Leon Anavi
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Created: 26.03.2016 19:07 Last Modified: 26.03.2016 19:07 Views: 6841
Keywords: ARM, Bluetooth, WiFi, Raspberry Pi 3

What's new in Raspberry Pi 3? 8 Major Differences

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B was announced in February 2016. I have been already using it for several weeks and I decided to do a quick and strictly technical overview.

You might be wondering what is new in Raspberry Pi 3 and why should you buy it. Lets compare it to the older versions and have a look at the 8 major differences that I found out.

1. 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU

The first thing to note it the new processor. Raspberry Pi 3 has a powerful quad-core ARMv8 CPU running at 1.2GHz. This is a one of the first development boards with 64-bit ARM CPU on the market.

I read comments that the CPU of Raspberry Pi 3 is overheating. Although I haven't see any issues during my everyday activities with it may be it is a good idea to get a heat sink especially if you are doing a lot of computations which overload the CPU. The RAM and the GPU of Raspberry Pi 3 remain unchanged. Sorry, no surprises. Raspberry Pi 3 has 1GB RAM and just like in the older version the GPU is Broadcom VideoCore IV. The advantage is that we already know how to get Wayland working with it.

2. WiFi

The integrated WiFi is a great new feature of Raspberry Pi 3. The board offers a built in 802.11n Wireless adapter. This is very important feature if you are planning to create Internet of Things. The minor disadvantage is that the wireless does not support the latest WiFi standard 802.11ac.

3. Bluetooth

Another new cool feature of Raspberry Pi 3 is the Bluetooth. It is a low energy module that supports Bluetooth 4.1. It is a great addition to the board as it allows you to pair your Raspberry Pi 3 with your smartphone or any other Bluetooth gadget.


The first versions for Raspberry Pi had 26 pins. After that 40 pin header was introduced. It is available on Raspberry Pi 0 and Raspberry Pi 2 as well as on models A+ and B+ of version 1. Raspberry Pi 3 also has 40 pin header. 26 of them are GPIO pins. The rest are for power and ground. The existing Raspberry Pi HATs are compatible with version 3. For example, you can still easily mount Sense HAT.

5. Form Factor

The form factor is different from Raspberry Pi 0 but it is the same as of the other versions. Raspberry Pi 3 can fit into a case for Raspberry Pi 2 but there is a catch. Due to the WiFi, the position of the LED indicators for activity and power are moved to the other side. Therefore it is recommended to buy a new case for your Raspberry Pi 3. Btw the official case is truly great and I highly recommend it.

6. microSD Card

The first version of Raspberry Pi was using a big standard SD card. After that the SD card was replaced with a microSD card for all new versions. Rasppberry Pi 3 is not an exception. But there is one difference. Unlike the previous models, version 3 does not have the click to eject option. You can notice the difference.

7. USB

Model A of the very first version of Raspberry Pi had a single USB port, Model B was with two ports. Raspberry Pi 0 is with a single microUSB. Raspberry Pi 3 as well as the rest of the previous versions have 4 USB 2.0 ports. This very convenient if you are planning to use the board as a desktop replacement.

8. Power Supply

Raspberry Pi 3 offers a better processor and unlike its predecessors it has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. These features require more power therefore it is recommended to get a really powerful power supply. According to the recommendation from raspberrypi.org you should consider using 2.5A USB power supply if you are planning to attach power hungry USB devices.

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