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Videos / Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ 3A+ Plus Benchmarked and Compared

There is a new Raspberry Pi! The long-awaited upgrade to the Rasberry Pi 1 Model A+ (Rpi1 A+). In this article, we are going to look at how much improvement the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ (Rpi3 A+) is over the Rpi1 A+ as well as how it stacks up to the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. Let's get started looking at the obvious changes to the hardware.

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Hello and welcome to this benchmarking video from Core Electronics. My name is Clinton and I'm going to be walking you through the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+, we're going to compare it to the old Raspberry Pi model 1 A+ and 2 the Raspberry Pi 3 B+, the thing that really surprised me about this is not how much better it is than the A+ but how well it compares to the 3 B+. So, let's get started and have a look at the obvious hardware changes that have been made.


Now we're going to compare the hardware between the old Raspberry Pi model A+ and the new Raspberry Pi 3 A+. The first thing you're going to notice is the change of processor chip. They've upgraded, from a 700-megahertz chip to the new 1.4-megahertz chip, which is the same chip that they use on the model 3 B+. They've also added Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, which will be handy when you want to get connected to the internet, other than that most of the changes will affect how the Raspberry Pi works. They still have the same form factor, so it'll plug straight into your old A+ projects and the holes also match up with B+ so you can even swap it out there.


The first thing that we're going to look at in terms of benchmarking is how much power do these uses under certain conditions, so let's jump into that. Looked at it under three separate conditions, so first we looked at how much power it uses while it's booting, how much power while it's idle and how much power users under full load. Having a look at the data we can see that the Raspberry Pi 1 model A+ is still using the least power worth noting that it is significantly less powerful in terms of processing power but what we have noticed is that the idle power has still remained fairly close, so the original model at one idle power was at 20 milliamps, the new model 3 A+ idle is at 28 milliamps. The model B+ it idles at almost twice that, so it's still the still one of the best for power economy that is available. Under boot conditions the model A+ is significantly more current draw than the original but only for a very short period. Finally under high load, so this is when we were pushing it to the limit with the benchmarking, running all the cores at a hundred percent the Model A+, still performs as well as the B+, though seems to use less power to do so which is quite cool if we can see here under high load the model 3 B+ is using quite a bit more power.


So, the next set of tests that we looked at were, how long it took to perform certain tasks such as, booting and calculating prime numbers. So, let's have a look at that. The benchmarking tools that we're going to use our SysBench, which you can get through Sudo Apt Get, just type Sudo Apt Get install SysBench and RIO Longbottom's benchmarking tool kit for Raspberry Pi, the links to that are in the article above. The tests that we ran first our boot time and calculating prime numbers, so we'll have a look at the results. So here we have my graph of the results, so if the first one we'll look at is boot time over here, the model A+ which because I haven't used a model A in quite a while, it was obvious that this was quite slow so 54 seconds to boot as compared to under 20 seconds, so 15 and 17 seconds, 15 seconds for B+  and 17 seconds for the model A+. So, a lot of improvements have been made there and so that's quite good and you notice that when you're resetting the Raspberry Pi a lot. The second benchmark that we had a look at, is calculating up to the first 10,000 prime numbers. So, calculating Prime's is a standard benchmark for computer performance and we just kind of see how long it takes. So the model A+, was able to calculate the first 10,000 Prime's in 345 seconds, this first column here we're using just a single core of the 4 cores, so the model 3 A+, it was able to do it in 120 seconds, which is already a massive improvement but we're only using one quarter of the power that we have and the B+ was able to do it in 119 seconds, again using just a single core. So, the next time we ran this this some calculation for the first 10,000 prime numbers, we used all 4 cores, we also ran it on the A+ though because it's only a single core processor, we get pretty much the same time, with a little bit extra because of the overhead of paralleling. The two raspberry Pi 3s have done phenomenally well in here and that's because it's got all 4 cores working on this problem and so we're down to about 30 seconds which is quite good.


The next set of tests that we're going to look at, is how many operations these can perform and how much memory they can move around each second. These are some cool tests, and these are mostly the ROI Longbottom tests, let's get onto that. To get the number of operations that can be performed per second we're going to use three benchmarks, Dry Stone which tests integer calculations, Linpack which tests floating-point calculations and SysBench memory functions, so that'll say how much memory we can move around. The first one we'll look at is Dry Stone the integer calculations, so if we have a look here, we can see that the Raspberry Pi model A can do 776 integer calculations per second, having compared that to the Raspberry Pi 3 A+ we're getting more than 2,000 extra calculations per second, which is quite phenomenal. The model 3 B+, seems to come out a little bit low though I didn't get a chance to rerun these and these are some different results from previously, so I don't know that this graph may change by the time you are looking at this, either way this is a significant increase and the model A+ is really doing well to compete even with the model B+. So, the next one we did was Single Precision floating point calculations. So, using Linpack single precision is how accurate the numbers stored are, double precision is much more accurate it takes more computing power. Looking at this and we can see that the A+ was able to do 51 of these calculations per second, the newer ones there are three variants, are able to do around 200 calculations per second, which is more than four times what the A+ is able to do. What's kind of interesting is when we move to double precision the raspberry Pi A, seem to take quite a hit to actually get the extra precision, whereas the newer A+ and B+ are able to do the same calculations, in is almost the same number of calculations within the second which is a testament to the kind of the improvements in the processor and how well it's able to do those.


One of the surprising things to me when I was doing this was this next section, which is the memory usage. The old A+ memory was able to do 288 megabytes per second, comparing that to the new three variants, both of which are able to perform at well over 2,000 megabytes per second, which is you going to notice that, that'll be where that speed-up in boot time and just makes it so much nicer to use having that memory throughput.


That's all the benchmarks we've run, I think this has been quite interesting, I was expecting it to be a lot better than the A, what I wasn't expecting was how well it contends against the B+. I think the A+ is going to be a good option for the Raspberry Pi moving forward as I'm excited to see what people can do with it. So, if you have any ideas and want to share those or any questions about anything we've done or benchmarking in general post, those in the forum thread below. Thank you.