Comparing the new Raspberry Pi 2 with the Odroid-C1


An objective evaluation of the performance capabilities for the SBCs is not easy. Computing performance does not always depend on how the computer is used. Sometimes, the number and the type of interfaces are determinative. However, numbers have a language of their own. Therefore, it makes sense to test the nano-PCs against a series of benchmarks.

Some of the benchmarks used here come from the set collected by Roy Longbottom [12], and the remainder from the BYTE UNIX benchmark collection [13]. None of the programs for the various ARM architectures were modified or recompiled. This approach has both advantages and disadvantages: On one hand, it makes comparing results easy. On the other, the benefits inherent in the new architecture may not be reflected properly.

The boards were freshly booted before beginning the test. The benchmarks were configured so that they made use of all of the CPU cores. An RPi1B and a Banana Pi [14] were used to complete the field test.

The results show a clear picture of the Odroid-C1 as the winner (Figure 2). The RPi2B and the Banana Pi are in close competition with one another. However at the end, the new Raspberry Pi pulls ahead slightly.

Figure 2: The CPU benchmark shows that neither of the competitors surpasses the performance of the Odroid-C1.

As expected, the RPi1B reaches the finish line last. However, the throughput of the network interface or the performance when reading from and writing to connected data storage devices plays an important role. For example, the quality of the data storage device has a considerable influence on the results.

Table 2 shows the results of test runs that were performed with the Iperf tool [15]. Predictably, there is not much difference between the two Rasp Pi generations. In general however, the network is more stable in version 2.

Table 2

Iperf TCP Tests

TCP Window Size




Banana Pi


























* Measurements shown for server/client, each in Mbps

Likewise, it is not at all surprising that the Odroid-C1 achieves a greater throughput. The nominal rate of 1,000Mbps is nonetheless disappointing. The Banana Pi also uses a gigabit interface and steals the show from the Odroid-C1 in this regard. The box titled "Video Killed the …" explains why the Odroid-C1 does a fairly good job playing video formats.

Video Killed the …

The Raspberry Pi's multimedia capabilities are one reason for its success. The VideoCore GPU from Broadcom [16] forms the basis for these capabilities. Using hardware assistance, a Raspberry Pi straight out of the factory displays impressive performance playing video formats such as H264, MPG4, and MJPG. Codecs you might want to add, such as MPG2, are inexpensive.

You have no need to make any extra purchases with the Odroid-C1, either. Like the Rasp Pi, the board uses a dedicated chip for playing video formats. The Amlogic Video Engine, or AVE, is by far the most common. Fans of Kodi [17], formerly known as XBMC, will be happy that the Odroid-C1 competes handily with the Rasp Pi in this regard.

Beyond the Benchmarks

Although it's possible to conduct a fairly objective evaluation of a computer using hardware data or benchmark results, looking at the interfaces and the available extensions provides a more precise picture. This approach opens up completely different dimensions of the communities and their projects. A simple Internet query shows that significantly more projects exist for the Raspberry Pi than for the Odroid-C1. Existing literature focuses likewise more on the Pi than on the Odroid-C1.

Even though the benchmarks come out in favor of the Odroid-C1, the practical reality is that the Rasp Pi universe is very large and very important with respect to both hardware and software. If you are looking for an uninterruptible power supply, you have several options to choose from. In addition to commercially available products, a variety of do-it-yourself projects are also available. If you decide on the Odroid-C1, however, there is just one commercial product [18].

The situation looks much the same on the software side. The Raspberry Pi is a presence in almost every area. The Odroid world is also fairly lively, and as a result, the Banana Pi has been left behind. The wiringPi library [19] that accesses the GPIO interface on Rasp Pis also supports the Odroid-C [20]. On the plus side, the Odroid has a built-in infrared receiver that is easy to operate [21]. The real-time clock (RTC) is also available, but it needs a battery. Straight from the factory, neither the Rasp Pi nor the Odroid-C1 knows the current date. They each start after a reboot with the Unix epoch time of January 1, 1970. This makes for problems when Ubuntu Snappy Core runs on the Raspberry Pi (Figure 3).

Figure 3: The time must be set correctly before Ubuntu Snappy Core can run in top form.

The "Death Flash Affair" [22] did not inflict permanent damage on the reputation of the Rasp Pi. However, some Odroid owners couldn't help but enjoy a good laugh over the bug.

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