Brand-new Raspberry Pi adds speed, dual-band wireless, better thermal control, and more to the popular mini PC.
Gigabit Ethernet and PoE
The Raspberry Pi has always suffered an Ethernet bottleneck, throttling network speeds over USB 2.0. The new 3B+ replaces the LAN9514 USB hub with a with a LAN7515 adding Gigabit Ethernet. It’s still limited by USB 2.0 but gives a 3x LAN throughput increase, which will please a lot of Pi users with network-hungry applications in the home and in industrial applications.
The addition of four new pins offset from the main GPIO header provides support for Power-over-Ethernet. An official HAT (add-on board) has been designed to provide this feature natively, and it will be released soon.
Raspberry Pi has announced a new model of their low-cost computing devices. Conveniently called the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, it is the successor to the obviously named Raspberry Pi 3 Model B launched over two years ago.
The new Model B+ has a slightly faster 1.4GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 64-bit Broadcom BCM2873B0 processor that now also features better thermal management to run at sustained speeds for longer without throttling considerably.
The main improvements are to networking. The B+ has dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which should make it ideal for use on newer 5GHz networks, as well as Bluetooth 4.2. The entire board is now certified as a radio module under FCC rules, which will reduce the cost of conformance testing Raspberry Pi-based products. Gigabit Ethernet is also supported over the USB 2.0 connection and although you won’t see the full 1Gbps speed due to USB 2.0 limitations it’s still 3x faster than the previous Model B. Power-over-Ethernet support has also been added with separate PoE HAT, improved PXE network and USB mass storage booting.
The board design is similar to previous models, which means it should be compatible with existing case designs.
This new Pi features:
- 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU
- Gigabit Ethernet (over USB)
- Dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth
- Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) pins
- Improved PXE and USB booting
- Improved thermal management
The original Raspberry Pi 3 was the first Pi board to support multiple boot modes (an alternative to regular booting from the SD card)—including PXE network booting and booting from USB mass storage devices. This means you can boot Raspbian from a USB hard drive, which has faster disk I/O than an SD card.
The 3+ also supports netbooting, and some minor bugs in the bootrom, found in the Pi 3 after rollout, have been fixed.
Thermals and power management
Over the years, as the Raspberry Pi became more powerful and increased its CPU speed, it became more power-hungry and tended run hotter. The 3+ improves power regulation, allowing the Pi to run happily at 1.4GHz when the CPU is under 70°C, and it decreases the core voltage and drops to 1.2GHz above 70°C before throttling at 80°C, but the improved power management should prevent it from reaching this point.
With Raspberry Pi 1 you could get away with using low-power mobile phone chargers. Although some of them can manage to boot the Pi 3 and 3+ ok, they likely won’t stand up to intensive applications that draw lots of power, so a quality 2.5A power supply is recommended.