from that nonsense. I offered to give her my old Atom based netbook, because even that was way faster than her POS.

I know there are people here who use a Pi3 as their daily driver, but I could not do that. The Pi4 is certainly an improvement, and I could see using that in a pinch, but I would still long for something faster.
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Gavinmc42
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:26 am

Warzone2100 is the main game I play.
Used to play it on my Celeron box which died the week my 1st Pi4 arrived.
WZ is not playable on Buster but is very playable on Gentoo64.
So it is not just hardware that needs considering, it is OS and OpenGL driver versions.

0AD does not work on a 1GB Pi's, it does work on 4GB Pi4, so that was a lack of memory issue.
FlightGear runs on Buster but not Gentoo64(yet), that is mostly a Debian issue?

WZ2100, 0AD, SuperTuxKart were all the games I used for Pi stress testing over the years.
Now they just work.

I have moved on to compiling Linux Kernels for stress testing.
Buildroot just works, it may not be as fast as a PC but it is fast enough.
Not sure what else is left to throw at the Pi4, the things I want to do are just working.
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

bjtheone
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Re: Using the pi as my main computer

Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:41 am

It totally comes down to your use case. For starters all my computers at home are running some flavour of Linux, so that is not the deciding case for what I tend to use. With the Pi 3B+ I used it mostly for messing about and as a settop box. With the Pi 4, it tends to get used for most of my non bed/couch use. It is good enough that it being connected to a big monitor is the deciding factor. I have a adaptor box sitting right beside the monitor so the "high bar" to using the monitor with my laptop is plugging in the USB C cable.

I don't game so my main use is programming, browsing, email, and watching videos and movies. For that range of uses the Pi 4 delivers that same user experience as my much faster main laptop. It is actually faster than some of my older laptops.

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