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I have one Raspberry Pi (with 256MB of RAM) and a lot of ideas to do with it. For example:

  • Download center with transmission, amule, etc.
  • Web server with static webs (or few PHP code) and few visits per month.
  • Mail server.
  • Git server and Redmine.
  • Media center with XBMC or Plex.
  • NAS.
  • ownCloud server.
  • Music server (MPD or Mopidy).
  • etc...

I know that only one Raspberry Pi is very little for all of this stuff. But my question is how to measure the performance? I mean, is better to buy all-in-one server or is better to buy one Raspberry Pi for every point? How can I know how many Raspberry Pi I will need?

  • I've finally got mopidy up on my B-type Pi (512 MB RAM). While playing some MP3s it's eating up well beyond 60% RAM and above 50% CPU. CPU load even increasing when submitting simple commands like "up volume" via ncmpc. So it's working but it aint no fun. I even have to shut down kodi from wasting 20% CPU just by idling around. Pretty good excuse to get one of the new Pi2 ;) – Ghanima Feb 8 '15 at 12:13
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If you exclude XBMC, Redmine and Music Server, I have already done those (with the addition of a PostgreSQL database and Mozilla Firefox SyncServer) and I can tell you it works very well with 256MB RAM (240MB since the memory split won't take less than 16 for the GPU). Of course there is no desktop UI. It took me about a month or so, playing around in my free time..

To play movies you'll need at least 64MB RAM for the GPU, and the XBMC is very resource hungry (in all CPU-RAM and I/O ops) so it won't leave space for anything else in your 256MB so it won't fit. It's one or the other, you can't have both.

You can use one Raspberry for all the server stuff (mail, webserver, cloud, NAS etc) and one more for the media stuff (XBMC mostly, maybe MPD as well).

You may also need a powered USB hub for external hard drives or other peripherals, so consider this cost as well.

An important note is that the poor ARMv6 and the humble bus of the Pi cannot compete with the multicore x64 all-in-one server in performance. Also, it will require significantly more time to have everything up and running and tweak the configs to get the best of it (unless you consider this a hobby, so it's fun :) ).

Conclusion, attempting to answer the question. The all-in-one server will perform much better in all aspects, even compared to a team of 4-5 RasPis. The Pis are more fun and can do all the work but will be slower as much as they are cheaper.

  • Database and Firefox SyncServer are good points, I will add them to the list :). I'm looking for something cheap so I like that you already made what I want. I will follow your suggestion and I will use one Raspberry Pir for the server stuff and the other for the media stuff. – ilazgo Jan 29 '14 at 15:44
  • You can also start with the one you already have, just use 2 SD cards to setup the different stuff :) – foibs Jan 29 '14 at 15:57

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