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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