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NUMA Arrives On Raspberry Pi 5

Less Power, More Performance

Your Raspberry Pi will be getting at least one interesting update, if you are running a Raspberry Pi 5 you will get two.  The Pi 5 gets an unexpected boon from the inclusion of basic NUMA support; improved Geekbench performance and theoretically more zip in real world applications too.  The reason it is unexpected is that NUMA is generally used in servers, breaking large pools of RAM into smaller chunks dedicated to whichever CPU core has the fastest connection to that pool.  With a tiny ARM system that doesn’t have huge tracts of RAM it seems counterintuitive that you would see better performance, but these virtual NUMA cores really do help.

There is a second update for older Pi devices, which is support for suspend to idle which you may know as S0.  This sleep state has been somewhat challenging to get working, getting ARM firmware and Linux to go to into a deep sleep and getting it to come back is more challenging than on AMD or Intel hardware.  Then again many of us have had to disable certain sleep states on those systems to prevent silicon narcolepsy.  You can expect to see the power usage drop when your Pi 1,2 or 3 is idling, a nice touch on systems that already sip power.

Sadly, the Pi 4 gets neither as of yet but as The Register mentions at least the new sleep state patch is in development for those systems.

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