It’s been 4 years since the first Raspberry Pi was released on February 29, 2012. In the last four years there have been a number of updates to the Raspberry Pi platform, including the Raspberry Pi 2 released 1 year ago. The Raspberry Pi has been fairly popular among hobbyist, education and industrial markets with over 8 Million units shipped to date! Every new edition of the Raspberry Pi hardware released has seen an increase is sales over previous editions with the Raspberry Pi 2 shipping 3 Million units in 1 year since it’s release. The IoT (Internet of Things) market is growing rapidly, and the Raspberry Pi is one of the core hardware platforms being used. This 4th birthday of the Raspberry Pi brings the release of the all new Raspberry Pi 3 with even faster CPU and built-in wireless capabilities!
New Raspberry Pi 3
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To celebrate the 4th birthday of Raspberry Pi, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced today that they are releasing the all new Raspberry Pi 3. While the Raspberry Pi 2 was a really nice incremental upgrade from the Raspberry Pi 1, the Raspberry Pi 3 is yet another pretty big upgrade itself. The biggest hardware changes with the Raspberry Pi 3 are a new, faster, 64-bit CPU (now @ 1.2 Ghz) and integrated 802.11n wireless LAN with Bluetooth 4.1 (including Bluetooth Low Energy). This integrated wireless capability just might be the biggest feature update to the Raspberry Pi platform that will simultaneously help propel the IoT market to new heights. This is all at the exact same $35 price point.
Here’s a simple comparison of the changes between Raspberry Pi 2 and 3:
The new integrated wireless capabilities are a fairly significant upgrade for the Raspberry Pi platform. Wifi integration is a nice feature, but many IoT applications will still be using a hardwired LAN connection anyway. The most exciting wireless capability is the Bluetooth support, specifically the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) support. This will allow the Raspberry Pi 3 to be wirelessly connected to many BLE sensors in an environment where it may not be the most feasible to have them all hardwired to the board directly. This will also provide a really easy to use interface that hardware manufacturers can integrate to built sensors specifically for IoT devices built from the Raspberry Pi 3 platform.
The new Raspberry Pi 3 offers some significant performance gains over older models. This is a natural progression since computer hardware technology keeps advancing year over year according to Moore’s Law. The Raspberry Pi 3 is yet another indicator of this law in action.
The Raspberry Pi 3 have displayed up to a 10x performance increase over the original Raspberry Pi. This was measured using a multi-threaded CPU benchmark, so real-world performance comparisons will vary depending on the application code being executed.
The Raspberry Pi 3 now uses a 64-bit CPU. This is a first for the Raspberry Pi as up through the Raspberry Pi 2 the ARM CPU’s used were only 32-bit.
Another notable performance increase for the more traditional PC-style usage (not IoT, but many Pi’s are used as “desktops”) is that even the graphics capabilities have been improved with the new ARM chip. The Raspberry Pi Foundation hasn’t released any specific benchmark comparison on this, but have mentioned a slight performance increase.
Windows 10 IoT Core
The Windows 10 IoT Core has supported the Raspberry Pi 2 since it was launched, and as announced today by Microsoft the Raspberry Pi 3 will also be supported. Since the Raspberry Pi 3 is built to be compatible with the Raspberry Pi 2 this sounds logically to be the case. However, not every platform change, especially with changing the CPU, can automatically be supported without code changes. While Microsoft hasn’t mentioned how extensive the changes were in order to support Raspberry Pi 3, but they have released a new Insider Preview build available today to target the new Raspberry Pi 3.
Here’s a neat preview video from Microsoft demonstrating an example of what Windows 10 IoT Core and Raspberry Pi 3 can be used to create: