Faster Raspberry Pi 3 Gains Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Still Just $35

Raspberry Pi 3

Fresh out of the oven

In celebration of its fourth birthday, The Raspberry Pi Foundation has cooked up a new version of its highly popular Raspberry Pi mini PC with a giant assist from fellow chef Broadcom. The newly released Raspberry Pi 3 is quite the treat—it's faster that previous models, more functional, and backwards compatible.

The Raspberry Pi 3 is powered by Broadcom's new BCM2837 SoC. Baked inside is a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, a pretty sweet upgrade over the 900MHz 32-bit ARM Cortex-A7 found in the Raspberry 2. According to The Raspberry Pi Foundation, the 33 percent jump in clockspeed combined with architectural improvements makes the Raspberry Pi 3 50-60 percent faster than its predecessor in 32-bit mode, and about 10 times faster than the original Raspberry Pi.

That speed doesn't come at the cost of compatibility. Though the SoC is new, it's the same basic architecture as the BCM2835 and BCM2856 SoCs found in previous models.

In addition to being faster, Raspberry Pi 3 sports a BCM43438 wireless combo chip that gives it Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. One of Raspberry Pi's designers, James Adams, spent the second half of 2015 building prototypes with the wireless module and the end result is a form factor that's virtually unchanged from the Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ and Raspberry Pi 2 Model B—all that changed is the location of the LEDs, which were relocated to the other side of the SD card socket to make room for the antenna.

"All of the connectors are in the same place and have the same functionality, and the board can still be run from a 5V micro-USB power adapter. This time round, we’re recommending a 2.5A adapter if you want to connect power-hungry USB devices to the Raspberry Pi," Raspberry Pi Foundation said in a blog post.

Despite the upgrades, the price is the same—Raspberry Pi 3 is on sale now for $35.

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Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).