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Performance and Power Consumption Comparison for AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato) and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

We ran a few benchmarks before to demonstrate the design and performance improvements of the AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato) platform over the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. Although we’ve released the numbers, we never quite gave any visual presentation of said improvements. Here are some graphs to help you understand the differences.

All tests were done on the latest Raspbian 4.9 Stretch for the Raspberry Pi 3 and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for the AML-S905X-CC.

The Sysbench CPU test is an useless benchmark for comparing relative hardware performance when using different distros but it does demonstrate architecture advantages of a modern ARMv8 ecosystem over legacy ARM ISA ecyosystems. Raspberry Pi 3’s throughput in combination with Raspbian does not perform well since it is based on ARMv6. AML-S905X-CC with ARMv8 Ubuntu takes less than 1/10th the time to complete the same task.

AES is fundamental to securing communication on the internet and at home. When you browse the websites, transfer files, or use web-enabled applications, you are most likely to be invisibly using AES. AML-S905X-CC supports ARM’s Crypto Extensions for accelerating AES encryption and decryption. With the core crypto extensions, AML-S905X-CC performs 20 times faster than NEON-accelerated AES on the Raspberry Pi 3.

AML-S905X-CC is equipped with DDR3-2133 RAM to cope with the high bandwidth requirements of 4K HDR content. Although Raspberry Pi 3 is advertised as LPDDR2-1066, the performance is reflective of LPDDR2-1333. It is possible that newer batches of Raspberry Pi 3 use quicker DRAM or the foundation updated the firmware to increase the DRAM clock speed since launch.

Two optimized C applications enjoy significant performance improvements. You will see a 25%-50% speedup on most applications due to the increased clock speed. Real world performance will show even greater improvements due to the thermal headroom from the significantly lower power consumption of the AML-S905X-CC. We ran into multiple issues with the Raspberry Pi 3 which we will covered later.

Java throughput increases signficantly on AML-S905X-CC with Ubuntu than with Raspberry Pi 3 with Raspbian. Some of the performance increase can be attributed running in ARMv8 64-bit mode.

Raspberry Pi 3 does not support voltage switching on the MicroSD card. It is not able to enter the SDR104 UHS mode supported by most high performance cards. AML-S905X-CC unlocks this capability and allows read and write operations to be performed more than 3X as fast.

Incredible performance is moot without proper power or thermal budgeting. We cut the power consumption of our boards in half as compared to the Raspberry Pi 3. We carefully optimized the power input circuitry to reduce power consumption and increase stability. Where as Raspberry Pi 3 needs a 5.5V power supply to maintain stable 5V rails during cpuburn-a53, AML-S905X-CC will work without issue even with 4.1V power supply! You don’t have to source an exotic tailor made power supply. Almost any MicroUSB power supply will do.

While running these benchmarks, we noticed significant deficiencies of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. At first we thought it was our specific board but it was repeatable on every Raspberry Pi 3 Model B we purchased. Using a programmable DC power supply set for 5.1V was not sufficient to prevent the nasty rainbow square issue at full load. The polyfuse on the Raspberry Pi 3 experienced unexpectedly high voltage drop at just 1.5A. This caused huge inconsistencies in its benchmark results until we determined the cause. We had to drive the MicroUSB plug at 5.55V in order for it to achieve the necessary voltage levels on the 5V rails to prevent firmware clock throttling at full load. This is a startling design flaw for a board that has sold several million units. The design issue is the source of numerous complaints online.

Please note that this is partially comparing Raspbian against Ubuntu so the first sysbench numbers do not characterize the overall CPU performance of the Raspberry Pi. The Raspbian distro is using newer compiler toolchain since it is based on Debian Stretch. When Ubuntu 18.04 with Wayland arrives, we plan to upstream more support for the AML-S905X-CC and do an apples-to-apples comparison based on Ubuntu rather than Raspbian for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato) is available on Amazon USA and via our reseller LoveRPi.

13 thoughts on “Performance and Power Consumption Comparison for AML-S905X-CC (Le Potato) and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

  1. Impressive, can I plug in a Google’s AIY voice hat?

    1. You can certainly plug it in but it won’t do anything unless the python libraries and other code bits that Google uses are updated to use the right GPIOs.

  2. It mentions hardware compatibility. Will I be able to plug my DAC that uses the pin headers on the pi and have it “just work”?

    1. Hardware function and form factor compatibility is not software compatibility. Raspberry Pi specific software will only work with the exclusive Broadcom chip that is on it. The DAC vendor has to integrate their software for this particular board.

  3. Could you please post the output of:

    time bash -c ‘dd if=/dev/urandom bs=4k count=500k|xz -2T0>/dev/null’

    We’re doing comparative benchmarks on several platforms of that explicit payload.

  4. Retro pie? Kodi? Can I use my image? I actually already know the answer. Will totally buy though because I’m a developer

    1. Retrogaming via Lakka and Kodi via LibreELEC are supported.

  5. Is there a plan allowing building a cluster with Compute modules?

    1. Our compute module products are being designed. They are expected to be available for sale in September 2018.

  6. I presume this is OS dependent and not hardware dependent, but the AML-S905X-CC can run docker / kubernetes right? I feel like this is a stupid question, just want to make sure before I buy 5+ for a kubernetes cluster.

    1. That is correct. It will run Kubernetes. We recommend using our headless image or Armbian since they contain a critical network driver fix.

  7. After browsing the ASUS Tinker Board S, ROC Renegade, ODroid-C2 and ROCK64 boards in this range, the AML-S905X just seems to have the best overall performance. So I just bought one of these boards with a 16GB eMMC module and excited for it to come in!

    So after reading this article, my understanding is that the boards power supply is very robust and can go wide-open even over microUSB power? I’ve always had issues with Pi microUSB power and typically only buy Barrel-jack powered boards so I was hesitant to purchase but it will be here in 3 days!

    1. ASUS Tinker Board uses the RK3288 which has 4 out-of-order cores. It is using ARM’s 32-bit instruction set but it can still be faster in certain scenarios. The SoCs you mentioned, S905X, RK3328, are in-order cores so they consume very little power and are also using ARM’s 64-bit instruction set. Raspberry Pi’s problem with MicroUSB is due to inherent design flaws on the board rather than issues with powering through MicroUSB.

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