Introducing the Raspberry Pi 3

TL;DR: The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is out now. This latest model includes 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 running at 1.2 GHz. It’s a usable desktop computer. Available now at the usual Pi retailers for $35.

News of the latest Raspberry Pi swept around the Internet like wildfire this last weekend, thanks to a published FCC docs showing a Pi with on-board WiFi and Bluetooth. While we thank the dozens of Hackaday readers that wrote in to tell us about the leaked FCC documents, our lips have been sealed until now. We’ve been doing a few hands-on tests with the Pi 3 for about two weeks now, and the reality of the Pi 3 is much cooler than a few leaked FCC docs will tell you.

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B features a quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 clocked at 1.2 GHz. This puts the Pi 3 roughly 50% faster than the Pi 2. Compared to the Pi 2, the RAM remains the same – 1GB of LPDDR2-900 SDRAM, and the graphics capabilities, provided by the VideoCore IV GPU, are the same as they ever were. As the leaked FCC docs will tell you, the Pi 3 now includes on-board 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. WiFi, wireless keyboards, and wireless mice now work out of the box.


This is a very special year for the Raspberry Pi foundation. Because the foundation was founded on February 29th 2012, today is technically their first birthday, or at least that’s the cheeky line they’re telling everyone. With this anniversary, celebrations are in order and a new model of the Raspberry Pi has been announced.

Pi5
The Raspberry Pi 2 (left) and the Raspberry Pi 3 (right). Physically, there are very few differences.

Specs

The headlining feature of the Pi 3 is the built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, but it doesn’t stop there. Here’s the complete specs for the Pi 3:

  • SoC: Broadcom BCM2837 (roughly 50% faster than the Pi 2)
  • CPU: 1.2 GHZ quad-core ARM Cortex A53 (ARMv8 Instruction Set)
  • GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 400 MHz
  • Memory: 1 GB LPDDR2-900 SDRAM
  • USB ports: 4
  • Network: 10/100 MBPS Ethernet, 802.11n Wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.0

PiSpecs

The Pi 3 is exactly what you would expect from the latest Raspberry Pi. No, it doesn’t have SATA or USB C or a PCIe connector. The goal of the Raspberry Pi Foundation has always been to produce an inexpensive computer for everyone, and adding these ports would only drive up the price. Instead of pleasing the power users, the Pi Foundation has done their best to please anyone. Like the Raspberry Pi 2 from late last year, the Raspberry Pi 3 features a new CPU, a Broadcom BCM2837 quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 running at 1.2 GHz.

While the most newsworthy pre-launch leak surrounding the Raspberry Pi 3 is the added wireless functionality, the big news is the upgraded CPU. With the Cortex A53, the Pi 3 has passed through a threshold. The Raspberry Pi isn’t just a board that is used to play retro video games in emulators anymore, and it’s no longer confined to duty as a set-top box. The Pi 3 is a real computer.

This is the Revolver and Fargo of the Raspberry Pi Ecosystem

When the original Raspberry Pi launched four years ago, it immediately fulfilled its promise of bringing a low-cost Linux-based computer to the masses. This promise wasn’t one to bring a high power Linux computer to the masses; checking your email, or loading a web page on the original Pi was a chore. Still, the board was capable enough to be very popular, and rightly so: there’s a lot you can do with a tiny Linux board with a few GPIO pins and an Ethernet port.

Last year, the Raspberry Pi foundation introduced the Pi 2, a much more powerful board with a faster and more capable CPU. The first impressions were wonderful. Here was a computer that could actually be used as a computer. I still have my Pi 2 connected to an old flat screen TV and keyboard on my workbench for light-duty browsing and viewing PDFs.

The Raspberry Pi 3 is another beast entirely. The Pi 3 is now over a threshold where it becomes a useful desktop computer.

Help! and A Hard Day’s Night were excellent Beatles albums, but it was Revolver that took the Beatles to the next level. Led Zeppelin I  and II were awesome, but it was IV that turned Zeppelin from a good band into a legend. To extend this metaphor into motion pictures, Raising Arizona is a cult favorite from the Coen Brothers, but it was Fargo and The Big Lebowski that put these filmmakers on the map. The Pi 3 is the Pi Foundation’s Revolver and Fargo. The Raspberry Pi has gone from a tiny, cheap Linux board that can blink a few LEDs on a GPIO to a cheap Linux box that’s fast enough to be a proper computer.

The goal of the Raspberry Pi foundation is to promote computer science in early education. While the Pi 1, Pi 2 and Pi Zero are marginally capable in this role, the Pi 3 is much more useful. This is a computer that could populate an entire elementary school computer lab. The Raspberry Pi has now passed a threshold of usefulness.

Bigshot

A Zero Sum Game

Just a few months ago, the Raspberry Pi Foundation launched the Raspberry Pi Zero, a cut-down version of the original Raspberry Pi. It sells for $5. The Internet went crazy, Pi Zeros are being gobbled up, and no one has any in stock. This $5 computer is selling for $45 on eBay. The laws of supply and demand are as unyielding as the laws of gravity and thermodynamics, and there is understandably criticism aimed at the Pi Foundation.

Fools have money
Fools have money

In speaking with [Eben Upton], wearer of many hats and founder of the Raspberry Pi foundation, there was an elephant in the room when discussing the Pi 3. Where are the Pi Zeros, and will the Pi 3 be in stock for more than a few hours?

The original Model B launch was plagued with waitlists, with people waiting months to get their hands on one. The Pi Model B+ was better, and the Pi 2 launch was exceptionally smooth, shipping 500,000 in two weeks. The launch of a Pi Zero was an aberration, due to unexpected demand and low-ish manufacturing quantities. There were only 100,000 units manufactured in the first run of Pi Zeros, with another 100,000 following shortly thereafter. Right now, there are 300,000 Pi 3s sitting in warehouses, ready to be shipped out around the world.

While the Pi 3 will prove to be very popular, you probably won’t see scalpers selling Pi 3s for hundreds on eBay. There’s enough to go around, and as long as we don’t have too many hoarders, you too can get your hands on one soon. As for the Pi Zeros, they’re coming and it’s not like they have an expiration date on them.

The Raspberry Pi Competitors

Four years ago, when it started to look like the Raspberry Pi was indeed not vaporware, there weren’t many offerings for a cheap single board computer running Linux. The best anyone could do were Gumstix, and these cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $150.

Since the release of the Raspberry Pi, everyone realized that a cheap, small device running Linux would be very useful. To give credit where it is due, [Eben] and the rest of the Raspberry Pi foundation are hugely responsible for the vast ecosystem of small embedded development boards. Everyone is in on the act: Intel has the Edison and the Quark, the BeagleBone was released nearly concurrently with the Pi, and even Apple is rumored to have an SBC in the works. Then came the clones, the knockoffs, and everyone else who wanted a piece of the game.

One of the first boards heavily inspired by the Pi was the Banana Pi, a single board computer with a strikingly similar layout to the original Pi. ODROIDs were next, followed by the Orange Pis, the UDOOs, the and the CubieBoards.

The C.H.I.P., a $9 or $8 computer, announced in May of last year. It's only beginning to ship to Kickstarter backers.
The C.H.I.P., a $9 or $8 computer, announced in May of last year. It’s only beginning to ship to Kickstarter backers.

The state of the art in cheap, consumer single board computers is beginning to show a pattern. First, the Raspberry Pi foundation releases a board, and everyone scrambles to come up with an improvement upon that board. Next, the Pi foundation releases new hardware that is at least equal to the current crop of off-brand SBCs, but also builds upon the huge Pi ecosystem and community. The other brands have another go at besting the Pi, and the cycle repeats. Remember C.H.I.P., the computer no one could believe actually cost $9? Now there’s the Raspberry Pi Zero, a computer that costs $5 (if you can find one). You still can’t buy a C.H.I.P.; they’re still handling preorders taken last May, and if you contributed to the C.H.I.P. campaign, you might be waiting another three months. In contrast, 100,000 Raspberry Pi Zeros have been shipped just a few weeks.

The latest boards heralded as a Raspberry Pi killer are the Pine64 and Odroid XU4 The XU4 costs $70 and on that basis can be rejected as a viable Pi competitor out of hand.  The Pine64 started as a Kickstarter campaign promising a quad-core ARM Cortex A53 processor running at 1.2GHz, 1 Gigabyte of RAM, Ethernet, HDMI, and a few GPIO pins to blink a few LEDs. By reading the spec sheet, it’s remarkably similar to the latest from the foundation, save for WiFi and Bluetooth found on the Pi 3.  The Pine64 will be shipping out to backers shortly, but it’s already dead on arrival. I’m a backer of the Pine64 Kickstarter campaign, and I should have some commitment bias towards this cheap 64-bit computer. Even I must concede the Raspberry Pi 3 is the superior board. It comes with wirelesss, after all, and adding the immense community support, examples, and libraries that are already written, the choice is clear: the Pi foundation hit another home run.

You might think that the Raspberry Pi foundation is iterating around their competitors. This isn’t really true; the development time for the Pi Zero was about nine months, well before C.H.I.P’s Kickstarter launched. The development time for the Pi 3 was closer to 18 months, including the time it took for Broadcom to develop the new silicon.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is announcing their products with a keen awareness of the Osborne effect. There are undoubtedly plans for an upgrade to the Pi 3 in the works right now, but announcing these plans to the world would only make people wait for the next great announcement. Compared to the innumerable Kickstarter campaigns for Linux-based ARM dev boards who announce a product expecting it to ship in a year, the Pi Foundation’s approach is much more sensible. At this point, a few leaks from an FCC database a day or two before launch don’t really matter.

Software

Chromium

The Raspberry Pi was always intended to run a variety of operating systems, and for the past four years, we’ve seen just about everything. From the stock Debian distribution to much more esoteric options, ranging from Windows 10 IOT to Plan 9. The usefulness of some of these operating systems is questionable, but it’s not like more choice of OSes is bad, right?

Two operating systems that don’t get enough love on the Raspberry Pi are also two of the most common operating systems for ARM systems: Android and Chrome OS. Yes, there are projects to bring these operating systems to the Pi 2, but they’re not very mature and certainly not ready for mainstream use.

The Pi 3 will change this. It’s faster, yes, but the update to the flagship Pi comes just a few weeks after the release of an experimental OpenGL driver. Graphics, by far, have been the one item holding back a proper Android system for the Pi, and [Eben] tells me Chrome OS will come to the Pi 3 in short order.

The Future of Raspberry Pi

The Pi Zero was a home run, save for manufacturing and distribution, and a $5 computer running Linux and presenting a few GPIO pins is enough to stab the Arduinos of the world through the heart. The Pi 3 is another beast entirely. The Pi 1, Pi 2 and Pi Zero are development systems that just happen to run Linux and Super Nintendo emulators. The Pi 3 is a proper computer that also happens to have GPIO pins, a huge development scene, thousands of examples for any hardware hack you can imagine, and a community with millions of members.

The Pi 3 is also the first board that lives up to the promise of getting students interested in computer science. This is a computer that’s both inexpensive and good enough to give to a classroom of elementary school students. They’ll be able to do their homework, and the most clever of the bunch will start blinking LEDs and switching H-bridges with the pin header. The Raspberry Pi 3 is finally a computer that’s good enough to be a truly mainstream device, and not just a toy for the tech aficionados to fawn over.

We’ll be posting the benchmarks for the Pi 3 in the next few days, but until then head on over to Element 14, RS, or any of the other Pi suppliers and pick one of these boards up. There might be enough to go around.


If you’re searching for the word ‘disclosure’, there it is. The Raspberry Pi foundation sent me a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and SD card for this post.

245 thoughts on “Introducing the Raspberry Pi 3

  1. I can’t wait until it goes widespread and the price gets stable, honestly. It’s going to be the best thing to build a wrist-wearable computer upon, and I hope after half a year I’ll be able to actually get one to play with ;-) I just hope the software support will be as marvellous as with the previous versions.

    1. It seems to me like this board is the board that makes the Pi zero make sense. The price instability and the limited run seemed to be a great faux pas, but instead of the latest. Pi, the zero was really Compute Module mk2.

      I’m sceptical about wearability; without low-level power saving it will be hard to budget power here. Make: puts it at twice that of the Pi2. Nonetheless at least the Internet is in this Thing; I wonder if we’ll get control of the 2.4 Ghz controller, opening the way to zigbee or other non-proprietary 2.4ghz protocols. I believe it’s a BCM43438 radio chip, so it’s probably NDA all the way (and PS BLE isn’t going yet per Make:)

      It’s worth highlighting the video core on the Pi3 (See what i did there) is tge same as previous, but at a faster clock. Presumably this means the existing documentation (seemingly pried from Broadcom’s unwilling fingers) and own drivers can continue to deliver GPU and GPGPU performance. Hats off to the foundation to sticking to this, even if it’s an older core; it beats fighting that battle again.

      Begrudgingly kudos also to whomever at Broadcom approved the chip; although I’m sure they’re profiting well from the Pi offerings as a whole I still wish they sold these packages to anyone else.

      1. On that video core. I cannot seem to find much documentation on how to use it. There is the open source VC4 driver. Which you can enable, but seems to have random crashes in my setup. And I cannot find anywhere how to use the closed source driver.

          1. Watermarks can be removed though.
            But they might have included the old ‘slight variation in the text’ trick.
            So it’s over to the hackers to steal the damn thing.

      2. wearability is easy. you do not put the pi zero on the wrist. you put a wireless tiny processor that can only control the display on the wrist and the pi zero elsewhere, make the reality of the PAN useful. problem is you now need to either buy a phone that is 100% unlockable so you can do all this, or carry a second computing device. Sadly it’s dramatically easier to program for linux than Android, so I see carrying two computing devices as the reality unless someone finds a good cellphone board to interface to.

      3. Yeah, the C.H.I.P looks like a much better choice for wearable/battery applications at least on paper – and it’s interesting how the article papers over the fact that it has WiFi and the Raspberry Pi Zero doesn’t and is somewhat inconvenient to add WiFi of any kind to when using it as reason to dismiss the C.H.I.P.

        1. The Zero was marketed as a $5 computer and due to the lack of supply very few have been seen in the wild at that price.

          (Not complaining- I’m one of the vast minority that got one at that price.) (Speaking of which… anyone wanna buy a Zero at a considerable mark-up? Any takers- Zero for a 3 in a straight-up trade? ;p )

  2. Ironically, I bought one of the first PI zeros (thanks to a python script and BeautifulSoup), and stability wise it seems to function a lot better than my C.H.I.P which shipped a good while after the expected date.

    I really like the RasPi, and the RPI3 looks great for the price, but I’m really looking forward to the time when the market
    is going to be crowded with lots of other decent educational ARM boards for around the same ~$30 price…

    1. The C.H.I.P isn’t even supposed to be out to the general backers yet. They have a listed timeframe of May 2016. They aren’t late, you just happen to be probably one of the “kernel hacker backers”…which…you would expect a alpha level board to be a little bit unstable.

    2. “and stability wise it seems to function a lot better than my C.H.I.P which shipped a good while after the expected date.”

      The only stability problems I’ve seen with CHIP (after the NAND flash issue) are due to poor power supplies. I really hate this trend of people using micro-USB chargers for power supplies, considering most of them are utter garbage.

      And I have no idea what you mean about “after the expected date.” At least for every backer I know, CHIP shipped out spot on time. Kindof insane, actually, considering they had to toss the original design entirely and move to something way more complicated.

      1. This charger problem is indeed really a problem. I have several ‘2.1A’ chargers. But my Raspberry PI model B does not run stable with them. And forget trying to connect an external harddrive with one of these chargers. But I was able to purchase an Apple iPad charger for dirt cheap, and that works without fail. Even though people warn that the voltage of this supply tends to drop as well, at high loads.

        Buy a good power supply, and instabilities tend to melt away like snow.

      1. You’re definitely not the only one, the onboard battery management is one of the reasons I ordered a C.H.I.P, but it’s not a Pi so it just doesn’t get the same level of publicly.

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  3. Great to see another iteration of everyone’s favorite SBC.
    It’s a pity to see this with only 2GB of RAM, but the Pis still give the best bang for the buck. Similar boards all suck regarding the same problem: bad software support (i.e. kernel).

      1. Sorry, I meant “not to see this with 2GB” or “to see this with only 1GB”. Me (thinking), myself (translating) and I (typing) were in disharmony this morning.
        1GB is at the lowest end for desktop use these days. But maybe they will eventually upgrade like they did at the first RPi-B’s when they went from 256MB to 512MB.

          1. I wonder if they were to stick a ddr ( Laptop MEM ) socket on it and let us pick the ram if that would still make it in the price rang that it is in with out ram installed. ( Just a thought…)

            ( I just woke up to see the news ).

            Ps could someone please tell me how they get pictures on these posts? Thanks.

          2. Perry, no. User installable memory adds components, increases PCB space/complexity, and support costs.

            Plus, this seems to use a 32-bit wide bus, whereas I think mass-market laptop memory these days is 64-bit.

      1. I have one, but found the distro they have for it to be flakey. It was used primarily as a Kodi box and did a decent job, but I found I couldn’t just leave it on. If I switched over to it, it would inevitably be stuck with a black screen and require a reboot to use it, setting up a cron job to reboot seem to make it go from an everyday occurrence to every couple of days so it was still annoying. When I needed a power splitter for xmas lights I used the Odroid’s and never replaced it. I now have a zidoo x9, but have been too busy to set it up.

      2. I’ve noticed that trend as well and I wish it wasn’t that way. I’ve followed both the RPi’s and the Odroids and have purchased a few of each (RPi B, RPi B+, RPi 2, RPi 3 (just ordered), Odroid U3, C1, XU4). It’s nice that the Raspberries have so much community support, but the Odroids are better performers, and are rock steady. They also run Android remarkably well. The C2 doesn’t have the built in wi-fi or bluetooth, but it does have 4k hdmi, IR, and gigabit ethernet, as well as a much faster processor. It’s probably the next on the list to order. Wish I wasn’t addicted to playing with these little things ;-).

        1. Did you look at their company site or a local retailer? It costs me $41.95 plus $6.75 for shipping (USPS Priority) making it a total of $48.70 from Ameridroid. That’s not at all out of line considering it is being sent Priority. A large number of retailers will charge more than that for the Pi 3 using the same shipping method.

    1. I think it would have been nice if they had stabilized the supply chain with the Zero before going and introducing another model.

      Considering the modest changes between the Pi2 and Pi3 I think RaspberryPi2.5 would have been a more fitting moniker.

        1. In general, if you are running under 4GB of ram a 32 bit CPU is better…
          Now a 64bit system sounds great, but it’s not really since it makes less efficient use of the 1GB of RAM.
          Notably, very few applications benefit from the larger type support, and most end up wasting more space padding alignments. I wish they had it at 4GB+ we could bootstrap the kernel with a ram disk along with most of the OS, and completely bypass the Flash memory issues. This would bring it into the realm of a very nimble little desktop rig.

          However, I have to give the Pi people an A+ for getting FCC/CE compliant wifi on the board.
          With a bit more ram, I would start jamming the 64bit units into our racks with duct-tape and krazy-glue.

          p.s.
          I over-clock the pi 2 at 1GHz, and it streams two 720p camera feeds like a dream. I have yet to find a real use for the GPU enabled VLC repo head, but it can do 1080p x264 decoding just fine. In this case a pi2 is slightly better, but not as efficient at big-math problems most code never uses anyway.

          1. Very true on the RAM addressing;
            But given the step up to ARMv8, aren’t the instructions significantly more optimised in certain areas, and thus you claw back some of that padded alignment?
            Don’t get me wrong; more ram is almost always useful, but is also one of the most costly components despite the dropping prices.
            Alternatively, a mPCIe and / or SATA at a decent bandwidth would overcome many of those flash problems, wouldn’t they?

        2. Pretty much what OLD_HACK said…

          64-bit processor is trivial without having the memory to support it. Nothing like going from a single-core to a quad-core.

          0.3ghz is, again… trivial. Speed increase is based on benchmarks which are not a good comparison for real-world use. RasPis are rarely used for periods of extended computing and are far more dependent on a ‘burst-processing’ model which will show little to no real improvement. Slightly smoother video if you use a Pi as a media center is the one place you’re likely to see ANY improvement.

          Integrated Wifi and BT is nice, but it’s not a game-changer in any sense. Both are luxuries when you get right down to it and are entirely dependent on what the Pi is being used for. Cat5 is far faster than any Wifi and if you /really/ need wireless connectivity, adapters are cheap- especially if you have a couple kicking around. I can count 4 unused wireless adapters that I have on hand right now. No matter how you slice it, it saves you a usb port and leaves you with an unused usb nubbin to lose for when you might want to use that KB\mouse for something else. Most wireless keyboard and mice use RF instead of BT or Wifi. The most that I’ve ever used BT for EVER is to wirelessly tether my netbook to my cell phone, though I will admit it was pretty cool being able to play WoW on my private server from my netbook using my cell phones data, but again- pure luxury.

          Instruction set… really?! Like this is going to make THAT much of a difference. The 0.3ghz added to the processor will be more noticeable than this.

          All-in-all? Far less spectacular than any newly introduced addition to the Pi line to date. Don’t get me wrong- given an equal choice between a 2 and a 3, I’ll take the 3… but who doesn’t want one more cupholder in their car?

          1. Built in Wifi and BT are absolutely game changers. It is a huge huge pain in the butt when working with kids and their parents for whom a free or subsidized Pi will end up being their first computer in the house. But having to mention yes you can use this for web and email buuuuut you’re gonna need to drop 10 bucks on a (wifi dongle) “a what? I wifi dongle, it will let you get on the …. arrrrrg screw it have this one (removes dongle from classroom pi)”

            And if you want BT(a decent one) well then … they just saved ya 10 – 20 bucks.

            Mehtinks

          2. The thing that bugs me there is that really, it’s WiFi that’s the game changer. So including the Bluetooth is really just making it cost more.

            What would you use the Bluetooth for? Keyboard, mouse, audio? Except all of those things make the peripherals cost *more* than they would if they didn’t have them, and in a lot of cases, there’s no real benefit.

            And you can add WiFi to a Pi Zero for like, $2 using an ESP8266. So I really kinda wish they had just gone with adding WiFi alone. That being said, obviously they weren’t going to undercut the $35 price point, but maybe the reduced cost could’ve allowed for some other feature (who knows what).

          3. @Michael Evans- thats why when you’re setting up you spec it as a kit. ie: when you send the permission slips home to parents you make it clear that they will need to provide a HDMI-capable display, usb mouse/keyboard then spec the ‘kit’ you provide to include a microUSB power source, wifi, HDMI cable and whatever other materials that will be needed for the projects. Do you tell the parents that they also need to provide one LED and one resistor each or do you include it in the students cost and order in bulk for the class?

            Inclusion of Wifi and BT just puts the raspberry back in the game with all the other knockoff fruit boards… all I’m saying is that in the bigger picture the changes dont add up to being worthy of a major revision number.

            The Pi2 was a major change, the Zero was a major change. The Pi3- less so.

          4. Pat, seriously? Chances are that they are getting the WiFi/BT chip for little or nothing more than they’d pay for the WiFi chip. As for what they’ll use BT for, well, it will come in handy for using these with the BBC Microbit. It also gives people the option of using used/hand-me-down BT keyboards and mice.

            And using an ESP8266 for WiFi, seriously? Its a cool low-cost aftermarket hack, not the sort of thing you choose when you are designing something new that you expect to sell multiple hundreds of thousands of.

          5. So, if I’m reading this right, you’ve devoted multiple paragraphs to justifying a complaint about the name for a new model?

            Yes, its “only” 0.3 GHz faster clock, which is 33% faster. Not earth shattering, but its something. Sneer about the new ISA, and its implementation, but it probably counts for ~15% on top of the clock speed improvement, which together bring ~50% boosts in single threaded performance. Two more CPU cores? Yup, less significant than the bump to two cores, but probably still somewhat helpful for “desktop” use. The GPU also gets a 60% clock speed boost, which counts for something.

            I’ll note though that this all comes with a major regression for battery powered use. Performance/watt has probably improved, but idle power consumption has ticked up ~20%.

            So, no, not really just “same shit, now with added cupholder.” Whether that meets you personal standards for calling this a RPi 3, well, you are probably the only person in the world who cares about that, but I’m sure that someone who loves you is willing to pretend they care, for a while. Do they read HaD?

          6. Using an ESP8266 as an SDIO-to-Wifi isn’t a hack, it’s just software. It’s perfectly supported by the manufacturer.

            The BT mode is a little more complicated to implement (costs a UART, more routing, etc.) than WiFi alone, so it’s not *just* a cost savings in terms of parts.

            Pretty much all of these boards – the Pine64 (with the wireless addon), CHIP, and now the Pi3 all use combo BT/WiFi modules, which is my point – it’s really surprising, considering that WiFi is really the important one.

          7. @CRImier- but its not. The processor increase is minor- 0.3ghz per core (adds up to adding a 5th less accessible core), integrates connectivity that was already available if you needed it and thats pretty much it.

            If they added memory it’d come a lot closer to truly changing things. The new revision is really just a half-step towards closing the gap on other more capable hardware like the Orange and Banana Pis. I stand by saying this is really just a Pi 2.5 or Pi 2 Model B+

          8. @eas- no. My complaint is about the hype. Same thing as when the Zero came out “OMG! IT’S A $5 / FREE ON THE COVER OF A MAGAZINE COMPUTER!!!1!1”. …3 months later and Zeros are still as unavailable as the day after they were released (not complaining because I have one). Now it’s the same hype over what is really just an updated Pi2. It’s even intended to *replace* the Pi2 according to the release docs.

            It’s like Benchoffs ‘disclaimer’ of ‘they gave me one to write this review’. …I think it’s a shady practice when companies provide free units in exchange for positive amazon reviews and the same applies to HaD writers. It’s dishonest and shows a lack of integrity. Say what you want and make whatever snide comments about people that love me pretending to care… thats colloquially known as mud-slinging- personal attacks because you lack facts to counter my points… just like when politicians do it, it shows a lack of integrity on the part of the slinger.

          9. That said… the fact that HaD isnt in the business of actually selling Pis goes a long way. I just prefer reviews to be uncompensated meaning the subject of the review is bought and used the same way the rest of us do. Otherwise it’s just a marketing ploy because who is going to get something for free and write a bad review that jeopardizes their chances of getting more freebies? As it is I have to question the authenticity of the review considering that this review might be a little off-color due to the external relationship.

        1. I dont really se how nfs or AoE could solve the issue with the usb2 interface not having the performance to do gigabit transfers. The speed gains will be very small going from 100mbit to 1gbit when the sd card and the ethernet adapter are sharing the one slow usb bus. Now if it had usb3 or pci-e then gigabit would make sense.

          1. Sorry I did not explain my point, the RPi sux for not being able to do gigabit Ethernet when other boards can, because mounting remote file-systems is very handy. We shove around encrypted data at over 100 megabytes per second between the machines here so falling back to less than 10% of that would be a pain.

          2. @Dan- and you’re missing dizzey’s point. The Pi simply cannot utilize data coming in at gigabit speed. all gigabit does is get the next spoonful ready faster but it still has to wait for it to chew and swallow. You can serve the data faster, but it still has to be processed, especially if the processor is bogged down unencrypting the data coming in.

          3. No I didn’t, I was pointing out the RPi is not even a good client option for my needs. The Pine, well that is getting closer and could even act as AoE RAID slices, perhaps.

          4. M_pan has it. It’s like getting a bigger and bigger pipe feeding water into your house, when it all has to go through a garden hose spray nozzle at the end of the run. 100mb is already saturating the system bus.

        2. You missed ROB’s point. The Pi *does not have the bandwidth* to use GIgabit. Even if you had gigabit hardware on it it’d be limited to less than 100Mbit by the other buses in the system.

          If you want a high-performance NAS, a Pi is entirely the wrong device.

          1. I doubt Dan or anyone else (short of network driver developers) cares about how the NIC is connected internally. If an internal USB hub provides insufficient bandwidth, then for Pete’s sake don’t do it. The Banana Pi offers 1000baseT and the NIC is directly accessed by the CPU for little more money. Depending on how you look at it, the Banana Pi is an entirely different device, but it sports an ARM chip too, features roughly same dimensions and draws a comparable amount of current.

            Clearly a gigabit NIC doesn’t make it a high-performance NAS (incidentally, I worked for BlueArc ;-) but it helps if you want to mount your home directory _from_ a server or you want just a super-cheap nearline storage server.

            Sadly, I found the Banana Pi’s documentation severely lacking.

          2. Well at least one person got what I was on about, I was starting to think I had reverted to a gibbering idiot that nobody understood. :-)

            The point about the docs for the banana does highlight one of the strengths of the raspberry, lots of information available.

          3. People claim to be able to read data at ~200Mbps on earlier RPis with a USB GigE adapter, so no, it probably wouldn’t be limited to less than 100Mbit/s by other buses in the system. Who knows, with two extra cores maybe the RPi 3 could go even faster.

            Moreover, he doesn’t want to use it as a NAS, he wants to use it with network storage.

          4. @eas – but it’s certainly not a necessity for everybody, and 1GBps USB-Ethernet usually costs the same as a Raspberry does. Those who need it can just buy it. Most don’t, though, and wouldn’t appreciate the price rising.

          5. No you missed my point, which I clarified elsewhere, and I was not looking at the RPi as a server but as a cheap client in a learning lab (I have a lot of kids.). Anyway it turns out I can get ten times the power and functionality for about four times the (total) cost so as far as useful desktops go in that context the RPi isn’t there yet, although it may suit other people’s needs.

      1. because 100 megabit doesn’t saturate a USB2 bus? Sure, you can’t use all of the gigabit feed, but you can get more out of it than that.

        The inarguably superior odroid C2 has gigabit, and it has it on an independent bus, so it’s not (unlike the Pi) sharing that with the USB. You can get quite a bit of bandwidth through it.

  4. “At launch, we are using the same 32-bit Raspbian userland that we use on other Raspberry Pi devices; over the next few months we will investigate whether there is value in moving to 64-bit mode.” – Eben Upton

      1. Not to mention a bit weird that they’d even imply that not doing a 64 bit build was a possibility. Let me guess, something to do with the proprietary GPU side of things needed extra work or money spent to get it all working with 64 bit code?

          1. I think that the point is that a lot of linux kernels are going to limited support for 32-bit systems, so to have future-compatibility, they are making the hardware 64-bit capable. It’s like the gigabit thread above — the system can’t use the benefits, but when there is no fallback mode (like there is with ethernet) it may be “go 64 bit or go away” in just a few years.

        1. That’s because 64 bit requires more memory. It might give some performance benefits but if there is too little memory that doesn’t help.

          I hope that if they release 64 bit Raspbian they would also support running 32 bit version on Pi 3. Just to give user the choice between using less RAM or having different ISA and bigger registers.

          1. It is actually possible to have the best of both worlds, sort of. There’s the AArch32 ARMv8 variant which allows you to use Advanced NEON, crypto instructions and most of the other things new in ARMv8 in 32 bit mode. The analogue in the x86 world is called x32, but not commonly used.

  5. I don’t know how far you can go with calling this a “usable desktop computer”‘.

    I’d like to see it running my Xilinx VHDL synthesis – not likely as it is NOT that “usable” as a desktop computer.

    If you try to use it as a desktop then you have both memory bottleneck and there is not much use in a paging file if it’s on USB mass storage – SD(**) only goes up to about 128GB AFAIK. USB 2.0 is too slow for SSD but you may get away with an old Hard Drive. Perhaps have the boot / system on a fast SDHC (can it even do SDXC) and put the media / mass-storage on a USB HDD.

    I would call it a “usable for some things” desktop computer. And for the price – certainly “useful” for the right purposes.

    The uses I can think of – PC from browsing / reading – no CAD and no games.

    Hot melt glue one to the back of a large screen as a media server.

    Wi-Fi router if your not happy with your current one – perhaps force all traffic via VPN.

    Here what I see as a problem – ball park figures

    802.11n WiFi – 120 Mb/s
    USB 2.0 – 400 Mb/s (total for all devices)
    10/100 LAN – 100 Mb/s
    SDHC – 240 Mb/s
    HDD – 400 Mb/s – No SATA here
    SSD – 3.2Gb/s – No SATA here

    It’s still a very good board for the price if you use it for things it’s capable of. I might buy one when I can find stock – if I haven’t given up on it by then like the Pi zero-stock.

    1. It’s very usable. Ram aside, with the right developer, the diy scene is about to explode. I sat and thought about all the possible projects that could be done. Many folks look at the PI as meant for just being a desktop computer, however it’s small enough to be useful as the brain of things like robots and quadcopters. I personally have never looked into using a pi because I’ve never had a need or a desire, but I’m looking at how this could be a nice carputer. It might be possible to upgrade an old car into a smart car using this board.

      1. w one idea i have would me someone to come up with a case similar to the Apple 2,but made to allow us to put a Pi board in it and allow us to upgrade the boards easily as each new revision comes up. or maybe a case similar to the commodore 64. one of my old jobs was to program one to collect data using a GPIO card. if It could do it ,these boards should be able to

    2. no games? well maybe not modern but my question about gert is 110% aimed at games. I’m looking to throw another classic standup arcade cab with mame into my collection and this would be a great step up from the current model for that.

      but i do agree not really a desktop replacement.

      1. Hopefully [Benchoff] will write up a followup article now that you have intrigued him with the question of Gert Vga compatibility. There are a lot of other questions here as well so perhaps a follow up article is warranted.

        For me the biggest question is the actual CPU performance GHz means nothing to me for CPU performance. Some benchmarks would be good. So far it seems like it may be a fair pixel pusher for low speed stuff that doesn’t need too much IO such as TPC/IP – HDD etc.

      1. As far as I know the previous versions pushed everything trough one USB bridge and there is nothing to say this version is any different. So your *Total* theoretical I/O in all directions is limited to 480Mb/s, minus protocol support and handshaking.

      2. No, it is attached via SDIO (for WiFi) and high-speed UART (for BT). So that’s a significant plus.

        I sure would have liked it if they had put a 2nd USB root port into the SoC though.

  6. “This promise wasn’t one to bring a high power Linux computer to the masses; checking your email, or loading a web page on the original Pi was a chore.”

    You never ever used a 14.4 modem and a 486 to browse the internet, didn’t you ? That was a chore !, even with 32 MB RAM win3.1 was frozen slow…

      1. uisrite… I went from a 2400 to a 14.4 and later to 33.6.

        I remember downloading games, reading the docs as they downloaded then going and making a snack while the game itself downloaded.

        …when my grandma learned to call the operator for a breakthrough when she wanted to talk to my mom ruined my 14 year-old world.

        Pretty crazy to think Orcs and Humans all fit on 8 1.44 floppies back in the day.

    1. I’m old enough to remember when that was very fast.

      9600 on an 8086 with 64kb of ram or 25 serial terminal users on a 80386, 1Mb ram and Linux (Slackware installed from about 32 floppy disks) on a 32mb hard drive.

      1. And those famous words – “No one will ever need more that 640k RAM” – lol

        We spent so much time desoldering soldered in RAM chips that we got into a rhythm in the workshop.

        With a bass guitar and some drums we would have been a hit lol.

        I can still desolder DIP really fast – two pins at a time.

    2. 32MB? Jesus, I would’ve given my right arm for 8MB in those days. I crawled along with 4MB. Opening an early version of Netscape Navigator took 5 minutes. I had 32MB on my Pentium 2 playing Quake 2, Half-Life and etc in the late 90s. (97-99)

      1. I went from 4MB to 8MB on my AMD DX-4 100 (Pentium equivalent) in 1995 and it was as if the skies had opened… Windows (3.11 baby!) would boot in ~2.5mins vs 6 mins. My flight sim and battleship sim would both actually run smoothly. It was truly miraculous. Didn’t help how long it took to print anything through my Epson RX-80 though (nothing like watching a dot matrix printer draw a word doc line by line!).

        When I made the jump from a 14.4kbps modem to an early 33.6kbps modem on that system in mid-1997 that was another revolution (at least when I was in an area where the local ISP pool could support it… back home was another story).

        Those were the days.

  7. “Four years ago, when it started to look like the Raspberry Pi was indeed not vaporware, there weren’t many offerings for a cheap single board computer running Linux. The best anyone could do were Gumstix, and these cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $150.”
    Really, really? No other linux for under 150 4 years ago?

  8. I’m disappointed that there’s still no support for H/W decoding of HEVC. Most of the alternatives do support decoding of HEVC, and some of them can even do 10-bit HEVC, but RPi? Nope!

    1. I’ve read some postings saying it can do H.265 (no mention of bit or resolution though). It should be able to push out maybe non-HD H265 with software… If you’re looking for a HTPC dev board the ODROID-C2 can do 4k H.265 and has good KODI support.

      1. The Pi 2 has had HEVC 720p and modest bitrate 1080p decode for a while. It uses mainly optimised CPU decoding with a bit of offloading to the GPU (not the VPU which is used for H264/MPEG2/VC-1 hardware acceleration). The Pi 3 should be capable of higher bitrate 1080p HEVC stuff with the CPU and GPU speed bumps. That’s the joy of the Pi – there are some very competent people working on stuff for it. They are optimising the heck out of it, working within the limitations rather than bitching about them.

  9. There’s lots of awesome to be excited about here, but really, how many times are we going to keep hearing that *this* Raspberry Pi is finally the first to be a usable computer? First the original, then when the memory doubled, then when it got more ports, and then when version 2 was claimed “six times faster”.

    They keep getting better, but still far short of the performance of a regular computer. It’s kinda like saying *this* will finally be the year of the Linux Desktop!

    Recently I taught a couple workshops were people ran the Arduino IDE on laptops they brought. The few who brought netbooks with 1G or even 2G RAM were essentially hobbled, unable to keep up, just because everything ran so slow. And those machines (probably) had SATA and regular 5400 rpm hard drives.

    Raspberry Pi 3 is certainly going to be used for lots of great projects, as the prior models have been. But I’m skeptical a board with only 1G RAM and a terribly slow storage subsystem (which can’t even leverage the speed of modern SD cards, which are generally much slower than modern hard drives and SSDs) is going to live up to all this hype of being a usable computer.

    Raspberry Pi is pretty amazing in so many ways, and perhaps it will be the end of Arduino and microcontrollers (and I might be looking for a new job soonish…) I just wish it didn’t always come with the same old hype. Either that, or I’d wish 2016 will be the Year Of The Linux Desktop.

    1. RaspPis aren’t meant to be desktop replacements. RaspPis are meant to be appliance computers, project processing and a PC in the absence of other, better, more conventional hardware.

      To expect a Pi to replace to a desktop is like expecting a Zero to replace a Pi2.

    2. I wonder if you’ve ever tried running the Arduino IDE on a Pi 2. While certainly not as fast as on a decent laptop or desktop, it is definitely useable, and perhaps you could consider that the reason the netbooks with 1 or 2GB of RAM were running slowly was the operating system rather than the hardware.

  10. woo, just ordered one from Element14 down under.
    Doesn’t seem to work thru the normal desktop browser, but just dandy on the mobile!, only $50 AUD delivered

    i’ll probably have to stack it next to my Pi zero for a while until I get time to play with it ;-)

  11. There is a typo in your comparison chart: the B+ and Zero columns show “Cortex A11”, whereas it should be “ARM11”. ARM11 was the series of ARM processors that pre-date the Cortex-A series.

  12. The Pi3 is very tempting. I’ve just setup an Orange Pi PC as a UniFi server and a Pi2 as a PABX, installed with an SPA3102 ATA in an old rack mounted Ethernet hub case. This gives me a good enclosure and a power supply.
    If I had a Pi3 I may have had a go at running both on the same board. (I was advised a Pi 2 may not have enough grunt.)
    BUT I really want some Pi Zeros!
    They are the “killer board” as far as I’m concerned.

  13. When is it that Broadcom (Avago) will give us a truly open source driver for their wireless chips that leverages all the capabilities of the chip? OpenWRT, Linux, and open source developers in general have been held back for years by the lack of real software. The Videocore debacle is much the same. Binary blobs precompiled into some form of useless nonsense does not answer the needs of the open source community as a whole.

    802.11s and AOSP for all would be great. Intellectual property rights arguments and holding back all your information makes a poor product.

    1. I second your sentiments, customdev.

      I want to be able to use the DPI Interface in a non-standard way, but the only documentation I could find is sparse, incomplete, and even contradictory in places.

      The best source I was able to dig up was http://blog.reasonablycorrect.com/raw-dpi-raspberry-pi/, but that didn’t answer all my questions.

      I needed an active-low DEN, but changing that one bit in dpi_output_format did not make DEN active low. It seems that changing the HSYNC or VSYNC polarity in dpi_output_format doesn’t have any effect (but changing them in hdmi_timings does). Unfortunately, there is no DEN polarity flag in hdmi_timings.

      Is there an online source that describes the DPI interface on the BCM2835? The binary blob approach to video drivers is not very hacker-friendly to say the least.

      1. Yes I’m very interested in the Compute Module 3. Specifically whether it is pin compatible with the original compute module. The concept of my own board for various embedded applications with a compute core that can be upgraded by just swapping it out(if code compatible) is very appealing. Especially with regard to product improvements.

  14. This is not true to say that Pi cannot be compared to ODROID boards. HardKernel has ODROID board in the price range of the raspberry pi and the more expensive ODROID XU4 is bit more expensive but way more powerful and practical (USB3, Gigabit ethernet, eMMC) as a desktop computer. The new OCDROID-C2 is better CPU-wise but does not have Bluetooth and Wifi (but has gigabit ethernet).

    I’am a bit suprise that the foundation is not more open in their design process to get feedback from their users. The business model starts to look more like big companies (Apple ?) and less like a foundation.

    1. Specifically the Odroid-C2 has 2GB of RAM and quad core A53s running at 2GHz as opposed to the RPI3’s 1GB of RAM and 1.2 GHz Quad A53s. The Odroid-C2 also has eMMC support, UHS-1 MicroSD card support, gigabit ethernet and HDMI that can output video with 4K display resolution.

      But its Linux Kernel support (Amlogic S905) is limited compared to the support that the RPI3 gets and it doesn’t have built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, which for me, is the killer feature of the RPI3. The Odroid-C2 also costs $40 instead of $35.

      The community for the hardkernel boards is probably the second biggest out there after the RPI community.

      Basically the RPI3 board has about the same specs of the $75 DragonBoard410c at slightly less than half the cost.

      1. The RPi3 is decent, but dramatically inferior to a Odroid c2. Sure, it’s $5 cheaper and has wifi/bluetooth, but both of those are addable via very inexpensive dongles if you need them.

        On the other hand, the C2 has roughly twice the processing power of the RPi3, gigabit ethernet, doesn’t share it’s ethernet with the USB bus, twice the ram, much faster ram, eMMC, and better output capabilities.

        It also comes with Linux or Android distros (and it absolutely runs Android like a champ)

        I sincerely don’t understand why Hackaday totally ignores Hardkernels offerings, despite them both having a very large community (if smaller than the Raspberry Pi) and objectively superior boards at comparable prices.

        1. It really depends on your use case. If you want to run android or really need the extra processing power, RAM and gigabit ethernet then sure the ODROID-C2 is better. But keep in my mind that its running a 3.14 Linux Kernel.

          If you’re more into education and/or prefer having built-in WiFi & Bluetooth as well as running Linux with a more up-to-date kernel then the RPi board is better.

          By the way the ODROID community is amazing and incredibly helpful. So if you want to try Android/Linux SBCs outside of the RPI Foundation, go for their boards.

    1. I hope it allows HostAP mode. A “router” firmware distribution could be quite disruptive to the home WiFi router marketplace, I would think.

      Of course, HostAP mode also potentially has black-hat uses as well…

  15. Brian Benchoff, the 3 isn’t anywhere NEAR a desktop or even a laptop computer yet, you jumped the gun again. It’s almost a modern cellphone in usability, but it’s not a “Consumer” device yet. when you can use every feature and function without having to open a command window, or read a book/wiki, or install a OS from another device, is when it is ready to operate as a school computer for work. which is why Ubuntu still hasn’t bypassed OSX in install base.

    1. You seem to be on the wrong site. This is Hackaday. All of the complaints you made are actually features as far as most of us are concerned. The fact that I can install a third-party OS on a piece of kit (that is capable of running an OS) is not just a feature, it’s a requirement, as far as I’m concerned.

      But on the Pi3 being called a useable desktop… I’m still on the fence. That 1GB of RAM is going to make browsing hard to stand. And if I can’t browse, it’s not a desktop.

      1. I don’t think you got what I meant. He implied it’s a Consumer device, which is not true by a long shot. I’m very much on the right site as far as I know or care, I’ve been stopping by for almost 4 years now, if only because there aren’t any other sites like HaD out there. Those are Features to us, but the average idiot can’t even figure out how to turn one without a day of research. let alone write a Micro SD with the OS, Install drivers for Wifi, Work around the usual problems with X11, and properly configure a display (which still requires manually editing CFGs last i checked).

        The average snotbag wants to plug it in, turn it on, and everything just work naturally. Not anywhere near what most of us here do on a daily basis. My problem is Benchoff keeps writing like its the next iPhone or Commodore 64, he has done it for every board revision since Pi1. Yeah, it’s got wifi and bluetooth now, but that doesn’t make it any more perfect, just less for us to buy.

    1. Say what?

      It doesn’t even come with an SD card. How is it going to “come with” Windows?

      If Microsoft is offering a free license for Windows for the Pi, that’s a different matter (I wouldn’t know), but I don’t believe a “Windows tax” is implicitly included in the cost of the Raspberry Pi the same way it is for (most) non-Apple x86 laptops.

      1. @nsayer It’s Windows 10 IOT. It’s free. There’s no “Windows tax”. …and it doesn’t come with the board, but is available to download and put on an SD card. It’s not a full OS, but think of it as a way to build a single-user kiosk UI (or a headless .NET IOT application) on a Raspberry Pi.

    2. Only the average computer user would want Windows on a board like that, but Windows for ARM is not even close to the Windows the average users are used to – not existing drivers for most USB peripherals being just one of the reasons – so no worries: most of them will resell the board on Ebay for cheap and the others might give Linux a try. Win-Win scenario to me, thanks to Win :^)

  16. I’m happy to see the Raspberry Pi 3 now comes with built-in WiFi and bluetooth! Those 2 combined when bought as dongles can cost anywhere from $10-30! more. The fact that they’re provided with an upgraded Cortex A53 CPU for the same $35 price, is amazing. Also the Linux Kernel is almost mainlined, last I heard and the software support that the RPI foundation offers is second to none.

    This SBC offers excellent value! (Much more than that offered by the RPi Zero……even if it only costs $5)
    Thanks RPi foundation!

  17. Never fails, every time I get my 25-node Pi-cluster up and calculating they release another model. Already migrated from B to B+ to 2. Hopefully the footprint is staying the same so the new ones can be a drop-in replacement.

    I had hoped the Pi would be a stable platform. In my advanced OS class we write a custom operating system for the Pi. However this semester I had to limit it to the 1176 models just to keep things simple, but it’s going to get harder down the road if the students all want to use their personal Pis which are going to be all across the board low-level ARM microarchitecture wise. The Pi2 was annoying but compatible enough, you just had to make the MMIO offset configurable and mess with the interrupt controller a bit. The switch to 64-bit sounds like it will be a pain.

      1. > You say that like the foundation releasing a new model somehow makes your old models
        > non-functional in some way.

        well they become non-functional when I rip them out of the cluster and replace them with the new models! although in theory I have enough parts to build a second cluster. I was thinking I’d use the extra model-b+ boards, but maybe I will make it a model 3 cluster. Seems silly now that I made the cluster boards compatible for b/b+ as it looks like I’ll never put together a B cluster.

        This is all because I have been trying to get maximum FLOPS/Watt out of this cluster on Linpack, and arm64 is potentially a big win. Of course what would really help the cluster more than anything would be replacing the awful USB/100MB ethernet the boards are stuck with.

      1. > Sounds like you run a very interesting class!

        I’d like to think so. Not really sure what the students think.

        By the end of the semester we have a simple multi-tasking OS going on the Pi with both serial port and framebuffer graphics output. I’m hoping we can maybe get i2c and SD card access going as part of final projects this semester, not sure if that will happen.

        I really enjoy working on the OS, I wish I could spend more time on it, but it’s not related to all of the research that I should probably be doing instead.

  18. Does the 3 still suffer from trashing the SDCard during power cycles?

    This is one of the reasons I chose to get a handful of C.H.I.P.S instead of Zeros. The LiPo charging circuit and the reasonably dependable ability to not destroy it’s own storage is a nice plus in my book.

    Yes I’m aware of the Flash problems but this was fixed before I ever got my units. So no worries.

    1. It may do – but one of the other announcements as part of the Pi 3 is a change to the design of the VC4 boot code that means it can boot without a uSD card, either from a USB mass storage device or via a PXE Netbook over Ethernet. Great development.

    1. I agree, though SparkFun and AdaFruit do sell them at prices that seem fairly close to the SRP. You need to have a bit of a fudge factor in there for variable exchange rates. I just bought my model 3 for £26.67 from PiMoroni, and that’s more than US$35 at the moment.

  19. Don’t worry about Arduino going away soon. The advantage of the Pi is also it’s weakness – ie: Linux. Arduino does things in real time for small custom devices the Pi would not be good for.

    1. While the Arduino is closer to real time than Linux, I notice that there are times real time operation is a bit off the mark. Nevermind AVR’s wonky interrupt timings, there are a number of functions and practices within the Arduino environment that cause RT problems that flat out go away when switching to a pure C or even an ASM code base.

      Last I checked, it was the Arduino’s inane I/O handling double checking procedures causing a lot of problems. I think you can “force” the handling but I never really understood why the Arduino guys don’t bother optimizing the cruft away there.

      They were slow to add support for pullups at the beginning so I just dropped the Arduino entirely and went straight to C/ASM.

    2. Raspberry Pi along with many of the other SBCs are really not in the same category as Arduino.

      The Arduino core is usually a microcontroller (AVR 8-bit, ARM 32-bit Cortex-M0/M3/M4) without an MMU that is intended to be coded bare metal (without an OS) or with a custom RTOS like FreeRTOS, mbedOS or the upcoming Zephyr. Arduino’s real competition is mbed.

      Raspberry Pi has a more powerful microprocessor core (ARM 32-bit/64-bit Cortex A5/A8/A7/A9/A53/A72/A35/A32) with an MMU that is intended to be matched with external RAM chips and virtualize memory. This core can run a full blown cooperative operating system such as Linux or BSD.

      The ‘microcontroller’ approach is great when ‘real-time’ processing matters .i.e. the need to repeat certain tasks at a precise specified time interval usually in the microseconds or less). Microcontrollers are usually programmed in C/C++ though that is changing now with projects like MicroPython and Espruino.

      The ‘microprocessor w/MMU’ approach is not ‘real-time’ because operating systems like Linux do not guarantee that certain tasks will run at time intervals with the same level of precision (say within microseconds). There are exceptions to do this of course that require patching the Linux Kernel but even then the Kernel is still not truly real-time….. Having said that ,the advantage of running an OS like Linux is that you can develop applications in virtually any language of your choosing…(want to develop IOT apps in Cobol, pascal or Fortran? have at it….) as well as leverage a huge selection of code most of which is well-tested and open source.

      Ofcourse the actual real-timey-ness of an application or OS can be debatable. I’m merely trying to illustrate the overarching concepts here.

    3. I don’t know why anyone would worry about Arduino going away in any event. Arduino is a very thin wrapper around AVR and ARM micro controllers. I personally used an Uno for only a month or two before I just started buying AVR chips and using them raw in my own designs. I think the last time I needed one was to attempt to use HV programming to recover an AVR from bad fusing, but since then I’ve been using the recovery clock feature of my USB µISP for that purpose instead (fortunately, the !RESET fuse hasn’t been one I’ve needed to recover from thus far).

      Even if that weren’t the case (and I recognize that not everyone is going to be able or want to design their own board), there’s a pile of workalikes out there. SparkFun’s RedBoard comes immediately to mind, but absent that form factor, there’s so many options from AdaFruit that I can’t count them all.

      Arduino’s larger contribution is their software, which is easily adaptable for use with bare chips.

      1. 2.5A theoretically needed is a bit annoying since the common USB adapters and many standard powerpacks are 2.1A at the moment.
        But if adafruit says 2A works, I guess it works, although when you add USB devices and a camera and such.. or run some hard calculations..
        .

  20. “Since the release of the Raspberry Pi, everyone realized that a cheap, small device running Linux would be very useful. To give credit where it is due, [Eben] and the rest of the Raspberry Pi foundation are hugely responsible for the vast ecosystem of small embedded development boards. Everyone is in on the act: Intel has the Edison and the Quark, the BeagleBone was released nearly concurrently with the Pi, and even Apple is rumored to have an SBC in the works. Then came the clones, the knockoffs, and everyone else who wanted a piece of the game.”

    “One of the first boards heavily inspired by the Pi was the Banana Pi, a single board computer with a strikingly similar layout to the original Pi. ODROIDs were next, followed by the Orange Pis, the UDOOs, the and the CubieBoards.”

    Why is it such a bad thing that companies closely followed the layout of what was once open source hardware? It’s the only logical thing to do if you want compatibility with the wide array of products designed for the leading board on the market. Most of these boards are far superior to the Pi with very different hardware specs. And today most of them are far more open than the Pi as the Pi Foundation stopped releasing their hardware as open source.

    The Odroid and the Beagleboard also predate the Pi by 3-4 years. Giving the Pi Foundation credit for the existence of these boards isn’t really where credit is due.

  21. Honestly, I don’t think the Osborne effect applies. It’s one thing to put off buying a several hundred dollar device because of the promise of the next generation model in the wings, but the most expensive Raspberry Pi is US$35. That’s cheap enough to buy one now AND in a month or two when the next one comes out.

  22. I have just ordered a Pi 3 from Newark. For me the important thing is the built in wifi and BT. The rest is just a bonus for my applications. It is the software and the community that matters. I also have a CHIP which is a great little SBC. There was a little glitch with the memory that was fixed and some minor power supply issues that were easily fixed by plugging in a battery. This had the bonus of providing uninterruptable power. The software support is surprisingly very good and this is a great board for low end applications. I have also just received an Artik 5 dev kit but the software and documentation is so limited that it will take months to get to where I need to be. That is why the Pi 3 is of interest to me. It doesn’t have the Artik’s secure element (for which there is no documentation anyway) but other than that it should make a great IOT hub.

  23. > While the Pi 3 will prove to be very popular, you probably won’t see scalpers selling Pi 3s for hundreds on eBay.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Raspberry-Pi-3-Model-B-Starter-Kit-/262313554175?hash=item3d131b30ff:g:epYAAOSwDuJW1Kky

    > There’s enough to go around, and as long as we don’t have too many hoarders, you too can get your hands on one soon.

    https://www.adafruit.com/pi3

    > There were only 100,000 units manufactured in the first run of Pi Zeros, with another 100,000 following shortly thereafter. Right now, there are 300,000 Pi 3s sitting in warehouses, ready to be shipped out around the world.

    Does anyone trust any number coming out of the Raspberry Pi foundation? Where are these warehouses? North Pole?
    FFS, you still can’t get a model A+ for an honest $20. The raspberry pi smell isn’t what you think.

  24. The Pine64, unlike the original poster says, is not dead in the water. For a start, the board itself starts at $15USD for a 1,2ghz processor and 1gb RAM. I went for the 2gb option as I know 64-bit processors are more memory hungry. I also went for the wifi/bluetooth add on. The Pine 64 also has more header pin break outs than just a GPIO, even though it has that as well. Already there is a fairly stable Android distro for it, and debian is in dev.

    I will still get myself a Pi3 as soon as I have the spare cash to do so, but the Pine64 *is* a serious contender, IF they can get a community of hackers behind it.

    There is plenty of room in the market for many SBCs. Raspberry Pi are at the top of the game, but they might not always be. I remember when Amstrad PCs were considered top notch. Heck, I remember the Archimedes as well… and the BBC Micro / Master. May the Raspberry Pi foundation have a long life, and may the market in SBCs expand exponentially. It is all good as far as I am concerned.

    1. If the Pi Foundation didn’t think the Pine64 was a contender I doubt we would be seeing the Pi3 for a long time yet. The Pi2 came out not too long after the Odroid-C1. The Pi Zero came out right as the CHIP started to ship. I don’t think the Pi 3 would be coming out right now with the specs it does had the Pi Foundation not been competitively motivated.

      Nothing wrong with being competitive. But it is kinda disappointing that so few people are willing to see that there is valid competition to the Raspberry Pi. They just write off every other board as knockoffs or vaporware and the Pi Foundation is more than willing to let people pretend that every other board is inferior.

      1. The problem with many ARM socs is that the SOC vendor (Allwinner, AmLogic e.t.c) will release possibly one maybe twice Linux Kernel updates/SDK over a period of 1-2 years and then move onto a new soc for next years model. This means that if you try to run a 5 year old SBC you’ll have to use a significantly outdated kernel.

        Take the Odroid-C1s SOC for example the AMLogic S805, The latest kernel for it is 3.10. Mainline 3.10 will be eol’d within the next couple of months. But if you are using the SOC, you have no choice but to keep using this older eol’d kernel because AmLogic is too busy working on another SDK for its latest model.

        Hard Kernel does a wonderful job patching that kernel and maintaining it for the ODROID-C1 but the underlying kernel is still oh very old. The problem is the vendor doesn’t really care about providing up-to-date Linux kernel or interested in mainlining the Kernel for basically an outdated ARM SOC. Most of the SOCs are intended to run as TV set top boxes running Android anyway which is typically used with outdated Linux Kernels.

        This is the problem with many of these Chinese based flavour of the year SOCs (I’ve heard that at least AllWinner is getting a bit better but haven’t seen it yet).

        Now if you look at the iMX6/7 from freescale/NXP or the TI ARM SOCs they have better support and longevity. The Raspberry Pi being a ‘phenomenon’ and using Broadcom SOCs also means that a lot of effort is being put into mainlining the Kernel and keeping the Linux Kernel up-to-date. In my mind this is one of the distinguishing features of the Raspberry Pi boards. Not only are they low cost but they come with support and the boards have a lifetime that can span several years (you can still purchase the original RPi B board with 512MB of RAM) and the Linux Kernel for the boards is being continuously developed and updated.

        1. just a correction the ODROID-C1’s (AmLogic S805) 3.10 kernel is not mainlined….obviously its a custom version. Even the freshly released ODROID-C2’s (AmLogic S905) SOC uses a relatively old 3.14 kernel and again I highly doubt that it will get mainlined ever.

          1. AMLogic and Hardkernel have apparently – finally – woken up to this issue. There is a post on the ODroid forum that AMLogic and Hardkernel are working on developing a 4.4LTS kernel for the C2, starting in May. So maybe some progress.

            I think the fact that people were concerned that they were shipping with 3.14LTS that is EOL in August this year pushed them into action. I wanted to love the C1 – but the ancient kernel and difficulty in compiling new drivers (the AMLogic headers aren’t nicely organised) meant it got relegated to a drawer in favour of a Pi 2. Less powerful – but much better supported…

          2. Steve, that’s great news! I’ve already purchased a pair of RPI3 I’ll consider purchasing an odroid-c2 (already have two odroid-c0s & odroid-u3s) in a couple months time.

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