decoherence
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:10 pm

4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:48 pm

Hello ! :D

I would like to buy a pi4 just to make a sort of home laptop with a touchscreen monitor, and i intend to use it mostly for web browsing. (I use firefox and some add-ons.)
I just wonder what amount of RAM should i chose. I guess 4GB is the minimum. Would 8GB be a better choice ? I assume the real limitation for web browsing would be the CPU, and i think 4 extra gigs won't change anything, but i don't know...
What do you think ?
And should i prefer an OS over an other for my purpose ?
And is it a good idea at all ? I don't want something perfect but smooth enough to have nice time without nervous breakdowns... :P

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 24489
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Delightful Dorset

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:55 pm

decoherence wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:48 pm
Hello ! :D

I would like to buy a pi4 just to make a sort of home laptop with a touchscreen monitor, and i intend to use it mostly for web browsing. (I use firefox and some add-ons.)
I just wonder what amount of RAM should i chose. I guess 4GB is the minimum. Would 8GB be a better choice ? I assume the real limitation for web browsing would be the CPU, and i think 4 extra gigs won't change anything, but i don't know...
What do you think ?
And should i prefer an OS over an other for my purpose ?
And is it a good idea at all ? I don't want something perfect but smooth enough to have nice time without nervous breakdowns... :P

Raspberry Pi Foundation / Trading fully support Raspberry Pi Operating System ARMHF which includes chromium-browser web browser in the desktop editions:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/


I will not be drawn on usefulness of web browsing as everyone has differing perspectives of what is acceptable...
Thinking outside the box is better than burying your head in the sand...

User avatar
B.Goode
Posts: 10725
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:03 pm
Location: UK

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:00 pm

decoherence wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:48 pm
Hello ! :D

I would like to buy a pi4 just to make a sort of home laptop with a touchscreen monitor, and i intend to use it mostly for web browsing. (I use firefox and some add-ons.)
I just wonder what amount of RAM should i chose. I guess 4GB is the minimum. Would 8GB be a better choice ? I assume the real limitation for web browsing would be the CPU, and i think 4 extra gigs won't change anything, but i don't know...
What do you think ?
And should i prefer an OS over an other for my purpose ?
And is it a good idea at all ? I don't want something perfect but smooth enough to have nice time without nervous breakdowns... :P


Some of the issues around supporting Firefox are dealt with in this recent related thread: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=286224


You almost certainly need an OS in preference to any other way of trying to run your RPi board.


Raspberry Pi ship a browser with their RasPiOS Operating System that has been the subject of a lot of tuning and optimisation. Other browsers are available and will run, but perhaps not as well. You can choose to ignore those improvements if freedom of choice is vital to you.

User avatar
scruss
Posts: 3485
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:25 pm
Location: Toronto, ON
Contact: Website

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:01 pm

Firefox (current is around v68 on Raspberry Pi OS; the package is firefox-esr) runs quite well for me on a 4 GB Raspberry Pi 4B. Chromium is the officially-supported browser, and is a tad better for video, but I'm not wild about it.

For reasons, you're not going to get the latest-and-greatest versions of each browser, nor will you be able to install the most recent one. But at least firefox-esr is Quantum, so it runs at a decent clip on all four cores.
‘Remember the Golden Rule of Selling: “Do not resort to violence.”’ — McGlashan.
Pronouns: he/him

User avatar
UbuntuWizard
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:52 pm

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 4:08 pm

I think it would be a good browsing machine, 4GB is probably what you should get at the max, unless you like to keep a bunch of tabs open for no reason.

The Raspberry Pi can play videos with h264ify I think, and it has decent loading times of a few seconds, so using it for browsing is a good idea.

ex. (use a cloud hosting service to run your c / c ++ / etc code like replit etc)

The Raspberry Pi has similar performance to a ARM-Powered Chromebook, so it is decent at browsing.
I use Ubuntu Linux!

W. H. Heydt
Posts: 13603
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:29 pm

The only reason to go for more RAM if all you're doing is web browsing would be if you open an inordinate number of tabs. My grandson runs with 4 to 6 tabs open in Chromium (the RPiOS default browser) on a 2GB Pi4B. Those include things like YouTube videos and Google Meet class sessions....and sometimes videos within the Google Meet. I haven't seen anything suggesting memory limits affecting him so far. So...4GB should be plenty. If it isn't, then get an 8GB Pi4B (or, if it takes you long enough to make that decision, a Pi5B) and use your Pi4B4 for something else. There is no end to things you can use Pis to do, even if you didn't start out intending to do so. (At the moment, I have--ignoring other models--7 Pi4Bs in active use, 3 of them are 2GB and 4 are 4GB.)

User avatar
kerry_s
Posts: 1557
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:14 pm

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:47 pm

go for the 8gb, you'll start doing more, mess around, it's addicting. :lol:
i've run dual monitors, with 4 browser(chromium) windows, 3 playing video, loads of tabs, etc....

i'm running raspberry os 64bit beta on a rpi4 4gb, using a ssd drive on a usb 3 adapter. but i'm trying to save for the 8gb
i use mine as a desktop browsing & videos.
Attachments
2020-09-26-074630_1680x1050_scrot.png
2020-09-26-074630_1680x1050_scrot.png (193.91 KiB) Viewed 922 times

decoherence
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:10 pm

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:19 pm

Wow I didn't expect so many answers, thank you very much ! :D
UbuntuWizzard wrote:I think it would be a good browsing machine, 4GB is probably what you should get at the max, unless you like to keep a bunch of tabs open for no reason.
->Yes I do that :roll: 8-) It's my messy way of keeping track of informations. Anyway that "sounds" great for web browsing, at least with Chromium
B.Goode wrote:Some of the issues around supporting Firefox are dealt with in this recent related thread: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=286224


You almost certainly need an OS in preference to any other way of trying to run your RPi board.


Raspberry Pi ship a browser with their RasPiOS Operating System that has been the subject of a lot of tuning and optimisation. Other browsers are available and will run, but perhaps not as well. You can choose to ignore those improvements if freedom of choice is vital to you
->I'm fine with ESR version, but yeah, unfortunately I will definitely use Firefox... Mainly because of tab containers. And I don't trust Chromium, but maybe only vanilla Chromium is not reliable, since I guess the dev team of RaspberryPiOS should have removed all Google tracking stuff... (strikethrough : I apologize for that FUD)
Last edited by decoherence on Sat Sep 26, 2020 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

W. H. Heydt
Posts: 13603
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:29 pm

decoherence wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:19 pm
And I don't trust Chromium, but maybe only vanilla Chromium is not reliable, since I guess the dev team of RaspberryPiOS should have removed all Google tracking stuff...
The "vanilla" version you're probably thinking of is Chrome. Chromium is the derivative FOSS fork, hence the different name.

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 24489
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm
Location: Delightful Dorset

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:35 pm

decoherence wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:19 pm
Wow I didn't expect so many answers, thank you very much ! :D
UbuntuWizzard wrote:I think it would be a good browsing machine, 4GB is probably what you should get at the max, unless you like to keep a bunch of tabs open for no reason.
->Yes I do that :roll: 8-) It's my messy way of keeping track of informations. Anyway that "sounds" great for web browsing, at least with Chromium
B.Goode wrote:Some of the issues around supporting Firefox are dealt with in this recent related thread: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=286224


You almost certainly need an OS in preference to any other way of trying to run your RPi board.


Raspberry Pi ship a browser with their RasPiOS Operating System that has been the subject of a lot of tuning and optimisation. Other browsers are available and will run, but perhaps not as well. You can choose to ignore those improvements if freedom of choice is vital to you
->I'm fine with ESR version, but yeah, unfortunately I will definitely use Firefox... Mainly because of tab containers. And I don't trust Chromium, but maybe only vanilla Chromium is not reliable, since I guess the dev team of RaspberryPiOS should have removed all Google tracking stuff...

Please do not post FUD, chromium web browser is the basis for Google Chrome Web Browser and as such would not have any Google "tracking" Additions:

https://www.chromium.org/Home

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromium_(web_browser)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Chrome
Thinking outside the box is better than burying your head in the sand...

User avatar
kerry_s
Posts: 1557
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:14 pm

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:05 pm

i see on amazon-> deals
a lot of the mini pc's & hdmi computer sticks are on sale for roughly what you pay for a full raspberry pi setup.

so if you just must have it your way, thats a option. :D

decoherence
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:10 pm

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 9:52 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
decoherence wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:19 pm
Wow I didn't expect so many answers, thank you very much ! :D
UbuntuWizzard wrote:I think it would be a good browsing machine, 4GB is probably what you should get at the max, unless you like to keep a bunch of tabs open for no reason.
->Yes I do that :roll: 8-) It's my messy way of keeping track of informations. Anyway that "sounds" great for web browsing, at least with Chromium
B.Goode wrote:Some of the issues around supporting Firefox are dealt with in this recent related thread: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=286224


You almost certainly need an OS in preference to any other way of trying to run your RPi board.


Raspberry Pi ship a browser with their RasPiOS Operating System that has been the subject of a lot of tuning and optimisation. Other browsers are available and will run, but perhaps not as well. You can choose to ignore those improvements if freedom of choice is vital to you
->I'm fine with ESR version, but yeah, unfortunately I will definitely use Firefox... Mainly because of tab containers. And I don't trust Chromium, but maybe only vanilla Chromium is not reliable, since I guess the dev team of RaspberryPiOS should have removed all Google tracking stuff...

Please do not post FUD, chromium web browser is the basis for Google Chrome Web Browser and as such would not have any Google "tracking" Additions:

https://www.chromium.org/Home

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromium_(web_browser)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Chrome
Yes excuse me. I don't know much about it but I read several times that even in Chromium, Google sticks their nose in our business by automatically re-enabling data sending to their servers during updates. Actually I don't know if it's true or false, but... I don't trust them...
Last edited by decoherence on Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
kerry_s
Posts: 1557
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:14 pm

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:11 pm

Yes excuse me. I don't know much about it but I read several times that even in Chromium, Google sticks their nose in our business by automatically re-enabling data sending to their servers. Actually I don't know if it's true or false, but... I don't trust them...
as long as you go through the settings & uncheck those it'll be fine the 1 everyone misses is: sync & google services> make searches & browsing better.

pidd
Posts: 1271
Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 8:29 pm
Location: Birkenhead, Wirral, UK
Contact: Website

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:35 pm

I admit if the 8GB version had been available when I bought mine I would probably have gone that route, I was somewhat sceptical of those said you don't even need 4GB.

However, in use they were quite correct, as a desktop you don't need much memory, its nothing like resource eating Windows. I have 12 tabs open on Chromium at the moment and I am still under 1GB of memory in use.

I have Pi servers, you can check memory usage on the contact link on the right, that server is running apache2, mariadb, fail2ban, VNC server etc and has the lxde GUI running, its normally memory usage is around 190 - 230 MB, on Windows it would be at least 2GB.

I was also an avid fan of Firefox on my PC but I am more than happy using Chromium on the Pi, I find Firefox quite unresponsive when I go back on the PC. Initially the way Chromium renders makes it look a bit blocky but it is faster at rendering than firefox, you soon get used to the different rendering progress. The only thing it has problem with is large tables, like the country table on Worldometer COVID page https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/, I have no idea why, it must be a bug but that takes about 10 seconds to insert the table. The performance on sites without large tables shows no indication of slowness and hardly any sites use large tables.

W. H. Heydt
Posts: 13603
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:51 pm

pidd wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:35 pm
I admit if the 8GB version had been available when I bought mine I would probably have gone that route, I was somewhat sceptical of those said you don't even need 4GB.
I think that's in large part because no prior Pi had more that 1GB RAM....and many had less. The original "received wisdom" was that the Pi4B1 was suitable for headless uses, the Pi2B2 for general and desktop use, and Pi4B4 was for development or other heavy work. In actual practice, I'm using 2GB and 4GB Pi4Bs.

For general use and "distance learning" I set up a Pi4B2 for my grandson. I have a Pi4B2 with my PiDrive, and one running "STEMbian" (a UC Davis image of RPiOS Buster with their "CSTEM" packages on it). For a machine for my grandson to run the full version of Minecraft, I went with a Pi4B4. For the three (main, secondary with replicated database, and test & development) systems for my convention registration system, I used Pi4B4s, booting from 120GB SSDs. The big memory footprint is mostly so that a future upgrade to a web interface won't tax them.

At this point, my collection of Pi4B spares consists of 2 Pi4B1, and one each of Pi4B2, Pi4B4, and Pi4B8. Over time I plan to get to the point that I have 2 spares available in each memory size. And, yes, in the unlikely event that there is ever a Pi4B16, I'll get a couple of them. No idea what I'd put on a Pi that would justify that much RAM, though. Comes to that, I can't think of anything I'd do with a Pi that could make reasonable use of 8GB...

sgbeal
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:37 pm

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:52 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:51 pm
And, yes, in the unlikely event that there is ever a Pi4B16, I'll get a couple of them. No idea what I'd put on a Pi that would justify that much RAM, though. Comes to that, I can't think of anything I'd do with a Pi that could make reasonable use of 8GB...
An unsolicited related anecdote:

My first 4B was purchased to replace my power-hungry primary desktop system (Linux Mint), as most of my work on a PC is C programming in emacs and that system draws entirely too much power to justify using it mostly for that. i went with the 8GB model but have yet to see it go far over about 3GB actively used, even with my proverbial pedal to the metal: emacs with several files open, Firefox with about a dozen tabs, half a dozen console windows open locally, another few opened via X11-forwarded SSH, and a local apache2 instance. i use the RPi OS's desktop environment, as it's not only tremendously lightweight but also less flaky than my preferred MATE (which has issues with audio control on the pi, working one day and not the next, then again, and then not).

i bought a 2nd 4B, this time with "only" 4GB, for use as a dedicated Pi Hole server. That machine was bored to tears in that role, with <100MB memory used and an average CPU load of less than 1%, so i repurposed it as a secondary workstation (in my Man Cave) and distcc (distributed C compiler) node to help my 4B8GB compile stuff faster (which it does, by a full third for most of what i do). Even when using the 4GB model as a desktop environment, i've yet to get it above about 2GB of memory used (not including filesystem cache/buffers).

Both units are still bored to tears most of the time, but maybe someday i'll find something which can make good use of their potential.

All that is only to say: 4GB goes a lot further than we generally tend to think it will, and is perfectly suitable for a basic desktop workstation and most non-enterprise-level server processes.

User avatar
UbuntuWizard
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:52 pm

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:14 am

pidd wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:35 pm
I admit if the 8GB version had been available when I bought mine I would probably have gone that route, I was somewhat sceptical of those said you don't even need 4GB.

However, in use they were quite correct, as a desktop you don't need much memory, its nothing like resource eating Windows. I have 12 tabs open on Chromium at the moment and I am still under 1GB of memory in use.

I have Pi servers, you can check memory usage on the contact link on the right, that server is running apache2, mariadb, fail2ban, VNC server etc and has the lxde GUI running, its normally memory usage is around 190 - 230 MB, on Windows it would be at least 2GB.

I was also an avid fan of Firefox on my PC but I am more than happy using Chromium on the Pi, I find Firefox quite unresponsive when I go back on the PC. Initially the way Chromium renders makes it look a bit blocky but it is faster at rendering than firefox, you soon get used to the different rendering progress. The only thing it has problem with is large tables, like the country table on Worldometer COVID page https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/, I have no idea why, it must be a bug but that takes about 10 seconds to insert the table. The performance on sites without large tables shows no indication of slowness and hardly any sites use large tables.
The weak single-threaded ARM cpu cores is what causes that. Since the 1 GB model was discontinued, I'd recommend the 2gb model, or if you aren't a linux expert at memory management, 4 GB just for future-proofing and no need to worry about RAM.


Off topic, I don't quite see why the 8 GB model exists. (in a use-case / performance scenario)

Even a low end i3 cpu from 2011 gets nearly 5-10x performance on single-threaded and multi-threaded performance.
I know, I know comparing a x86 cpu with a ARM cpu is pretty unfair, but if you have a process / server that is using over 4 gb of ram, probably should be using a x86 cpu. Unless you realllly care about power, which shouldn't be a focus when you are using over 4 gb of ram somehow as a server

"If you're a power user, intending to compile and link large pieces of software or run heavy server workloads, or you simply want to be able to have even more browser tabs open at once, this is definitely the Raspberry Pi for you," he said.
However, if you really want to max out your RAM on Raspberry Pi, you can, and Raspberry Pi OS (32-bit) will let you. With 59 tabs open, some of which were playing offline, 4K video files, we managed to hit 4.4GB. The 32-bit OS makes available a full 7.8GB of the 8GB so, if you really are that much of a power user, there’s a ridiculous amount of headroom left.
Got this from tomshardware. https://www.tomshardware.com/news/raspb ... 8gb-tested


I am using the alot-more memory intensive Google Chrome, with 10+ tabs open, each going to a relatively-detailed website, and I am only using 800 MB. The extremely-optimized Chromium would probably use less.

Unless you open 50+ tabs playing 1080p video, have two instances of LibreOffice open, coding in Python, Java, C, Go, and Scratch with three command prompts open and a active SSH session, then you might use over 4 GB, but why?
You shouldn't be using a near 100 dollar computer as a high-end computer. It isn't one. If you somehow are a extreme power-user, then yes if you realllly want to use a 8 GB pi for some specific reason, then yes, go ahead.

"We think the new name will help more people feel confident in using our computers and our software," said Upton.
I think this basically means "We want more people to believe the Raspberry Pi can be used as a good desktop computer"


Use cases for 8 GB, I don't see much, if you are using 8 GB, please inform me of your proper use case. However for marketing purposes, the 8 GB is a good option.






On topic, If you are just looking at a few tabs, playing some videos, coding on python / your favorite programming language, then the 2 GB model is a good option for you. If you are using it as a daily driver, then get 4 GB just in case you might want slight future proofing and want a upgrade, but 2 gb is pretty useful
I use Ubuntu Linux!

W. H. Heydt
Posts: 13603
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:46 am

UbuntuWizard wrote:
Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:14 am
Off topic, I don't quite see why the 8 GB model exists. (in a use-case / performance scenario)
I think it's a case of "because they could". And the reason there *isn't* a 16GB version is because they can't (yet). I have little doubt that if a compatible 16GB RAM module comes on the market for a price that made a Pi4B-16 feasible (say, $95) AND the RPT decided to release it, there are people who would buy them. If only to say that they had the largest memory version of Pi they could get.

I agree that an 8GB Pi4B is a solution in search of a problem (though I do have one...not in use because I don't have a problem that needs it) but that doesn't appear to be an impediment to selling them. I've already mentioned having 7 Pi4Bs in use, and all of them are either 2GB or 4GB, and I know that at least 3 out of 4 4GB ones are, at least for now, overkill. (On the 4th one I'm not sure because I don't know how much of a memory hog the full version of Minecraft is.)

User avatar
kerry_s
Posts: 1557
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:14 pm

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:05 am

i been running firefox all day, 720p youtube works fine. it's a little more on the cpu & temp's, but that can be tweaked.
simply enabling opengl (layers.acceleration.force-enabled) & using xcompmgr to get rid of the black shadow around menus. (xcompmgr -nfFC -I 0.000 -O 0.00 -D 1)

i'm on a rpi 4 4gb

User avatar
UbuntuWizard
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:52 pm

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:51 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:46 am
UbuntuWizard wrote:
Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:14 am
Off topic, I don't quite see why the 8 GB model exists. (in a use-case / performance scenario)
I think it's a case of "because they could". And the reason there *isn't* a 16GB version is because they can't (yet). I have little doubt that if a compatible 16GB RAM module comes on the market for a price that made a Pi4B-16 feasible (say, $95) AND the RPT decided to release it, there are people who would buy them. If only to say that they had the largest memory version of Pi they could get.

I agree that an 8GB Pi4B is a solution in search of a problem (though I do have one...not in use because I don't have a problem that needs it) but that doesn't appear to be an impediment to selling them. I've already mentioned having 7 Pi4Bs in use, and all of them are either 2GB or 4GB, and I know that at least 3 out of 4 4GB ones are, at least for now, overkill. (On the 4th one I'm not sure because I don't know how much of a memory hog the full version of Minecraft is.)
My point is there arent many people who would need so much RAM but they still are, and the 8 GB model probably exists to make the Raspberry Pi look alot like a good desktop computer mostly
I use Ubuntu Linux!

okenido
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:47 am

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:37 pm

Which is silly, you get the same amount of RAM as a desktop with less than 10% of the CPU performance. Not balanced at all

User avatar
jahboater
Posts: 6281
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:38 pm
Location: Wonderful West Dorset

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:04 pm

UbuntuWizard wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:51 am
My point is there arent many people who would need so much RAM but they still are, and the 8 GB model probably exists to make the Raspberry Pi look a lot like a good desktop computer mostly
It would be interesting to see the sales figures for the 8GB model.
My guess it is that it has been popular.
Pi4 8GB running PIOS64 Lite

ejolson
Posts: 5982
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:47 am

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:33 pm

okenido wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:37 pm
Which is silly, you get the same amount of RAM as a desktop with less than 10% of the CPU performance. Not balanced at all
My measurements at

viewtopic.php?p=1609900#p1609900

and other posts in the same thread tell me that the Cortex-A72 has about 1/4 the per-core speed of a modern x86 or Power9 core and about 1/3 the speed of a Graviton2 core in the Amazon cloud.

The idea there is a balance between memory and core speed is interesting. A compute node in many clusters have about 512GB and 32 cores, which, after accounting for the factor 4 difference in core speed, gives

512/(32*4)=4 GB/compute.

For comparison the 8GB Pi has

8/4=2 GB/compute.

That's actually a bit less memory relative to the aggregate speed of the CPU, but still within a factor of two.

The desktop I am currently using has an older AMD APU with double the per core speed of the 4B but only 2 cores. As the RAM is again 8GB, the memory ratio of that computer is

8/(2*2)=2 GB/compute,

exactly the same as the 8GB Pi.

Earlier this year I was using a different desktop with a similar speed processor but only 4GB RAM. My online teaching involves running the following programs at the same time:
  • Zoom
  • Chromium (only a few tabs)
  • Xournal PDF markup tool
  • Jupyter LAB notebook
  • Julia programming
The system often hit swap, which was better than crashing, but did not lead to a convenient teaching platform. The current system with 8GB RAM performs the same tasks quite smoothly.

If Zoom ran in a reasonable way, the 8GB Pi could be a replacement for distance teaching. I heard the dynamic recompiler built in to Box86 may allow the 32-bit x86 version of the Zoom client to run. I'm interested to try that idea out!

User avatar
UbuntuWizard
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:52 pm

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Mon Oct 05, 2020 3:17 pm

ejolson wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:33 pm
okenido wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:37 pm
Which is silly, you get the same amount of RAM as a desktop with less than 10% of the CPU performance. Not balanced at all
My measurements at

viewtopic.php?p=1609900#p1609900

and other posts in the same thread tell me that the Cortex-A72 has about 1/4 the per-core speed of a modern x86 or Power9 core and about 1/3 the speed of a Graviton2 core in the Amazon cloud.

The idea there is a balance between memory and core speed is interesting. A compute node in many clusters have about 512GB and 32 cores, which, after accounting for the factor 4 difference in core speed, gives

512/(32*4)=4 GB/compute.

For comparison the 8GB Pi has

8/4=2 GB/compute.

That's actually a bit less memory relative to the aggregate speed of the CPU, but still within a factor of two.

The desktop I am currently using has an older AMD APU with double the per core speed of the 4B but only 2 cores. As the RAM is again 8GB, the memory ratio of that computer is

8/(2*2)=2 GB/compute,

exactly the same as the 8GB Pi.

Earlier this year I was using a different desktop with a similar speed processor but only 4GB RAM. My online teaching involves running the following programs at the same time:
  • Zoom
  • Chromium (only a few tabs)
  • Xournal PDF markup tool
  • Jupyter LAB notebook
  • Julia programming
The system often hit swap, which was better than crashing, but did not lead to a convenient teaching platform. The current system with 8GB RAM performs the same tasks quite smoothly.

If Zoom ran in a reasonable way, the 8GB Pi could be a replacement for distance teaching. I heard the dynamic recompiler built in to Box86 may allow the 32-bit x86 version of the Zoom client to run. I'm interested to try that idea out!
I got the numbers from here
https://gadgetversus.com/processor/broa ... e-i3-2100/
I'm not too sure which OS they used to benchmark the Pi.
I use Ubuntu Linux!

ejolson
Posts: 5982
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:47 am

Re: 4, 8GB RAM or no Pi at all for Firefox browsing ?

Mon Oct 05, 2020 4:05 pm

UbuntuWizard wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 3:17 pm
ejolson wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:33 pm
If Zoom ran in a reasonable way, the 8GB Pi could be a replacement for distance teaching. I heard the dynamic recompiler built in to Box86 may allow the 32-bit x86 version of the Zoom client to run. I'm interested to try that idea out!
I got the numbers from here
https://gadgetversus.com/processor/broa ... e-i3-2100/
I'm not too sure which OS they used to benchmark the Pi.
You are right to be suspicious.

Given the fact that the Raspberry Pi has a very different architecture than typical PC, the only use for the GeekBench aggregate score that I can see is to check your own Pi is running at identical speeds for the exact same model.

While such comparisons can rule out throttling due to thermal and voltage problems, that's about all. On the other hand, since there are far more things that can go wrong with a PC, GeekBench average scores might be more useful in that context.

Some difficulties are that the Pi 4B
  • outperforms Intel on the 64-bit integer division used in sysbench.
  • doesn't have hardware AES so runs slower with full-disk encryption.
  • has floating point which is relatively slower than the integer unit.
  • does not work with NVIDIA GPU accelerators.
These and many other architectural differences make average GeekBench performance figures for a Pi and an x86 PC not comparable.

If additional conditions under which the test had been run were described along with a report of each individual test, the result could be useful. Unfortunately, that website appears more focused on advertising than useful information.

Return to “Beginners”