Raspberry Pi 2 vs. Raspberry Pi 1 vs. Beaglebone Black vs. Intel Edison

I applaud the Raspberry Pi 2 with ARMv7 quad-core CPU and LPDDR2 RAM release. My opinion on the original Raspberry Pi (non +, model B 256MB and 512MB RAM) boards was fairly sour due to the anemic ARMv6 single core CPU. Generally speaking, the Beaglebone Black and Intel Edison have been substantially better choices for the maker and professional embedded systems designer.

Upon receiving the Raspberry Pi 2 and loading the latest Raspian image, my impressions are far more favorable than the Raspberry Pi 1. Using the LXDE graphical desktop, the Raspberry Pi 2 is useful for basic desktop use. At this time, Firefox is not available for the Raspberry Pi 2, and HTML5 is not fully supported in the GNOME Web browser.

The hacks I saw on the web for Chromium using Pepper didn’t work for me, but I mostly plan to use this as a headless device, so I didn’t pursue it futher.

In short, the painfully and in my opinion uselessly slow desktop graphical environment of the Raspberry Pi 1 has been overcome with the much faster multicore ARMv7 CPU of the Raspberry Pi 2, which is usable as a basic desktop, much like the Beaglebone Black.

The Beaglebone Black has been a much better choice than the Raspberry Pi 1 due in part to the PRU, DDR3L RAM (faster), and ARMv7 CPU.

The Intel Edison has been a much better choice than the Raspberry Pi and in some applications better than the Beaglebone Black due to the Edison’s dual-core x86 CPU, fast RAM, and extremely favorable energy efficiency. Depending on your application, the Edison may run 10x as long or more on battery than the Raspberry Pi (1 or 2) and Beaglebone Black.

Ralink RT2800 Warning TX status “fix”

I have some of the ubiquitous USB Wifi sticks with a chipset using the Ralink rt2800 driver. I noticed that while it works fine, I got a lot of dmesg errors like:

rt2800usb_txdone: Warning – Got TX status for an empty queue 2, dropping
rt2800usb_entry_txstatus_timeout: Warning – TX status timeout for entry 14 in queue 2

I’m not a big fan of dozens of dmesg logs per second, so I quickly found this answer that worked for me:

sudo iwconfig wlan1 power off

which according to man iwconfig disables power management. When I’m hanging out with a coffee can Wifi antenna, I’m not interested in saving a few mW so this seems a harmless choice. Note I think you’ll have to type it again after reboot or logoff.


Using Phoronix Test Suite 5

  1. Prerequisites
  2. sudo apt-get install php5-cli php5-curl php-fpdf

  3. install
  4. Download from http://phoronix-test-suite.com/?k=downloads, then type:
    sudo gdebi phoronix-test-suite_5*.deb

    if you don’t have gdebi, you can install gdebi on Ubuntu 14.04 by:

    sudo apt-get install gdebi-core

  5. run tests (from terminal)
  6. phoronix-test-suite benchmark c-ray
    phoronix-test-suite benchmark hpcc
    phoronix-test-suite benchmark scimark2
    phoronix-test-suite benchmark xonotic

  7. Listing all results on this PC
  8. phoronix-test-suite list-saved-results

  9. Converting results to PDF
  10. phoronix-test-suite result-file-to-pdf myTest

Setting up Thunderbird 14 for Google Apps accounts (business/university)

If you’re setting up Thunderbird for the first time, the “Mail Account Setup” wizard will start automatically. Otherwise, click Edit>Account Settings>Account Actions>Add Account to bring up the wizard.

In the first window, type your Name, Email address, and password (strongly recommend un-checking Remember password). Then click Continue, and click Manual Config.

Fill in the next screen using your user name (replacing John Doe).

Thunderbird 14 email setup parameters
Thunderbird 14 email setup parameters




Read/Write speed of Seagate Momentus XT 500GB hybrid hard drive

The Seagate Momentus XT 500GB hybrid hard drive (4GB SSD, 500GB HDD) is selling for $90 at the moment on Amazon. I plugged the new drive into my Kingwin Dockmaster USB 3.0 adapter to see what the drive could do over a USB 3.0 link, using Disk Utility on Ubuntu 12.04.

The average read speed of the Seagate Momentus XT was measured to be 90MB/sec.
The average write speed of the Seagate Momentus XT was measured to be 97MB/sec.

SSD Pricing

The price of SATA III SSD’s is relevant to many types of researchers who find themselves having to use SSD as a form of oversized cache when performing certain data acquisition or processing algorithms. As such, we informally track the price of SSD’s from time to time here. For now, we focus solely on the pricing of the Intel 520 Series SSD.

SSD Pricing (following Intel 520 Series):

480GB     SSDSC2CW480A3K5     $840
240GB     SSDSC2CW240A3K5     $330
120GB     SSDSC2CW120A3K5     $170