The power of a single Raspberry Pi



A long while ago, when I got my first Raspberry Pi 3Bs, I was searching on the internet for projects worth trying out on my devices. Ironically, I found tons of projects, but what felt like 90% of the ones presented were pure boredom or some of the cooler ones were repeated so much, I could be sure that anyone with a Raspberry Pi replicated that project already. I wanted something very interesting, special and uncommon. Another thing that hopped to my mind when looking at all those projects was that even when they were using a Raspberry Pi 3B (the most powerful Raspi created at that point of time), people were using it only for a single project, even if it was e.g. only hosting a lightweight web server. Then I thought to myself - coming from an environment with only a single monster computer but a lot of computers from 20 years ago - why waste so much power for only a single purpose?
Then I became interested in running several applications on a single Raspberry Pi 3B, simultaneously. Of all the projects related to Raspis and similar hardware, I didn’t find one real project concerned with running several applications on a single device. Apparently, nobody was interested in finding the true power or the true limitations of this super small single board computer.

Now, after a long while, I have done a lot of tinkering with my Raspis and I have big plans on the one hand while I already have a lot of things running on the other hand, considering I am the only real user of those.
As already mentioned, I didn’t find a single person who tried to use their Raspi to the limit besides just running 1 compute-intensive application, instead of many lightweight ones that run well, simultaneously, on a single device. Therefore, I decided to describe a little of what I achieved, what I am running, and how it works, maybe even how I got it to work, if it required special actions.
To make it even more precise and interesting, I will at first focus on what I achieved with the weakest Raspberry Pi to date, the Raspberry Pi 0 W.

Raspberry Pi 0 W

1. List of applications running

  • wsgiDAV - A lightweight DAV server. Backup server for a lot of apps.
  • Mumble i.e. murmur as the server part - A lightweight, encrypted voice chat, made primarily for gamers.
  • EteSync - Syncing contacts, calendars and tasks.
  • Selfoss - Multipurpose rss reader, live stream, mashup, aggregation web application.
  • reprepro - For my own Debian APT repository.

i. Soon to be added

Performance issues? What performance issues? Yes, all this can run on a single core 1Ghz 512MB RAM Raspberry Pi 0 W. No performance issues, at all. It’s still quite quick for the weakest Raspi available.


I’ve got two RPi 3B…

One sits connected via ethernet to my modem/router - it’s my SSH gateway/jumpbox from the interwebs… Also runs PiHole… and I’ve done a bit of docker stuff on there in the past… but not currently…

The other one I only run when I want to flash my NTC “CHIP” single board ARM computers - had issues flashing from Ubuntu - someone kindly made a Raspbian image specifically for flashing CHIP…

I’ve got 10x CHIP - no idea what to do with them… one is a disassembled PocketCHIP… I prefer CHIP to the Pi Zero because the A10 it’s based on has the AXP circuit - i.e. supports LiPo battery “out of the box”…

I’ve got an OrangePI+ 2E (Quad core 2 GB RAM) - it’s headless and I use it with transmission-daemon to manage my torrents.

I’ve got a BananaPi (original "M1) - it uses the A20 - which also has the AXP circuit - I use it with a 256 GB USB stick to keep my Resilio Sync “shares” in sync between my home LAN and my two computers at work (basically a subset of my music collection) - i.e. work started blocking sync over the interwebs - so my workaround was to take the BPi to work and home again each day. I also sync all my shell scripts using Resilio Sync…

I’ve just ordered an OrangePi Win Plus - 2 GB RAM and quad core - with the intention of replacing the BPi - it also has a battery charging/power circuit.

Both the BPi and the OrangePi Win Plus require soldering leads onto the battery circuit terminals…

I run Raspbian on the RPi’s
I run Armbian on the BPi and OPi+ 2E, and will run it on the OPi Win Plus when it arrives.
I run “CHIPOS” on the CHIPs (basically what NTC built from Debian Jessie)

I also have 2 x Pine64 (2 GB RAM on each) - but - they’re utterly useless - badly designed pezzo-di-merda… they draw too much power - so I don’t use them at all… If I could get reliable power to them - I’d probably run Armbian on them too…

Most of this functionality of these SBC’s could probably be done on my NAS (FreeNAS on a HP NL40 Microserver) - but I prefer to keep all the resources on that for pure NAS stuff…

I guess in summary - I’m saying these things are so cheap, and mostly easy enough to power, and don’t hit the power bill too hard, that I use each one for a single purpose…


Good to see that there are some Orange Pis actually doing their jobs. Some time ago, I got an Orange Pi i96 and its WiFi was so terrible, I had to stop using the device altogether, it just was terrible. Absolutely terrible.
When searching for a possible solution on the internet, I found no solution, but tons of people complaining about bad WiFi on many different Orange Pi variations.


I don’t use the wifi on my OPi - just ethernet…

I might use it on the Win Plus when it arrives, but only on my home WiFi - work’s WiFi is seriously shitty…


One of the videos complaining about the network connection included a bad Ethernet connection, besides the already terrible WiFi. As far as I recall, it was the Orange Pi PC Plus or something similar.