Full disclosure: I’m still using a Raspberry Pi model A with 256 MB of RAM. Why? The obvious answer would be because it still works fine and I’ve had little to no problems with it over the last 3 years (!). The other answer is because I’ve been slacking on ordering a RPi Model B, which I will do in the coming months. The plan is to upgrade my media center from RPi Model A to Model B, and delegate Model A for use in my security camera project.
Brief history: Before using OpenELEC, I happily ran my old XBMC on a Raspbmc (now OSMC) installation. A few glitches too many forced my hand before deciding to switch over to the minimal OpenELEC. It was a great move because I’ve seen very few issues aside from a corrupt SD card, which I resolved by formatting and re-installing the OS. So it’s been interesting to experience the evolution of OpenELEC, and really feel the overall improvements in performance since I’ve stuck with the same hardware (RPi Model A).
OpenELEC version 6.0 was a long time coming. 8 months between 5.07 and 6.0. This is a major version upgrade which includes moving to Kodi 15.2 Isengard and a 4.1 kernel. Check out the full list of new features in Kodi 15.2 Isengard, check out the aptly named New Features page on the Kodi Wiki.
After updating to version 6.0 and restarting my Pi, the most noticeable change to me so far, has been performance. This is one of the easiest things to gauge when doing a major update, especially on aging hardware (yes, Model A is pretty old by today’s standards). Two metrics that are vastly improved: speed of navigation and loading video and music. For example, my music library has over 8000 songs and scrolling through hundreds of albums and/or songs with my TV remote would often result in a lot of lag. True, the Android app has always been faster but often you just want the tactile experience of a TV remote in your hand. Since the update? No lag, very responsive and music, TV shows and movies load very fast. Granted, a new update and reboot clears memory and processes, but even version 5.0.7/5.08 had impressive uptime and no noticeable degradation of performance over time (unlike your typical Windows box).
So with that said, I’m going to get back to enjoying this snappy new update, and maybe I’ll order that RPi Model B while I’m at it.