fourdee4d
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RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:02 pm

We all love the RPi, it has created and inspired our youth generation. However, for possibly most of us, we see the device as a computer. A SBC (single board computer), where us adults can have our fun projects and when it arrives through the post, feels like Xmas again.

I created http://dietpi.com, and in doing that, i’am lucky enough to have access to a vast number of SBC’s. All of which have their strengths and weaknesses as a computer. I strive on getting the best performance from these devices.
However, time and time again the RPi hardware seems to fall behind the competition and isn't recovering.

So lets look at Raspberry Pi’s “issues as a computer” since the very 1st RPi 1 256mb:
  • SDIO limited to 17.5mb/s R/W, unless overclocked.
    When we compare this other “other” SBC’s on the market, 83/100mhz is possible for high end cards and automatically detected giving us 35mb/s+.
    Other SBC companies have come up with the EMMC module thats allows for upto 125MB/s+ read and write.
  • 100Mbit ethernet, sharing the USB bus bandwidth. High latency, and unpredictable performance.
    1000Mbit is the standard for other SBC devices in the same price bracket, and even on cheaper SBC’s.
  • ARMv6 software. As far as i’am aware (please correct me if i’am wrong) the RPi 2 / 3 is capable for ARMv7+, yet, the Raspbian repo and all its software is still ARMv6.
Now lets have a look at the Raspberry Pi 3 “issues in general”:
  • BCM-2837 ARM SoC was clearly rushed out.
    It runs far too hot (90’c +) and dissipates a worrying amount of heat to the rest of the board, and its connected peripheral: http://imgur.com/wf18qz3
  • Where is the 1GBit eth?
  • Where is the DDR 3 memory?
  • Where is the ability to power down BT/WIFI?
  • To bluetooth or to UART? That is the question.

So why are RPi falling behind as a SBC?
Broadcom contract:
I personally believe the Broadcom contract (I’am sure one exists, we only need to look at the Odroid-W getting the “you cant have this ARM” treatment) is restricting development. Its clear that Broadcom is not investing as much time/effort and finances into the ARM development. Yes Broadcom is a UK company and we are proud, but at 1.2GHZ @ 90’c +, its embarrassing considering the competition is capable of 2ghz @ < 60’c.
The RPi 3 feels rushed, most likely to compete with another board release a few days later.

A ARM architecture that needs scrapping and starting again:
We also seem to be limited by this 1GB memory limit on the Broadcom ARM’s. Again, the competition is capable of 2GB+.

What can Raspberry Pi do?
Give us a Raspberry Pi Pro, make it cost more, give us more and we will buy it:
A board to help fund RPi development, a board to tease the inner computer geek in us all.
  • DDR3 2GB
  • 1Gbit Eth
  • USB3.0 (hell, you can even use this 5GB/s USB bus for ethernet)
  • 1.5GHz >= clock
  • SDcard IO improvements. Or even invent a EMMC module/custom flash media that's capable of reads and writes of 125mb/s +
I know for a fact, some of the RPi staff are crying out for a better ARM. But clearly, Broadcom has you locked into a contract.
I’am not here to promote the competition (hence not naming the company), but I strongly believe the C2 is the best all-round SBC on the market today. Yes, it costs more, but they are a company, not a charity. They do not receive tax reliefs or any other charity benefit.
I want to see the RPi come back and show the competition how it's done. Give us something, anything to put you back in the spotlight for innovation and breaking boundaries.

I know you strive to ensure all RPi’s are compatible with each other, we love you for that. But maybe every now and again there comes a point, when starting fresh is the logical solution. Allowing RPi to break through and become the leading innovators of SBC again.

I hope the mods read this and consider not hiding this by simply deleting this post. We only want answers, or some indication RPi is moving forward as a SBC.
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Pithagoros
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:13 pm

Maybe for Top Trumps players, but there is more to life than spec numbers.

For me, the Pi Zero is the ultimate SBC that runs Linux, at least until the A3 comes along.

I don't really rate the Pi3. For my requirements, when the SBC starts to need more power, make more heat and noise (if a fan is added) then the appeal ends.

As for all the alternative SBCs, their community support is way behind.

Of course, these are just my personal requirements and no reflection on the true market, but I am quite sure that the folk at Raspberry know what they are doing, and when the others have came and gone, there will still be Pi.

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mikronauts
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:14 pm

All of us would like to see more powerful Raspberry Pi's.

But the fact is, the Raspberry Pi 3 admirably meets its goal: Education

Yes, it falls short of a regular end-user desktop experience (flash etc) but that does not matter for the target market.

I have other SBC's coming out the ying-yang, but guess which boards I give to my nephews?

Pi's.

More educational software, more educational tutorials etc., and these forums.

Would I use a Pi as a desktop / server? No. Wrong tool for the job.

Do I use it for educational purposes? YES

Buy the board you need for your application - it is that simple.
http://Mikronauts.com - home of EZasPi, RoboPi, Pi Rtc Dio and Pi Jumper @Mikronauts on Twitter
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SonOfAMotherlessGoat
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:15 pm

Restricting development? Try AllWinner... Oh that's right, you can't get AW mainline: MALI, binary blobs, undocumented 'features'.

Thermal issues? You try an OrangePi? You have to run it with special settings (in Armbian) to even get a stable platform.

Are other products better? Up to you to decide, and that's the freedom you have. Meanwhile RPF can't keep the products they carry (like the single core 1GHz 512MB RAM Zero) in stock.

I'd expect better from someone in your position 4D.
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:24 pm

I'm said it before and I'll say it again. You're barking up the wrong tree.

The Pi hardware is powerful enough that what you're complaining about doesn't really impact the main goal of the Pi, which is to be an educational device, not a desktop machine.

What you're actually saying (even if you don't know it) is that Broadcom is a conservative company making conservative designs. The limit on memory is a function of the VC4, not the ARM cores and the origin of the Pi SoCs is a VC4 with ARM core(s) "bolted on" almost as an after thought. The same applies to the choice of generation of DDR memory type. The thermal issues are almost certainly due to the use of the 40nm process node, though I'd point out that competing boards, such as the Odroid-C2 come with heatsinks installed, so the thermal issues are hardly unique to Broadcom.

Once Broadcom moves to the next node down, very likely to be 28nm, I suspect that most of your issues will fade away quickly, but that won't be for at least a couple of years.

As it is, the major weakness of the BCM2837 is only having USB 2 to connect larger storage devices. Even your plea for GbE pales in comparison. I would welcome a "Pi4B" (or--even better--a CM4 and upgraded WD SATA adapter) with USB 3, even if every other spec--memory, cores, Ethernet, clock speed, VC4--were *identical* to the Pi3B.

What the RPF excels in, over all other SBCs, regardless of price, is support, including this community. That provides the "leg up" that a great many people before they can even consider trying to work with an SBC that may more narrowly meet their project needs.

fourdee4d
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:31 pm

But the fact is, the Raspberry Pi 3 admirably meets its goal: Education
Yes, without a doubt and its exceptional the impact RPi has had on our youth generation. But my post is regarding the device as a "computer".
SonOfAMotherlessGoat wrote:Thermal issues? You try an OrangePi? You have to run it with special settings (in Armbian) to even get a stable platform.
The H3 is not a ARM chip i would consider "better than the RPi", let alone any other ARM, nor did I mention it. Its a complete flop that relies on the comminuty to make it "functional".
As for special settings? Not really, its just a vcore voltage reduction and clock reduction to prevent it blowing up ;). I think Allwinner got a little "over confident" with the clock speeds.

On the other hand, the Amlogic S905 is years ahead of anything Broadcom can offer.
I'd expect better from someone in your position 4D.
So, you prefer people to hide their opinions based on their experience? Some of us like to discuss things, clearly you struggle with that.
As for all the alternative SBCs, their community support is way behind.
I disagree. Odroid being the current leader of SBC's with strong community pushing it forward. Unlike the RPi who hire vast number of onsite staff for hardware and kernel devolpment.
I'm said it before and I'll say it again. You're barking up the wrong tree.
Maybe its time this tree needs cutting down?
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fruitoftheloom
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:59 pm

Broadcom is not a UK Company: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadcom


If you are unhappy with the Raspberry Pi, then please do not slam the door on your exit :roll:


Last but not least why do certain indivuduals have lots of opinions about products but do not have the b***ls to Create / Manufacture / Sell a product which is their ideal ???
The information is out there....you just have to let it in.

My other Linux machines are a ChromeBox & Intel CoreDuo Desktop

Pi Flyer
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:14 pm

…but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.
–Albert Einstein

Surely you can see the parallels in what you've presented to Albert's quote?

binaryhermit
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:29 pm

I'm stealing this quote from the public IRC logs of freenode #raspberrypi
stavros_ on IRC earlier today wrote:There's a reason raspi is by far and away the most successful ARM board, and it's got nothing to do with its performance :p
If performance is the #1 need for you, you probably should look elsewhere, perhaps at some sort of x86_64 solution.

fourdee4d
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:35 pm

Pi Flyer wrote:…but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.
–Albert Einstein

Surely you can see the parallels in what you've presented to Albert's quote?
Is this really the way you want this discussion to go? Ok.

...But if you quote other people, instead of having the ability to express your own opinions, your just as intelligent as a sheep in a flock.
–Me
If performance is the #1 need for you, you probably should look elsewhere, perhaps at some sort of x86_64 solution.
Although, that x86_64 uses 95Watts+ and is mostly a waste of energy. A SBC uses < 10Watts, is roughly 10 times smaller and doesn't need a noisy and wasteful fan+air energy dissipation solution to keep it cool.
If you are unhappy with the Raspberry Pi, then please do not slam the door on your exit
Unhappy? No. Disappointed and wanting to see innovation? Yes.

Clearly discussing the RPi as a lost-leader in SBC devolpment has ruffled alot of dedicated trolls.
Last but not least why do certain indivuduals have lots of opinions about products but do not have the b***ls to Create / Manufacture / Sell a product which is their ideal ???
No idea, but I hear some people create open source software in their free time, that runs on this hardware. Have you heard of it?
Last edited by fourdee4d on Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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stderr
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:38 pm

Pi Flyer wrote:…but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.
–Albert Einstein
Surely you can see the parallels in what you've presented to Albert's quote?
Did Einstein really say that? Why is every quote a quote of Einstein? Why is it that Einstein gets quoted saying pithy and sarcastic things even if he never said those sorts of things, and Dorothy Parker and H.L. Mencken nearly never merit even a mention when they both routinely disgorged troves of it?

gregeric
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:39 pm

Not sure if I believe this, as I haven't seen it mooted elsewhere.

7min 8secs into this clip published last Friday: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-05/t ... =hootsuite

Journalist:
"The Pi... has grand ambitions... sees itself as a PC company.. plans to eat into the huge PC market of 3-4 hundred million a year"

Eben:
"If we could take just 5% of that, we'd be making a lot more money for the Foundation..."

Would believe it better if all the words had come from Eben, but it would indicate that desktop/PC performance is being considered.

fourdee4d
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:41 pm

gregeric wrote:Not sure if I believe this, as I haven't seen it mooted elsewhere.

7min 8secs into this clip published last Friday: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-05/t ... =hootsuite

Journalist:
"The Pi... has grand ambitions... sees itself as a PC company.. plans to eat into the huge PC market of 3-4 hundred million a year"

Eben:
"If we could take just 5% of that, we'd be making a lot more money for the Foundation..."

Would believe it better if all the words had come from Eben, but it would indicate that desktop/PC performance is being considered.
This is exactly what some of us want to see and hear. Moving forward and innovating. Thanks for posting.
Last edited by fourdee4d on Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Pi Flyer
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:42 pm

fourdee4d wrote: ...But if you quote other people, instead of having the ability to express your own opinions, your just as intelligent as a sheep in a flock.
–Me
If YOU'RE going to question intelligence, maybe you ought to know the difference between your, and you're first?
Is this the way you wanted this to go?

jdb
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Re: RPi - Falling behind as a SBC?

Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:48 pm

Locking as we're a few posts in and already it's going south.

Please do not spread FUD around. Smells bad and takes ages to clean out of the wallpaper.
Rockets are loud.
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