Raspberry Pi 3 Is Here, but Is It a Worthy Successor?

February 29, 2016 by Alex Udanis

The Raspberry Pi 3 has been released for sale, what's inside it, and what can you do with it?

The Raspberry Pi 3 has been released for sale, what's inside it, and what can you do with it?

Four years since the Raspberry Pi was first announced the Raspberry Pi foundation has released its latest version of its single board computer, the Raspberry Pi 3 and it seems like everyone is pretty excited about this announcement. The latest incarnation of the Raspberry Pi is packed with a bunch of new features, and for the same price compared to last years model.


The RPi 3 maintained a design similar to the RPi 2, but made a few upgrades

New Features

The major notable improvements for the new Raspberry Pi 3 include:

  • A faster processor for better performance
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Built-in Bluetooth


Benchmarks have already surfaced, showing that the new raspberry Pi, with the 1.2ghz processor, is about 50% faster than the Pi 2. You can find the specs and benchmarks for the Raspberry Pi 3 on their website.

The Pi 2 ran a Broadcom BCM2836 quad-core processor clocked at 900MHz. The latest Pi runs a Broadcom BCM2835 quad core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz. In additional to a faster clock speed the BCM2835 is based around a Newer ARM core with the Cortex A53 architecture, where the BCM2835 is based on the ARM cortex A7 core.


By far the biggest change to the new Pi is the included wireless connectivity. The days of needing a WiFi and Bluetooth dongle are over! The new Pi uses a BMC43438 wireless radio for both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. The radio is connected to a small surface mount ceramic antenna.


The BCM43438 makes the RPi 3 wireless and Bluetooth capable


Whenever a new version of a product, regardless of what it is, there will be some criticisms about it. Some of the potential criticisms that are facing the Raspberry PI 3 include

  • Limited Ram.  The new Pi still has 1GB of ram, just like last years model.
  • Single band wifi.  The new Pi only contains a 2.4GHz radio, so 5Ghz wifi won't be an option without a dongle.


Moving Onward

With these new features on the Raspberry Pi, it now let's hobbyist easily connect the Pi to wireless networks without an aftermarket accessory. Now IOT projects not only will be easier to implement, but they will also be a fair bit cheaper. In addition to the benefits of the wireless connectivity, the extra power of the ARM processor will lend itself to more demanding projects, such as projects involving computer vision or impair processing. 

At the end of the day, the Raspberry Pi 3 is a good deal for around $35. With this new and more powerful Pi, more people will use this as a desktop computer replacement, and hopefully, this will get more students interested in engineering.  

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    dimtass March 11, 2016

    Is there anything else in market with better specs at the same price (or even a little bit higher) and the same availability (and also future proof regarding availability)?
    If not, then it worths it.

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    • fstanley March 11, 2016
      Coming to the market is a new board: Pine 64. It is an Android based O/S SBC for $15. Like the Pi it has headers and "stuff" that will make it great platform for tinkering, school computer labs and embedded systems. Unlike the Pi, the choice of O/S will initially limit the amount of Open Software. Check it out on
      Like. Reply
      • fstanley March 11, 2016
        I forgot to add that you can get a very scaled-down version of the Pi for 5 dollars: RPi-Zero. A single core processor that is about the size of a compact fingernail file. Also, the quantity of add-ons from third party vendors make the RPi a good first choice for anyone. I have four of the Pi's. I am using one to teach high school freshmen about digital circuits and Python. Scratch is also available for the Pi and is included in the Raspian distribution. Also in the distribution is an office productivity suite, a browser and Mathematica. All-in-all a pretty good sized package for the $35 (or $5) spent.
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