Exactly four years ago, on 29 February 2012, we unleashed the original 256MBRaspberry Pi Model B on a largely unsuspecting world. Since then, we’ve shippedover eight million units, including three million units of Raspberry Pi 2, making usthe UK’s all-time best-selling computer. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has grownfrom a handful of volunteers to have over sixty full-time employees, including ournew friends from Code Club. We’ve sent a Raspberry Pi to the International SpaceStation and are training teachers around the world through our Picademy program.
In celebration of our fourth birthday, we thought it would be fun to releasesomething new. Accordingly, Raspberry Pi 3 is now on sale for $35 (the same priceas the existing Raspberry Pi 2), featuring:
- A 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU (~10x the performance ofRaspberry Pi 1)
- Integrated 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.1
- Complete compatibility with Raspberry Pi 1 and 2
BCM2837, BCM43438 AND RASPBERRY PI 3
For Raspberry Pi 3, Broadcom have supported us with a new SoC, BCM2837. Thisretains the same basic architecture as its predecessors BCM2835 and BCM2836,so all those projects and tutorials which rely on the precise details of the RaspberryPi hardware will continue to work. The 900MHz 32-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A7CPU complex has been replaced by a custom-hardened 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-coreARM Cortex-A53. Combining a 33% increase in clock speed with variousarchitectural enhancements, this provides a 50-60% increase in performance in 32-bit mode versus Raspberry Pi 2, or roughly a factor of ten over the originalRaspberry Pi.
James Adams spent the second half of 2015 designing a series of prototypes,incorporating BCM2837 alongside the BCM43438 wireless “combo” chip. He wasable to fit the wireless functionality into very nearly the same form-factor as theRaspberry Pi 1 Model B+ and Raspberry Pi 2 Model B; the only change is to theposition of the LEDs, which have moved to the other side of the SD card socket tomake room for the antenna. Roger Thornton ran the extensive (and expensive)wireless conformance campaign, allowing us to launch in almost all countriessimultaneously. Phil Elwell developed the wireless LAN and Bluetooth software.
All of the connectors are in the same place and have the same functionality, andthe 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 USBdevices to the Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi 3 is available to buy today from our partners element14 and RSComponents, and other resellers. You’ll need a recent NOOBS or Raspbian imagefrom our downloads page. At launch, we are using the same 32-bit Raspbianuserland that we use on other Raspberry Pi devices; over the next few months wewill investigate whether there is value in moving to 64-bit mode.
We’ll keep updating this list over the next couple of days, but here are a few to getyou started.
Are you discontinuing earlier Raspberry Pi models?
No. We have a lot of industrial customers who will want to stick with Raspberry Pi 1or 2 for the time being. We’ll keep building these models for as long as there’sdemand. Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ and Raspberry Pi 2 Model B will continue to sellfor $25 and $35 respectively.
What about Model A+?
Model A+ continues to be the $20 entry-level Raspberry Pi for the time being. Wedo expect to produce a Raspberry Pi 3 Model A, with the Model A+ form factor,during 2016.
What about the Compute Module?
We expect to introduce a BCM2837-based Compute Module 3 in the next fewmonths. We’ll be demoing Compute Module 3 at our partners’ launch events thismorning.
Are you still using VideoCore?
Yes. VideoCore IV 3D is the only publicly documented 3D graphics core for ARM-based SoCs, and we want to make Raspberry Pi more open over time, not less.BCM2837 runs most of the VideoCore IV subsystem at 400MHz and the 3D core at300MHz (versus 250MHz for earlier devices).
Where does the “10x performance” figure come from?
10x is a typical figure for a multi-threaded CPU benchmark like SysBench. Real-world applications will see a performance increase of between 2.5x (for single-threaded applications) and >20x (for NEON-enabled video codecs).
A project like this requires a vast amount of focused work from a large team overan extended period. A partial list of those who made major direct contributions tothe BCM2837 chip program, BCM43438 integration and Raspberry Pi 3 follows:Dinesh Abadi, James Adams, Cyrus Afghahi, Sayoni Banerjee, Jonathan Bell, MarcBright, Srinath Byregowda, Cindy Cao, KK Chan, Nick Chase, Nils Christensson,Dom Cobley, Teodorico Del Rosario Jr, Phil Elwell, Shawn Guo, GordonHollingworth, Brand Hsieh, Andy Hulbert, Walter Kho, Gerard Khoo, Saran Kumar,Yung-Ching Lee, David Lewsey, Xizhe Li, Simon Long, Scott McGregor, James Mills,Alan Morgan, Kalevi Ratschunas, Paul Rolfe, Matt Rowley, Akshaye Sama, SergeSchneider, Shawn Shadburn, Mike Stimson, Stuart Thomson, Roger Thornton,James Tong, James Turner, Luke Wren. If you’re not on this list and think youshould be, please let me know, and accept my apologies.