I wired up a single stepper driver board today on a baby breadboard and after a lot of firkling about I have this running pretty smoothly using the pigpio library.
I have been testing to see the maximum speed I can reach with this setup, and it comfortably reaches just over 400 full steps per second in 1/2 step mode (so I am kicking the step input 800 times a second.
1/2 step mode gives the fastest rotation and also has the most torque. All other modes tend to fall into stuck jitter well below 400 steps per minute.
I am currently running the rig off 12volts. I am going to try 24 volts (with a suitable adjustment to the current limiter!) as this should give me a bit more speed.