Which Raspberry Pi should I buy?

Hey everyone…

I want to dive into making kinetic sculptures with processing running on Raspberry Pi at backend (so that it can be permanently dedicated and fixed to the sculpture)

Which Raspberry Pi should I get and what processing version should I install on it to have least limitations (closest to processing - Java version) and best performance.

I would want to be free to use as much liabraries as I can (toxiclibs, controlp5 to name a few) with somewahat complex sketches.
I would like to have possibilities of running stepper motors and and other electronic components.

Note: I haven’t used Raspberry Pi before and my coding skills are limited to coding sketches on processing Java version and Arduino.


Currently vanilla processing is poorly supported on the RaspberryPI. But both py5 (a pythonic version of processing) and PiCrate a ruby version of processing both work well on the RaspberryPI4 (which wins hands down on performance over RaspberryPI 3B). It is possible to use regular processing libraries (toxicilibs is even available as a ruby gem for PiCrate) with both py5 and PiCrate. However it may be a bit of stretch for you to learn ruby/python. My main experience is with 64 bit OS ManjaroArm, but PiCrate at least works on RaspberryPI OS (32 bit), which might have better drivers for stepper motors etc (but its easy to experiment with different OS on sd cards)

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Thankyou @monkstone.

I will ask some questions, pardon me if they are silly…

When will be Processing for raspberry will be properly supported?

As I understand you recommend me PiCrate and Py5 (PiCrate over Py5)
Which one out of picrate and py has a gentle learning curve?
Why can’t I see Processing for Ruby in processing website or uder processing for Pi page…
Is PiCrate officially supported?

I learnt a lot watching and reading Dan Shiffman’s book and videos like nature of code etc (which are for Processing Java and P5.js)… will I be loosing on that learning if I hop on to PiCrate?

Hi @SuyashN. Very good question. I have not really had any issues with Java or Processing on the Pi. I have used the Pi3 and Pi B+ and the only issues are with the OS not P3. I have not used a Pi4 as of yet.

Processing has the Pi resources here: Getting Started - Processing for Pi which I have used successfully many times. I have combined Pis with Arduinos as well fairly seamlessly. It ultimately depends on what you need to do. Since I do a lot of audio programming, the Pi is limited in it’s capabilities for simultaneous input and output, for example. This is a Pi issue not a P3 issue.
However, I have seen others use the Pi and P3 to produce great video installations.

So I wouldn’t say P3 is not well supported, but you may have to use an older model and version of P3. And the Raspbian OS can only do so much for a single board CPU.

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Hi @SuyashN ,
I am using Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ and B+ with Processing 3.5.3 to run video art installations. I cannot get (standard) Processing to work well on RPI 4 (video is slower than RPI 3).

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@robertesler When I said that the RaspberryPI is unsupported I mean there is no-one from processing.org is providing active support since Gottfreid Haider @gohai left the project. I think it is good that there are people like you prepared to provide that support, it would be even better if that person got involved in developing processing. As far as processing.org are concerned running on the RaspberryPI is v. low down on priority list. @SuyashN neither py5 or PiCrate are officially supported (I created and support PiCrate and Jim @hx2A created and supports py5), see current state of processing for PI documentation.

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@hooeef @robertesler have you tried using Pi4J with RaspberyPI and processing? It’s certainly worth a look as an alternative to the processing Hardware IO library.

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Thanks for the mention.

I haven’t used py5 on a raspberry pi but I would expect it to work. Also, I know that the Python IDE “Thonny” comes pre-installed on RaspberryPis and that there is a Thonny plugin for py5 currently being built:

If you try the plugin on the raspberry pi, let me know how it goes.



@SuyashN @robertesler @hooeef Thing are looking up for processing on RaspberryPI4 (only released on github) but the latest version works on 64 bit Arm. There is an issue with the processing supplied vc library, but I’ve filed a bug on that lib egl2 fail to authenticate on RaspberryPI4 (and presence of /opt/vc folder seems to be issue) · Issue #374 · processing/processing4 · GitHub with a proposed fix (works for me).

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PraxisLIVE works on Pi4, as does our version of Processing with LWJGL inside it, should you want to stick with Java. There’s an executable AppImage at Release PraxisLIVE v5.3.0 · praxis-live/praxis-live · GitHub

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Thankyou @monkstone.

That’s awesome! If I understand you correctly… latest processing Java version is now supported on RPi4 (64 bit Arm).

What RAM would you recommend that won’t be an overkill…
2gb 4gb or an 8gb?


Thankyou @robertesler @hooeef … I have already ordered a RPi 3B+ to see how that goes… If that works flawlessly for my purpose and Pi4 is an overkill, I would be saving Rs. 1200 (15 USD) on every sculpture build… Which would be great… but I really doubt that 1GB RAM and old processing version will me favour me on sketches with 3D elements.

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Thanks @monkstone ! Will give that a whirl soon when I have some time

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I’ve got 4G memory with mine, gives plenty of headroom, you could probably get away with 2G, but it doesn’t save much money. @hooeef I don’t know why, but I needed to replace installed jdk with a symbolic link to RaspberryPI OS jdk11 with the 32 bit download (no jdk17 available from distro yet).

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Worth checking Liberica JDK 17 Download OpenJDK builds of Liberica JDK, Java 8, 11, 17 | BellSoft Java What I’m using for the NetBeans AppImage for Pi (and will be in PraxisLIVE).