Same price, different story

Raspberry Pi 3 receives Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and performance boost

Gabriela Motroc
Raspberry Pi 3
One raspberry image via Shutterstock

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has just entered its fourth year of existence, and celebrated the milestone with a new addition: Raspberry Pi 3, an inexpensive, yet extremely powerful computer. The model includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but also 50 percent more processing power.

It’s been four years since the Raspberry Pi Foundation came into being and to celebrate the eight million units sold, it introduced its first 64-bit computing board which comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in for the same price of $35.

According to Eben Upton, the CEO of Raspberry Pi Foundation, Raspberry Pi 3 has been a year in the making. The 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU has been replaced with a quad-core 64-bit 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A53 chip which is approximately 50 percent faster than Pi 2. Upton told Engadget that the foundation’s primary goal in replacing A7 with A53 was to have a better 32-bit core, because A53 running in 32-bit mode surprises A7 “at the same clock speed by 20-30 percent.”

Even though there is still 1GB of RAM, the difference between Pi 2 and Pi 3 is that the former has 450MHz and the latter 900MHz. The VideoCore IV graphics also received an improvement: from 250MHz to 400MHz. The inclusion of integrated Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11n Wi-Fi is a notable improvement that makes the difference between Pi 2 and Pi 3. The addition makes web browsing easier, but one other advantage is that it offers network connectivity without affecting the the Pi 3’s performance.

The perks of Raspberry Pi 3

The CEO of Raspberry Pi Foundation told TechRepublic that Pi 3 “has become more PC-like.” Upton explained that when Pi 3 owners use LibreOffice and the web browser “it just feels more modern in that respect.” The machine comes with software designed to help Pi 3 owners to quickly pick up programming or customize their computer.

The aim of the Pi was originally to help school pupils improve their computer skills. Now, Pi 3 could become a control centre for the Internet of Things movement, Upton told The Telegraph. “There’s a hope that it will be the hub for the IoT home,” the CEO of Raspberry Pi Foundation said.

Upton made it clear that the foundation is unlikely to deliver a new Raspberry Pi every year and that the rapid release of Pi 3 is something of a one-off. “I would expect a longer pause, a couple of years at least, before any kind of major bump to the platform,” TechRepublic cited the CEO of Raspberry Pi Foundation as saying.

Although both Pi 1 and Pi 2 will continue to be sold after the release of Pi 3, Upton opines that Pi 1 will outlive Pi 2, mostly because the latter is not “significantly more cost effective” than the third device, which means “there’s nowhere for [Pi] 2 to go.”

Raspberry Pi 3 is on sale now at $35.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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