From IDGF-SP Financial and energetic analysis of volunteer computing and desktop grids
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The Raspberry Pi is a small, ARM-based Linux computer designed at University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory (and currently produced by Sony in Pencoed, Wales, U.K.!). The Raspberry Pi has become a huge success in the hardware and software hobby communities. It lends itself to many applications, from media servers to electronics projects. Current sales figures are over one million units per year.

Because the Raspberry Pi can be used as home server, there are potentially numerous devices available for volunteer computing. We made a quick comparison between a Vaio VPC Z2 laptop (Intel Core i5-2410M at 2.3 GHz) and a Raspberry Pi. Obviously, the raw performance of the laptop largely surpasses the performance of the 700 MHz ARM. In terms of energy-performance and price-performance, the Raspberry Pi shows better results, however:

Laptop Core2 Duo 2.4 GHz, 2 threads:

  • Whetstone benchmark: 4270 (see [1], Core2 Duo 2.4 GHz, 2 threads)
  • Power consumption: 48 W
  • Price: 1000 €
  • Performance/power: 4270/48 = 89
  • Performance/cost: 4270/1000 = 4.27

Raspberry Pi:

  • Whetstone benchmark: 270 (see [2])
  • Power consumption: 2W
  • Price: 31 € (37 € with power adaptor)
  • Performance/power: 270/2 = 135
  • Performance/power: 270/37 = 7.3