So.. I have had a Raspberry Pi for a little while – I tried OpenElec and Raspbmc and they were OK but didn’t blow me away enough to warrant replacing my PC running XBMC.  So I decided to use the Pi as a backup to my SheevaPlug home server running Debian and doing the simple task of email (Postfix, ASSP, Courier), web (Apache and MySQL), file serving (Samba), Zabbix (simple monitoring of remote VPS), Bind as its main functions.  The SheevaPlug has performed flawlessly in this regard for a good few years and hasn’t given any sign of failing, but I thought I would set up a Pi which could sync everything over on a regular basis, so I started to investigate how they compare performance wise.  Here is the low down of the SheevaPlug vs Raspberry Pi:

One thing to bear in mind for this comparison – the Raspberry Pi has nothing but plain Debian loaded, where as the SheevaPlug is running the services mentioned above, so although I stopped samba, I left Apache/MySQL etc still running, so this is by no means a fair or accurate test.


Disk Access

The following command was run on both devices:

dd if=/dev/zero of=output.img bs=8k count=256k

This produces a file (output.img) 2.1GB in size, which is written to disk and then read back, and the total throughput is returned in MB/s.  The test was run 10 times and here are the results:

SheevaPlug Raspberry Pi
MB/s Seconds MB/s Seconds
Pass 1 3.7 575 16.7 128
Pass 2 3.9 547 17 127
Pass 3 3.9 557 16.9 127
Pass 4 3.3 105 15.3 140
Pass 5 4 537 11.1 194
Pass 6 3.2 610 10.9 198
Pass 7 4.8 448 11 195
Pass 8 5.2 416 10.9 197
Pass 9 5.4 398 10.8 199
Pass 10 5.2 411 10.9 198
Average 4.26 519.8 13.15 170.3

SheevaPlug Disk: E-SATA

Raspberry Pi Disk: USB 2.0



For this test I used sysbench installed onto each device and it was run with the following command:

sysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=20000 run
SheevaPlug Raspberry Pi
Test execution summary:
    total time (s) 1969 1305
    total number of events 10000 10000
    total time taken by event execution 1969 1305
    per-request statistics:
         min (ms) 185 130.03
         avg (ms) 197 130.46
         max (ms) 495 269.55
         approx.  95 percentile (ms) 235 131.51

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