I am using GitLab Runner for deployment and building processes. When running smaller tasks this could also be done on a raspberry pi. This is why I’m using raspberries as GitLab Runner nodes within my network. Here are instructions how to install the GitLab Runner on a Raspberry Pi.

I wanted to know how well different setups perform running a standard GitLab Runner job. So I installed a GitLab Runner on different machines to run the same build test on different environments.

MachineSetting
Test 1
Raspberry Pi 3
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (2017)
4x 1,2 Ghz CPU (ARM-Cortex-A53)
1 GB RAM
Test 2
Raspberry Pi 4
Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (2019)
4x 1,5 Ghz CPU (ARM-Cortex-A72)
2 GB RAM
Test 3
msi Mini PC
msi Mini PC
4x 1,6 Ghz CPU (Intel Celeron N3150)
4 GB RAM
Test 4
MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro (2014)
2x 3Ghz cPU (Intel Core i7)
16 GB RAM

Of course it is not too surprising that the Raspberry Pi Model 3 is not the most performing. But the performance difference between Raspberry Pi 3 and Raspberry Pi 4 is surprising.

The test case is very simple. All machines running a docker environment. The test is using the debian docker image. It installs PHP, Node.js and is executing a very small npm build process.

Each test is run four times. First time to download the debian docker image. Three times to get a variation of runs. The needed time is the median value of those three runs.

The Raspberry Pi 4 gives a very good overall performance ( for small tasks ). The used Raspi is running in default configuration. No overclocking and no active cooling. With active cooling there should an even better performance be possible.

MachineTest Duration
Test 1
Raspberry Pi 3
857 seconds ( 14:17 minutes )
Test 2
Raspberry Pi 4
182 seconds ( 03:02 minutes )
Test 3
msi Mini PC
245 seconds ( 04:05 minutes )
Test 4
MacBook Pro
143 seconds ( 01:23 minutes )

Maybe this is any interesting for you.

cheers,
Sebastian

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