Adding a Creator CI20 to the cluster

This post talks about the Creator CI20 and explains the differences between it and the Raspberry Pi.

What is the Creator CI20?

The Creator CI20 is a small Linux based computer that is similar to the Raspberry Pi. I have been looking at these for a while and decided to add it into the cluster.

These were provided by a colleague of mine of whom I am very grateful for giving them.

What makes it different from a Raspberry Pi?

Originally when released the Creator board had a mostly comparable processor, RAM and external sockets available. One of the key differences was that the Creator has on-board WiFi and Bluetooth which at the time the Raspberry Pi did not have. However now with the Raspberry Pi B 3+ having onboard WiFi and Bluetooth and a quad-core processor it is now less powerful than the Raspberry Pi B 3+.

Instead of running Raspbian the Creator CI20 has had Debian 7 and 8 ported to the MIPS processor. I have flashed the NAND with Debian 8 and I plan to do all my testing using this provided I find no issues with it. Since my Raspberry Pi’s are running Raspbian PIXEL which is based on Debian 8 all devices should have no trouble running the base suite of cluster programs I write.

CPU Dual 1.2GHz XBurst MIPS32 little endian
RAM 1 Gbyte DDR3
Base NAND Storage 8 Gbyte
GPU PowerVR SGX540
Video Hardware video decoder up to 1080p60

One of few differences is that it has a PowerVR SGX540 graphics processor. This graphics brand has, until recently, been well known for having been in all the previous iPhones/iPads and for its high performance. This allegedly allows it to easily play back 1080p video. This will be something that I intend to test in a variety of ways to see the precise performance of the device.

How does this improve the cluster?

With adding this MIPS Linux board the Raspberry Pi cluster becomes slightly impure. Since its performance is, as far as I can see so far, comparable to the Raspberry Pi 3 I wont see it making a massive difference to the computing power, merely to add another node. Therefore in all future tests, I will be including it alongside the Raspberry Pi’s as a new node.

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