RPi 1 B+ vs RPi 2 B Performance

June 6, 2015

The Raspberry Pi has opened up the world of low-cost computing for technology enthusiasts around the world. RPi 1 model B led the way, with RPi 1 B+ improving on the original model. In February 2015, Raspberry Pi 2 B was released. RPi 2 was a significant upgrade to performance over its predecessor.

Raspberry Pi 1 model B+ image

Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+

Raspberry Pi 2 model B image

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

RP 1 B+ vs RP 2 B primary performance components:

RPi 1 B+ RPi 2 B
SoC: Broadcom BCM2835 Broadcom BCM2836
CPU 700 MHz single-core ARM 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7
RAM: 512 MB 1 GB

So just how much better performing is the RPi 2 model B? Raspberry Pi Foundation says that it is up to 6 times faster. Some of that is based on synthetic benchmarks that don’t always relate to real-world experience. To answer the question in terms we can better understand, MBTechWorks has performed some relative benchmarks.

One of the most noticeable characteristics of performance is navigation and usage of applications. It is frustrating to wait long periods while an application launches. Quick application launches and snappy navigation is one hallmark of good performance.

Our experience, albeit a subjective one, is that the RPi 2 model B is much “snappier” than RPi 1 B+.  The user experience is simply better.

There are many factors that affect performance of any computer including CPU speed, CPU cores / processors, OS ability to process multiple threads, the storage I/O speed, memory, video GPU, and cache to name some of the more significant.

To more objectively measure performance (considering the many variables listed above), we compare the launch times and CPU utilization for many of the applications that come standard with the Raspbian operating system (the recommended OS by the Pi Foundation). While this may not be a rigorous comparison, it does provide a pretty good real-world benchmark;for contrasting the performance differences. Finally, we include one synthetic benchmark using the Sysbench tool to give an idea of raw CPU power differences. Sysbench is configured to calculate 2,000 prime numbers in each test, first using 1 thread, and then 4 threads. Notice that only RPi 2 can take advantage of the multiple threads with its quad-core processor.

Test Setup – both boards:

  • Overclocking:  None
  • Micro SD card:  Toshiba 8 GB Class 10, 30 MB/s
  • Operating System:  Raspbian version 1.4.0
  • Network connection:  None (network / internet response times vary and are not a good benchmark for computer board performance)
  • Video Connection:  HDMI
  • Board Voltage:  5v (as measured at power input to board)

All times are represented as minutes:seconds or just seconds if less than a minute.

  RPi 1 B+ RPi 2 B
Function Time CPU % Time CPU %
Raspbian Boot 1:05 40
Launch Python 3 12 100% 5 40%
Launch Scratch 9 100% 4 22%
Launch Sonic Pi 23 100% 12 20%
Sonic Pi – Play Bach Minuet G n/a 55% n/a 6%
Launch Mathmatica 2:42 100% 31 25%
Launch Wolfman 17 100% 4 20%
Launch Web Browser 9 100% 3 23%
Launch Minecraft 2 64% 1 10%
Minecraft Create new world 40 100% 16 25%
Launch Python Games 6 98% 2 15%
Launch Accessories Apps – all 2 – 4 low ~ 1 low
Sysbench 1 Thread 57 100% 32 25%
Sysbench 4 Threads 57 100% 8 100%

It becomes clear that RPi 2 is measurably faster in every test. This is reflected in the better overall user experience and greater raw CPU computation power. I always felt that RPi 1 was a bit sluggish, but RPi 2 with its improved performance has put that to rest.

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