I installed Ubuntu Mate 16.04 LTS on Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and overclocked it to 1.4 GHz. The Micro SD card used is a Samsung 32GB PRO Class 10.

However the Raspberry Pi still feels sluggish with simple usage like scrolling down a webpage in Firefox.

Is this normal? Will Raspbian be more responsive? Are there more overclocking and tweaks that can be done to make the system more snappy?

  • Well yeah. It's a Pi. It's not an Intel Core i7 gaming PC. Your phone is probably faster than your Pi. – pandalion98 Jun 22 '16 at 13:22
  • Raspbian is supposedly faster than Ubuntu. – pandalion98 Jun 22 '16 at 13:22

First I would like to state that I use Raspbian Jessie on my Pi 3.

My experience with Jessie was that it was a little sluggish initially. I did get latency in all tasks to improve after I did the following.

  1. Bumped up the Video memory to 256MB
  2. Remove/purged the built-in swapfile that comes with Raspbian Jessie. It was bloody slow as it was running on the uSD card where the OS is at.

    sudo apt-get purge dphys-swapfile dphys-config

  3. Bought the fastest 16GB USB flash stick I could find.

  4. Setup a 3GB Swap partition (doesn't need to be 3GB but I thought what the hell why not).

  5. Installed F2FS and formatted the remaining space to F2FS for use. F2FS is the only file system to date that is designed for Flash.

  6. Set swappiness to 60

  7. Installed all new applications, scripts, program workspace, etc on the F2FS partition.

  8. Last note, not really a step but more of a tip, don't use Firefox or Iceweasel as it is slow on the Pi, use the built-in bare-bones browser that comes with Raspbian Jessie as it is much more responsive and less latent.

Things that I could improve but would take time and mean perhaps blowing away everything so I haven't done yet; well install Rasbian on F2FS.

On another note, overclocking will heat up your ARM chip a lot faster which will then kick-off the protection algorithm when under sustained load to lower the clock speed so it doesn't burn out. If you want to stay overclocked then you will need active cooling on the ARM chip. Check Amazon as they sell those tiny fans for the Raspberry.

Currently as I said I am running Raspbian Jessie and have Kodi on top of it running 24/7. I also have a microserver (Python3 Flask) running 24/7 that accesses/runs certain commands that I have programmed so I can remotely get it to do things when away from home (a.k.a. IoT or Internet of Things). For example I have a Temper USB thermometer plugged in on a usb extension cord which the webserver can access to return back the room temperature. This is all running while Kodi is on even when people are actively watching movies or streaming from the net. I also have an NFS Client on it keeping tabs of my library of media on a File server I have, all while having multiple ssh sessions and tightvnc server running on it.

So in essence, the tiny $35 Raspberry packs a hell of a punch! Compare that to an Intel NUC which orders of magnitude more expensive.

  • So DanglingPointer, could you elaborate on how you made those 8 changes you mentioned? I would like to try a few of them. – Michael Moriarty Sep 29 '16 at 3:30

I tried Ubuntu 16 once, nothing worked well at all. Slow as you state, the packages that installed were not up to our project standards we have (example mysql was impossible to remote into).

Various bugs elsewhere too. Symlinks failed to work correctly. Set a link and it was like running down a tunnel that wrapped back on itself. So far Raspbian runs very smooth and impressed with it's performance as a dev and server platform.

I doubt Ubuntu 16 has the needed kernel compiles for the rpi. So it is bound to run horrible regardless unless you compile it yourself and find everything you need.

That said, in short, you are not alone and that performance is normally experienced by many.

However, I would seriously avoid clocking it up to boost performance on an OS that is not very compatible with it. You will be looking to replace it sooner than later.

As with DanglingPointer, my experience is with Raspbian rather then Ubuntu but I will say that using a Western Digital PI Drive hard disk for root and swap transformed my system noticeably. I manually formatted it with a proper swap partition and transferred my root partition from the SD Card onto the remaining space.

I use my PI as a Wordpress development server and prior to the upgrade it would get slow and unresponsive with complex operations. Now it never misses a beat.

This is normal behaviour for a Raspberry Pi. Everybody wants to think of them as desktop replacements, but they are not. They pack a good deal of processing power into a small form factor for a very low price and low power usage, but a GUI will make the sluggish, Raspbian too.

Raspeberry Pi is a great small factor PC and DiY board, but is not perfect to use with a Desktop. I use my Raspberry Pi 3 to small things and electronics. For a example you can use for create a NAS using just command line part of OS. Install Raspbian and remove all packages related with Desktop See How-To here next you can add your disks to use like an professional NAS.

You can use like a server too, if you have two rasps you can add one with Apache and PHP and the other with MySQL dedicated server. Join both and you get a basic server for your websites.

Just is 2 examples.

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