IMG_3074So now I am on day two of the A+ and I wanted to see where that 256MB of RAM would leave me. I have a stock Raspian Wheezy image installed plus I have a powered usb hub with a keyboard, mouse and wifi adapter connected for these tests.

I do a lot of Arcade gaming with my B’s so it was necessary to see what the A+ would do. On reddit all sorts of people say the RAM would prevent it which made little sense to me since these games used little RAM and the emulation was all CPU.

I put mame4all on the Pi, it was no longer in the Pi store anymore so I downloaded it from google code.

If you decide to compile this on your own for some reason you’ll need to add -lasound and -lrt to the LIBS= line they’re missing but really just save yourself the hassle there’s a pre compiled binary with folder layouts in mame4all_pi.zip

I got Ms Pacman and Street Fighter 2 roms onto the Pi. The key to the test will be is the sound emulation perfect as that is the first sign of failure.

Ms Pacman of course passed no issue the real test was SF2. Let me just say SF2 performs as flawlessly as it did on the B, no blips, no slowdowns. Perfect!

So this opens up the possibility of a cheap no solder 2 player Pi Arcade system *adds to project list*


This one pushes the B to its limit but is it a GPU or CPU limit or RAM? Based on a quick glance at top on the B it might be CPU/GPU but that cache line leaves it open to guess so I better check it out.upload1

This required me to build SDL2 and SDl2-mixer so that gave me a chance to test the Pi’s heat and stability at the 950MHZ rating. I am happy to say it is just as stable as the B is at this frequency and it seems to actually generate less heat under load. Once I had the dependencies installed I was able to compile OpenParsec. This for anyone unfamiliar was a space combat game released as a LAN game in 1999-2002 and then was open sourced in 2003. The latest source tree allows for it to work with the Pi’s hardware accelerated GLES driver.

The game runs and plays music just as well as it did on the B, the RAM was left at around 15MB free with 20 in cache so it was close. So far the A+ is just as capable for anything I have done in the past with the higher RAM B models. I had to increase the GPU memory to 96MB because at 64MB the frames were bleeding together.

So flying through space, collecting items, everything was fine I added 6 bots from my PC to the server and that reduced the framerate quite a bit. The limit for the PI seems to be around 3-4 players max A or B models. Still, for a $20 board I have MAME and space combat so far. I think we’re doing OK.


I had yet to try Epiphany, my one Pi B is XBMC and the other a dedicated console Arcade so it was time to see if this lived up to the hype. We all know the previous browsers were junk and slow so **ANY** improvement would be great.

So, general browsing this seems to work decently, you can see the CPU Load window fill up pretty quickly but it is significantly faster than Midori and others I had used on the B. Even with the reduced RAM this was a significant improvement.

I decided to be a jerk and try to crush the PI and went to Youtube. I was quite happily defeated. I played the Jurassic World Trailer on it with NO ISSUES AT ALL. This must be that fancy hardware decoded video playback I heard about. So even on an A+ you can enjoy Youtube.

I clicked the fullscreen button and things sorta fell apart there…..256mb RAM, I’ll let that slide. I couldn’t watch any Youtube at all on the old browsers even on the 512MB RAM B model.


The only drawback to the A model is the lack of USB and ethernet which with a USB hub you could work around that issue. The RAM doesn’t have too much impact for single purpose projects and its smaller form factor is better for embedding. A great addition to the Pi family and I am glad I got one.

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  1. Would you check XBMC and UAE4ALL Amiga Emulator or Retrofit as well?

    • It’s funny you should mention XBMC as I just installed RaspBMC today to test it’s potential as a streaming only Pi. There will probably be a post about it in a day or 2

  2. *Retropie 🙂

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