How Much Can a Raspberry Pi Zero W Handle? (v1 & v2)

How Much Can a Raspberry Pi Zero W Handle? (v1 & v2)


2 min read

Well...not a ton compared to a dedicated home server (duh) but I wanted to see how many applications I could jam onto this 3x1 inch computer.

Pi Zero (v1)

On the first edition of the Pi Zero, this tiny computer boasts 512MB of flash memory on a single-core ARM11 1Ghz processor. For $10, this thing is fantastic.

I was able to run one monstrous python application, which is a memory intensive program with a GUI component, connected to a mini LCD via HDMI.


Memory and CPU usage:


This one application is using 90% of the CPU processing power.

The second application that I attempted to run concurrently was a python automation to write historical stock prices garnered from the first application to an externally hosted database. The system was never able to fire up correctly and continued to freeze the OS.

Pi Zero 2

The second edition packs a little more of a punch - the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 still has 512MB flash memory but comes with a quad-core Cortex A53 1GHz processor.

I was able to run the following concurrently, all via docker containers:

  • Portainer
  • Magic Mirror 2 (With GUI and Server component)
  • Rpi Monitor
  • Small automated python scripts

The 2nd Pi eventually went kaput when I attempted to fire up a PiHole docker container.

All in all, I've been impressed with the performance the Pi Zeroes, I wouldn't have expected they could manage as much as I've thrown at them.

Disclaimer: The purpose of the Raspberry Pi Zeroes are not to run 4+ fully fledged applications. For what it can do given the price, size and reliability it is an amazing piece of hardware.