A Faster New Raspberry Pi 3 is Now Available

Posted on March 14, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware with 8 Comments

The Raspberry Pi Foundation today announced a new version of its flagship low-cost board computer called the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. Available now for only $35, it offers several advantages over its predecessor, the Model B, including a faster processor and improved wireless and Ethernet networking.

You can purchase the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (in)directly from the Raspberry Pi Foundation website. But here’s a quick run-through of the new features:

Faster processor. The Model B+ utilizes the same processor as its predecessor, the ARM-based Broadcom Cortex-A53. But thanks to new packaging and a new heat spreader, it runs faster, at 1.4 GHz. (Compared to 1.2 GHz for the older Model B.)

Improved Wi-Fi. The Model B+ now features dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) 802.11ac wireless LAN, compared to single-band (2.4 GHz) 802.11b/g/n on the previous model.

Improved Bluetooth. The Model B+ features the more up-to-date Bluetooth 4.2, compared to 4.0 on the Model B.

Gigabit Ethernet. The Model B+ supports gigabit (1000 Mbps) Ethernet, though the required USB 2.0 connection limits the speed to about 315 Mbps max. But this is still over three times faster than the 10/100 Mbps speeds provided by the previous Raspberry Pi board computers.

Power-over-Ethernet support. Using a separately-acquired PoE HAT accessory, you can now provide power and networking to the Model B+ using a single cable. This is more aimed at embedded solutions than for home/enthusiast use from what I can tell.

PXE boot support. The Model B+ is the first Raspberry Pi to support PXE Ethernet boot, meaning that it can find a boot image over a connected network instead of from local storage.

Improved heat management. The Model B+ consumes “substantially more power than its predecessor,” the Pi Foundation notes, but it includes a variety of improvements aimed at heat dissipation. These include the new processor’s improved power integrity, packaging, and heat spreader, and internal clocking and voltage rule tuning. Today, many enthusiasts put a heat sink on their Raspberry Pis. This may not be necessary anymore with the new model.

The Pi Foundation will continue to sell the previous Pi 3 model, the Model B, for $35 as well because certain industrial customers still require it. It also sells smaller, less powerful products like the Raspberry Pi 1B+ ($25) and 2B ($35), plus the entry-level Raspberry Pi 1A+ ($20) and various Compute Module models. The Pi Foundation says it may upgrade the Raspberry Pi 1A+, presumably to a model B, sometime soon as well.

Which reminds me. I’m past-due for the next installment in my Raspberry Pi/Amiga project.

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Comments (8)

8 responses to “A Faster New Raspberry Pi 3 is Now Available”

  1. arunphilip

    Many thanks for this timely info. I almost ordered a Pi yesterday to tinker around with setting up a Pi hole. I'll hold off for now until this newer model becomes available in my country.

    I like how they released it on Pi day :-)

  2. jimchamplin

    Super awesome! I’ve wanted to get one of these for a homebrew smart speaker project for a while. Maybe this new one will be what I need to bite the bullet.

  3. maethorechannen

    You can get an old Pi 3 to boot off the network, but it was bit of a faff - https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/hardware/raspberrypi/bootmodes/net_tutorial.md

  4. RamblingGeek

    I have ordered... to add to my collection.... :-) May use this for MagicMirror version 2

  5. Waethorn

    "The Model B+ is the first Raspberry Pi to support PXE Ethernet boot"

    Sorry, but you're wrong. I don't know where you got this from, but the original 3B supports PXE boot just fine.

  6. Waethorn

    The only bad part about this is the storage system scenario. Not having USB 3 or an integrated eMMC controller is the one thing that would put the RPi over the edge as a cheap desktop replacement. You can already do a lot with personal productivity with LibreOffice and accessing the Internet with Firefox even given the processor and memory constraints. I don't know that 2GB would provide as much of a benefit than, say, maybe better video acceleration support, but VC4 is now supported in mainline Linux and there are compatible armhf ports for the majority of mainstream open source projects. The only better software support option is if Google certified it for Play Services on Android.

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