Choose Windows or Raspberry Pi for performance?

Last question hopefully. I starting with Sonic Pi on older but reasonably capable i5 laptop and the kind of multi-voice things I want to run get me to about 30% cpu.

I’d really like to run this on a Raspberry Pi, but practically is it up to it? I’ve not had a Pi since the early days so I don’t know how good they are now. I’m not worried so worried about latency because I now understand how beautifully Sonic Pi handles it. Is the 2Gb model OK, or does Sonic Pi benefit from bigger memory? I could imagine it running hot so I’m thinking a heatsink case.

Interested in hearing real-world experiences and tips.

It runs well on a pi4 if you can afford it I’d go for the 4gb. You can then run several programs together eg adding in helm synth or Qsynth and having chrome going as well. I find performance is pretty good. Infinitely better than earlier Pi. Cheaper than buying a windows pc! Depends also on what you want for your sound setup. An external interface certainly improves pi performance. I have use pisound interfa ce and also external audio interfaces. Most popular seems to be Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 although I have a much older ediroll UA=25.

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Great, thanks, I’ll go for the 4Gb model then. Ideally I want to use the built-in audio. I’m trying to minimise kit for playing out - although who knows when we’ll be able to gig properly again. After some years of lugging a drum kit - and the PA - around I’m keen to reduce the load.

Make sure you use the SP version 3.2.2 on and remove the SP3.1 supplied on the raspberrypi os.


I would suggest 8GB model, as it’s much better than the main or master unit. For the rpis which will be your project runners, better to test it on a device first rather than play complicated games with numbers which will give you wrong results, and thus, are an exercise in futility.

And buy a case that is well constructed, and has the dimensions as precise as possible.
Of course, the case depends on your project and if you’re going to add stuff via the GPIO pins. Do not buy the official case, that’s a popular, noobish mistake.

The official power supply is good, but again, if you know someone who already owns one, better to test it before spending the hard-earned shekels.

Hi @submitReportToPast,

thanks for your thoughts on Raspberry Pis and their cases. However, please could you try and refrain from unnecessarily harsh and negative language. I’m specifically thinking about phrases such as the following:

It’s important to point out that these are clearly your opinions and others might have different ones. This community is formed of many people from a variety of backgrounds and we welcome everyone.

In case you or others are not already aware we have some useful guidelines here:

To report back, I bought a 4Gb Pi4 and a passive heatsink case. With my target Sonic Pi scripts I’m looking at around 25% total CPU, and a temperature of 50C so that’s good. That said, the spread over the cores isn’t even, scsynth is up around 50% CPU and I’m thinking that will be the limiting factor. Memory usage is low, no problem there.

I am getting a timing warning on a loop that uses some effects - the flanger seems to be resource hungry, so I’ll have to watch that.

Creatively, it can be quite good to have some limits to work within. Like writing a sonnet.


An update on this. I wasn’t entirely happy with the heatsink case I bought. It does what it says it does, and is good thermally. Fine for home use but, because it’s a fairly heavy chunk of metal clamped round the delicate little Pi, I could just see it falling on the floor and smashing up the connectors if it landed wrong - which sod’s law says it will.

I’ve now gone for a much lighter ABS case with integral fan and stick on heatsinks. A case that will bounce, hopefully, as the whole thing is a lot lighter. Currently running at a cool 38C so better thermally too it seems. Until the fan packs up, then it’s frying tonight