ARM Small Board Computer benchmarks

I’m going through and somewhat revamping my “Battle of the Boards” testing process for this next year, and as part of that, I’m adding a few more benchmarks beyond my normal browser/filesystem benchmarks. I’ve got some kernel buildoffs planned (not quite as exciting or flashy as a photoshop bakeoff, but, hey, the concept holds), some more detailed memory analysis, and…

What else would people like to see? The browser benchmarks are interesting, though I think I’m going to move away from the pure Javascript ones as they don’t really reflect real world performance as much.

FLAC encoding is one I’ve used before to highlight performance differences.

I could do a blog render, but that’s mostly just single threaded image resizing with some other stuff thrown in the noise, and it leaks enough memory that it won’t complete on all the systems…

What sort of things matter to people in SBC performance?

Nothing! Given the sentiment expressed in the new years resolution thread, i’m surprised you have much care for them either. Sure in my younger days I was enticed by them and I have a full shoebox of circuit boards to prove it.

What amazing possibilities would be opened up by a credit card size computer that costs less than a tank of gas? buys raspberry pis Hmm before I even figured out what to do with it, they made one so much better for the same price buys raspberry pi2 but wait why waste your time with that when theres a $other_fruit pi knockoff with slightly better specs for slightly less price buys a fruit salad of pi but wait heres the pi 3 its close to a slow old PC surely this is the ultimate platform to build the vaguely defined DIY project of my dreams buys a pi3 or 3

what are they good for? dev kits for those throw away consumer products that is strictly worse than its non-IoT version? chasing this fake dream sold to me by Make™ Magazine that captivated a 13 year old me that if you just buy a 1337 enough soldering station you can use your superior creative genius to combine parts from an electronics distributor to make all these super neat things (that totally don’t already exist massproduced overseas for way less than you can prototype them) to solve problems, impress others, and maybe even spin off into a lucrative product.
I don’t mean to “yuck” your “yum” , though i’m curious how SBCs fit into a critical view of modern consumer tech trends? Is there some holy grail of performance/$ criteria that will enable something meaningful?

I don’t use them for “things.” I use them as desktops, and have been doing so for quite some while - since about the Pi3 era. Right now, two of the desktops in my office (the always on IRC/Element/terminal/light web box and my “main desktop” position, which is used for web/dev/music/admin/etc) are both ODroid N2+ boards - hex core with 4GB RAM and eMMC. The always-on box has gone from a Pi3, to a Jetson Nano, to a Pi4, to the N2+, gaining useful capabilities with most of the steps (the 8GB Pi4 was probably the high water mark just because it had more RAM, but I also sold that for the cost of two of the N2+ boards, and the USB SSD was a bit erratic at times).

So the short answer is that I’m benchmarking, and using, them as “proper computers.” The Rock5 is about 27% the kernel build performance (for a full aarch64 Linux kernel) of a desktop with an AMD 5700X, and not too much worse percentage-wise against one of my 3900X compute boxes.

Regarding building stuff yourself, the point of that is that the mass produced overseas crap is either selling your data or impossible to update/hack, whereas something you build yourself should be a lot better behaved.

As for how they fit in the “critical of modern consumer tech” view, they’re cheap and increasingly capable Linux machines that, more and more, are entirely usable as a full on computing device for more and more people - and as the capabilities improve, they should, with some work, be able to properly run more siloed OSes like Qubes. The Rock5B is the first ARM SBC that has the chops to usefully run Qubes, though it’s not ported to ARM yet. 4+4 big.LITTLE (with quite capable cores), 16GB RAM, and NVMe - that’s on a par with my Qubes laptop I have at the moment (2C/4T 5th gen i7, 16GB RAM, NVMe), which is a genuine daily driver machine for me. Yes, it’s Intel - Qubes and AMD have problems with suspend, among other things.

SBCs as desktops are inexpensive, but also quite hostile to the Wintel world, which I’m perfectly in support of.

I do plan to finish out some reviews, sell some of mine off, and focus more wood behind the Rock5B, though. Assuming I can get a clean framebuffer mode out of it - GPU drivers are currently quite hairy.