Ralphxyz
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Raspberry PI3B+ is unusable as everyday computer "SOLVED"

Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:35 pm

My wife has tried to use the Raspberry Pi as her everyday computer, actually she only uses it for email and listening
to music.

The Pi just stalls often if she clicks on a link maybe it will connect but mostly it doesn't.

She is using Chromium for her browser.

Then if the link actually connects it will start then stop and just hang she has to shutdown in order to restore
the link usually does not connect even after a reboot.

Often it seems like the Pi is off doing something and not paying any attention to user input.

I have told her to join the forum so she could get some help as this is beyond me.

Ralph
Last edited by Ralphxyz on Tue May 07, 2019 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Andyroo

Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:39 pm

To start with:
What type of Pi?
What operating system is it running?
How is it connected to the network?
What is the power supply?
How big and what type / speed of SD Card?
What version of Chromium?
What email client are you using?

Does any other computer show these issues?

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HawaiianPi
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:21 pm

Older Pi computers were certainly much too slow and limited to be used as a general purpose computer. The Raspberry Pi 3B or 3B+ models are 10+ times faster than the original model B, and can be used as a general purpose computer, but they are not fast computers.

Long hangs are almost certainly memory issues. The Pi 3B only has 1GB of RAM and when that fills up the system will start swapping memory pages in and out of SD card storage, which will drag performance down to a crawl. When using the browser, try to limit yourself to 2 or 3 tabs.

Using faster "A1" rated micro SD cards can also improve performance.

Also, make sure you have a proper power supply (not a phone charger), as the Pi will throttle performance if not getting enough power. A heatsink or fan could also help, since they throttle when running hot as well (more of a problem with the 3B than the 3B+).

The bottom line is the Pi is a $35 computer. It's not going to perform like a much more expensive mainstream PC.

If you want an inexpensive computer for general purpose use, a Chromebook might be a better option. My Chromebook with 4GB of RAM rivals the web performance of my much more expensive gaming laptop. It's great for social media, streaming content, email, shopping and other tasks, and the battery lasts a ridiculously long time (I charge my phone more often). It can also run both Linux and Android apps.
My mind is like a browser. 27 tabs are open, 9 aren't responding,
lots of pop-ups...and where is that annoying music coming from?

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DarkPlatinum
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:38 pm

The problem with a Pi is the memory. Chromium eats memory quickly. Evening just opening gmail takes 400 mb ram. And thats one tab.
1 * Raspberry Pi Zero W, 1 * Raspberry Pi 2, 1 * Raspberry Pi 3 1 * Raspberry Pi 3B + :mrgreen:

Check Out My Raspberry Site (Run on a Raspberry Pi 3B :) ): https://html.dynu.net

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:59 pm

DarkPlatinum wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:38 pm
The problem with a Pi is the memory. Chromium eats memory quickly. Evening just opening gmail takes 400 mb ram. And thats one tab.
I would turn that around...the problem is not the Pi, the problem is Chromium using excessive amounts of memory.

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HawaiianPi
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:10 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:59 pm
I would turn that around...the problem is not the Pi, the problem is Chromium using excessive amounts of memory.
Actually, it's web content in general. While Chromium is certainly not the most efficient browser, it's not entirely to blame.
My mind is like a browser. 27 tabs are open, 9 aren't responding,
lots of pop-ups...and where is that annoying music coming from?

LTolledo
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:49 pm

used an RPi3B for about a year and a half as desktop computer "replacement"
back then the system specs were:

1. Non-RPF PSU 5v 3A
2. Samsung Evo Plus 32GB microSD
3. 2.5GHz wireless keyboard and mouse combo
4. 21" HDMI monitor
5. I2S DAC sound card connected to DIY amp
6. Network connection via WiFi
7. Raspbian Jessie with Pixel
8. Default swap size.

and I was using it more and more each day
a. to browse the internet (up to 4 simultaneous tabs open, like Youtube, CNN, BBC, Gmail, with Raspberry Pi forum added to the list later on) [Google Maps no go, if use Facebook up to 2 tabs only]. Youtube videos played in default window mode only and not in full screen mode
b. play movie files via Kodi 17.1 accessed over NAS, watched at least 2 hours worth everyday
c. program arduino boards, micro-controller chips
d. GPIO python programming on a RPiA+ accessed via RealVNC.

upgraded Raspbian Jessie to Raspbian Stretch with Desktop
was using it more and more every day that my Win10 laptop began collecting dust..

When the RPi3B+ became available:
i. swapped in the RPi3B+ (in place of RPi3B)
ii. native USB boot on Sandisk 32GB thumbdrive (now upgraded to USB SSD)
iii. network connection via Ethernet LAN to Gigabit switch hub.
iv. increased the swap size to from 100MB to 1GB
v. updated and upgraded all apps to their latest version

as I have increased the swap size, I was able to open more tabs (at least 8, and as of this writing, 12 tabs) in Chromium.
99% of my post in this forum was made using a Raspberry Pi (3B, 3B+ and even on 1B+)
if I dont do flashing of microSD card/USB drives via Etcher, my Win10 laptop just stays in the shelf

the RPi3B has since been converted to RetroPie gaming console, I think it has more games that I can ever play :D

for my use case, Yes it pretty usable as everyday computer.
"Don't come to me with 'issues' for I don't know how to deal with those
Come to me with 'problems' and I'll help you find solutions"

Some people be like:
"Help me! Am drowning! But dont you dare touch me nor come near me!"

Ralphxyz
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Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:20 pm

Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:04 am

Running NOOBS on 3B+ WiFi 8gb SD Gmail

Latest version of Chromium.

A memory problem seem likely.

Would a thumb drive be better than a SD card?

5.5 volt power supply

Tanks for the replies.

Any suggestions on what we might do?

Ralph

jglen490
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:37 am

On that 5.5 volt power supply, what matters more is amps - which is the capacity to carry power. So, even if voltage stays the same, if more amps are available, more power can be presented to the device.

ejolson
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:22 am

Ralphxyz wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:04 am
Running NOOBS on 3B+ WiFi 8gb SD Gmail

Latest version of Chromium.

A memory problem seem likely.

Would a thumb drive be better than a SD card?

5.5 volt power supply

Tanks for the replies.

Any suggestions on what we might do?

Ralph
You could try using a stand alone email client. I use mutt for most of my email (except on mobile). It interfaces reasonably well with Google gmail and Microsoft outlook. It also runs on machines with less than 512MB RAM just fine.

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:12 am

I use gentoo64 for serious stuff on my 3B+'s , mainly because it had the best version of Mesa3d and Firefox at the time.
First test I did was open 30 tabs, no problem.

Now Chromium is working well too, they both sort of run the WebGL examples tests, which are my stress tests..
I have not used gmail on it.
And I use an external 2.5" 120GB SSD in a USB caddy.

Got the desktop case from Element14 so I need to get m.sata drive now.
So not yet an everyday Computer, soon it will be.

Will it be good enough for my wife and her facebook, chromium, youtube music?
Probably not ;)
But it's good enough for me to write and test code on, which is the main purpose of it in the first place.
Very nearly good enough for me to do all my development on it and retire the Celeron Duo.
Mostly waiting for some bug fixes in 4.19 kernel now.
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

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HawaiianPi
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:33 am

Ralphxyz wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:04 am
Would a thumb drive be better than a SD card?
Probably not. They use similar technology to SD cards.

Ralphxyz wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:04 am
5.5 volt power supply
That's over the recommended voltage.

Is it a power supply, or a phone charger?

What is the current rating, and how is it connected to the Pi3B+?

Ralphxyz wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:04 am
Any suggestions on what we might do?
Try one of the newer "A1" rated micro SD cards. It won't fix memory problems, but it will make the system more responsive, and possibly shorten swap hangs. You might want to look into Zram, which could reduce swapping.
My mind is like a browser. 27 tabs are open, 9 aren't responding,
lots of pop-ups...and where is that annoying music coming from?

mrreality13
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Location: texas usa

Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:56 am

LTolledo wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:49 pm


upgraded Raspbian Jessie to Raspbian Stretch with Desktop
was using it more and more every day that my Win10 laptop began collecting dust..

When the RPi3B+ became available:
i. swapped in the RPi3B+ (in place of RPi3B)
ii. native USB boot on Sandisk 32GB thumbdrive (now upgraded to USB SSD)
iii. network connection via Ethernet LAN to Gigabit switch hub.
iv. increased the swap size to from 100MB to 1GB
v. updated and upgraded all apps to their latest version

as I have increased the swap size, I was able to open more tabs (at least 8, and as of this writing, 12 tabs) in Chromium.
99% of my post in this forum was made using a Raspberry Pi (3B, 3B+ and even on 1B+)
if I dont do flashing of microSD card/USB drives via Etcher, my Win10 laptop just stays in the shelf

the RPi3B has since been converted to RetroPie gaming console, I think it has more games that I can ever play :D

for my use case, Yes it pretty usable as everyday computer.
i too increased swap and added a usb ssd and use it 75% of the time as a daily driver(soon as i get a new hd monitor instead of using tv will be 100% daily)
remember ,never approach a computer thinking this will only take a minute
~~pi zero w and a 3b+

jahboater
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:39 am

You can try:-

Code: Select all

vcgencmd get_throttled
If the result is anything other than 0x0 then it has throttled, likely either due to over temp, or under voltage.

tpylkko
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:12 am

When you say your wife uses it just for email and listening music, you likely mean that she uses a browser to open up multiple tabs using the gmail web client, some web based music services, or probably youtube. The pi can probably pull this off at times but you can also bring it to situations where it is just too much. Some small adjustments might help. I think the most likely one is one that was already suggested, that is using a real email client. However, I would not use mutt as suggested because it is not very user friendly, and I suspect that it might be too far away from what some one like your wife used to using the web client of gmail expects. I would try to use claws which I think is installed by default on Raspbian, but if not, you can install it with "sudo apt install claws". It has a very similar "normal graphical user interface" like what people are used...

A real mail client will use less resources than keeping a gmail web page open all the time. It is also more handy, because it can auto login, give you notifications and you can manage several email accounts.

Then you can try to keep the tab count down, so close tabs more often. You can try to listen to music with VLC or some other software from local files or from url's instead of opening large javascript radio clients and youtube in web pages or other such things.

The problem is, of course, that while the resource problem can be tackled with a rational approach trying to be a bit more ascetic, most people mean with "everyday use" a situation where they can just burn as much computational resources as possible without any problems. But for that you need 8 gigs of ram, not 1 and you need faster processors and graphics processing and so on. You can survive with a minimalist set-up if you know what you are doing, but many people (and I believe they have the right to do so, I am not chastising any one here) expect things to "just work" and the most important thing about it is that it works by itself, not so that you have to study and understand something. A lot of people don't like to study nor understand, that's reality.

Also, there are more powerful ARM boards out there. They might cost a bit more, but you might want to consider in this case.

EDIT: in case she does not want to use any other software than a browser for anything. then there are also minimalist operating systems which essentially boot to only a browser.

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davidcoton
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:22 pm

Ralphxyz wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:04 am
5.5 volt power supply
...
Any suggestions on what we might do?
If it really is 5V5, change it before it does any damage. The spec limit for the Pi (and, more importantly, attached USB devices) is 5V25.

The official power supply (5V1 2A5) is highly recommended.
Signature retired

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:36 pm

Cutting to the chase...

Whether or not a Pi3B+ is a suitable "desktop computer" depends on what you mean by a "desktop computer", what you expect to do with it, and what sort of performance you expect.

For some people, a Pi3B+ will work just fine for their everyday needs. For others, it won't even come close. For an example of the latter, I play Lord of the Rings: Online. No Pi can do that, not even with the very best x86 simulator in the world. The Pi simply doesn't have the required processing power or memory to pull it off. But I also have a Pi that serves as my alarm clock, and it does that exceedingly well. So well, in fact, that I built a duplicate of it, adding an RTC, as a "travel alarm".

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:36 am

The Pi is probably not usable for ordinary people.
But people who can get a Pi running are not ordinary people, generally ;)

Pi users are aware of the limitations, if not this forum will straighten them out.
Perhaps people expectations are higher these days.
They don't remember when we had a choice of only green, orange or white phosphors ;)

I guess it depends what people do everyday?
Hmm, can this forum be accessed via VT100 terminal?
Or is it only Browser access?
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

fruitoftheloom
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:43 am

Ralphxyz wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:35 pm
My wife has tried to use the Raspberry Pi as her everyday computer, actually she only uses it for email and listening
to music.

The Pi just stalls often if she clicks on a link maybe it will connect but mostly it doesn't.

She is using Chromium for her browser.

Then if the link actually connects it will start then stop and just hang she has to shutdown in order to restore
the link usually does not connect even after a reboot.

Often it seems like the Pi is off doing something and not paying any attention to user input.

I have told her to join the forum so she could get some help as this is beyond me.

Ralph

Yes have been holding off replying but look at my signature, you will note I use a ChromeBit as my "main" PC, though spend the majority of my day to day surfing time on my Smartphone......
Retired disgracefully.....
This at present is my daily "computer" https://www.asus.com/us/Chrome-Devices/Chromebit-CS10/

mattmiller
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:05 am

I don't use any of my Pi as day-day machines - I use them for programming and gpio type stuff

I've seen a few of these threads about is it suitable/is it not suitable as desktop machine so I decided to try it out just now (Pi3B+)

Launched Chromium - loaded in gmail - all OK
Loaded up BBC news website - all OK
Loaded up tweetdeck - and the performance has dropped badly - took 2 mins to bring up logon screen - I'm now getting page unresponsive message

Its still just sitting there while I've been typing this up


Don't get me wrong - My main Win10 PC can be slow at times - but then again I have 30 tabs open at once and 15 apps running at the same time

Heater
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:07 am

It's kind of amusing that when this question comes up it is often accompanied by a phrase like "... only used for mail and web ..."

Of course web browsers are about the biggest most resource hungry pieces of software that regular people use ever. They need huge piles of memory, performance and network bandwidth.

Anyway, around here a Pi won't cut it as an everyday PC/laptop replacement for me until it can run LTSpice, Quartus and a handful of other programs that are Windows and/or x86 only programs. Meanwhile, 'er in doors would throw a Pi back at me a soon as she found how badly it ran Facebook, Farmville and various TV channels. They already max out her laptop.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:25 am

I liked the Fifth browser when it was working on PiCore Linux.
Wonder if it compiles in Raspbian and Gentoo64?
http://fifth-browser.sourceforge.net/features.html

The magic words
Avoids much of the modern bloat of the web
Is it already in the debs?

YouTube? Android has a standalone version.
Is there one for Linux/Pi's?
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

k-pi
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:09 am

I've used a RPi3B & a RPi3B+ as a daily use computer, quite successfully, given its limitations, running the Raspbian O/S.

Yes, it's slow, as would be a PC with the same specs, but it's adequate for the basic stuff, web mail, browsing web sites, music, some online music videos, best with those that only have a static picture, rather than actual motion. Plus you can use the Office Suite, image editors, & the like - it just depends what you expect from a £35 computer. 8-)

jahboater
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:16 pm

k-pi wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:09 am
I've used a RPi3B & a RPi3B+ as a daily use computer, quite successfully, given its limitations, running the Raspbian O/S.
Ditto. I used a 3B+ as my only computer for a week (software development and web browsing) and found it entirely usable.
k-pi wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:09 am
it just depends what you expect from a £35 computer.
Sure my tower PC that cost 50x as much and drinks electricity is definitely faster, but is it really worth the extra?

fruitoftheloom
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Re: Raspberry Pi is unusable as everyday computer

Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:53 pm

jahboater wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:16 pm
k-pi wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:09 am
I've used a RPi3B & a RPi3B+ as a daily use computer, quite successfully, given its limitations, running the Raspbian O/S.
Ditto. I used a 3B+ as my only computer for a week (software development and web browsing) and found it entirely usable.
k-pi wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:09 am
it just depends what you expect from a £35 computer.
Sure my tower PC that cost 50x as much and drinks electricity is definitely faster, but is it really worth the extra?

My ChromeBit cost (used but in original box with accessories) about 2x the price of just the RPi 3B+ SBC and just plugs into a HDMi Port, does basic day to day computing with no issues, even MS Office Cloud Versions. Supported with ChromeOS updates till at least Dec 2020....
Retired disgracefully.....
This at present is my daily "computer" https://www.asus.com/us/Chrome-Devices/Chromebit-CS10/

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