Raspberry Pi 3 Model B in detail

Lead Image © claudia balasoiu, 123RF.com

The Third Pi

The Raspberry Pi 3 changes the game with its fast, 64-bit CPU and support for WiFi and Bluetooth.

The Raspberry Pi celebrated its fourth birthday on February 29, 2016, and, as befitted a leap year birthday, the Raspberry Pi Foundation surprised everyone with the release of a third-generation model of its popular nanocomputer [1]. The most important improvements for the new Raspberry Pi include a new 64-bit processor and integrated WiFi and Bluetooth. The price for the new model is unchanged at $35, but the question is whether the new model will satisfy the demands of the community. I decided to take a close look at the latest member of the Raspberry Pi family.

First Impressions

A quick glance at the Raspberry Pi 3 (RPi3) reveals a strong similarity to the RPi2 (Figure 1). The four USB ports, power supply jack, and 40-pin GPIO header are all in the usual place. The micro-USB port for power, the HDMI port, the audio and video connections, and the ports built onto the board for connecting a camera and display are all present. However, a closer look reveals some differences.

The two LEDs, ACT and PWR, now light up next to the micro-USB port. The RUN header, which the Rasp Pi uses for rebooting, has found a new home next to the USB port. These components had to move because of the presence of the compact chip antenna. The accompanying Bluetooth/WiFi combination chip BCM43438 gives off a silvery shine on the underside of the board next to the microSD slot (Figure 2). By comparison, the chip responsible for the Xenon flash does not shine anymore. It is now coated in black, possibly because of an issue with the Xenon flash that appeared with the RPi2 [2]. Also on the underside of the RPi3, the user will see the 1GB of RAM carrying the ELPIDA label.


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