Java On Raspberry Pi Performance

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My objective is to performance test basic JVM functions of different JVMs on the Raspberry Pi hardware to see which JVM is fastest overall. For this I have created a few different tests that exercise specific operations, such as floating-point math, file IO, etc. The results are not relevant compared to other hardware. The results metrics are really not important either other than as they compare to the same test on a different JVM.


VMs Tested

There's currently a few different JVMs available for Raspberry Pi. I tested these:

java version "1.7.0_10"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.7.0_10-b18)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 23.6-b04, mixed mode)
java version "1.7.0_06"
Java(TM) SE Embedded Runtime Environment (build 1.7.0_06-b24, headless)
Java HotSpot(TM) Embedded Client VM (build 23.2-b09, mixed mode)
java version "1.7.0_03"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (IcedTea7 2.1.3) (7u3-2.1.3-1)
OpenJDK Zero VM (build 22.0-b10, mixed mode)
java version "1.7.0_03"
IcedTea Runtime Environment (IcedTea7 2.1.3) (7u3-2.1.3-1)
CACAO (build 1.1.0pre2, compiled mode)
java version "1.7.0_03"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (IcedTea7 2.1.3) (7u3-2.1.3-1)
JamVM (build 1.6.0-devel, inline-threaded interpreter with stack-caching)
  • CONTROL was a MacBook Pro OSX Darwin Kernel Version 10.8.0
    • 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    • All tests we run with -d32 to force 32-bit mode
java version "1.6.0_37"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_37-b06-434-10M3909)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 20.12-b01-434, mixed mode)

Results Summary

  • Oracle JDK VM looks to be the clear winner in term of overall performance
  • Oracle's VMs are fastest in the most categories.
  • The JDK _10 VM is slightly faster in most categories than the Embedded _06 JRE
  • Jam VM has impressive startup speed but nothing else
  • Zero was the slowest in most categories, but it's also the only OpenJDK VM that appears to be complete
  • Zero and Jamm were significantly slower in numerical calculations than the other 2
  • IO performance was the most dramatic win for the Oracle VMs. IO is so much slower on the all the OpenJDK VMs that it signifigantly impacts Resin performance
  • Cacao was clearly the fastest OpenJDK VM, although it's not a "complete" JVM and throws some warnings
  • I am going to further test Cacao to see how Resin runs on it

Startup Time



  • HelloWorld is a basic print Hello World from a main method. This tests basic startup time.
  • ResinVersion requests Resin version. It tests basic Resin startup time.
  • ResinStatus requests status from a running Resin instance. The call fails as no instance was running, but that's not important. It tests realistic Resin startup and network connection.


JamVM is clearly the fastest to startup but the margin is not huge. I believe this is due to the smaller size of this JVM. However the caveat is both Cacao and JamVM report warning when running both Resin tests.

JamVM reports this:

jmm_GetBoolAttribute: Unknown attribute 24
jmm_GetBoolAttribute: Unknown attribute 25

Cacao reports this:

LOG: [0x400ec000] jmm_GetMemoryManagers: FIX ME!
LOG: [0x400ec000] jmm_GetMemoryPools: FIX ME!
LOG: [0x400ec000] jmm_GetBoolAttribute: Unknown attribute 24
LOG: [0x400ec000] jmm_GetBoolAttribute: Unknown attribute 25
LOG: [0x400ec000] jmm_GetInputArgumentArray: IMPLEMENT ME!

These all look like warning associated with attempting to read MBean attributes from MBeans Resin is expecting to exist. Resin gleans a lot of info about OS and Memory Pools from JMX. I'll have to do more thorough Resin tests to see how adversely this effects Resin.

General Operations



  • Exceptions tests throwing and catching exception
  • Hashing tests inserting into a map and retrieving from a map
  • Reflection tests looking up a class by name and creating a new instance with Reflection
  • Strings tests String creation and concatenation


There's nothing extremely outstanding here, although Zero VM is showing up slow again which correlates with my initial real-world tests of Resin. Cacao is looking good so far compared to the other 2 OpenJDK VMs.




  • IntMath lots of calculations using int
  • LongMath lots of calculations using long
  • DoubleMath lots of calculations using double


Clearly there's significant numerical operation slowness on Zero and JamVM and the difference is significant. Again Cacao compares well with Oracle. It's worth mentioning here that all of these are really small number. For anything other than constant intensive numerical calculation, these results will not make much impact overall.




  • IO tests performed file create, write, read, delete


Out of all the tests I ran, I think this is the most significant. Resin does quite a lot of IO and these difference here is not small. This are big numbers also, in the order of seconds rather than milliseconds as in the case of the numerical calculations above. I believe IO delays are the primary cause for the Resin slowness I'm experiencing.

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