Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi 3So firstly, in case you’ve been on a desert island, what is a Raspberry Pi 3 and why do you need one right now?

The Raspberry Pi is a general purpose tiny computer with USB, Ethernet, audio, HDMI etc and this works using an SD card to store the operating system, for example Raspbian (Debian).

The Pi has had several generations now and the newly-released Raspberry Pi 3 takes the unit to the next level.

So why is it important? Those of you who read this blog will know I’ve looked at many similar boards – some more powerful than the Raspberry Pi 2 (the Orange Pi for example which is a LOT faster). To the last one however, they’ve been let down by lack of support and community. Just about all of them will run the various operating systems but some assume HDMI out only for audio – so if you’re using a 3.5mm jack you are stuffed. Others have everything – but almost no support for ports…all of those wonderful things you could do – if only they provided the drivers?

The thing that makes Raspberry Pi stand out is support and community. In Node-Red for example there are several GPIO nodes that work out of the box with the Pi yet none of them work with other devices without some major work.

The Raspberry Pi 3 then comes with some great expectations of compatibility. In my humble opinion, the original Pi was just too slow and too limited and I don’t really think the Pi Zero is a lot better – when we come to the Pi2 however, it works just fine doing all sorts of complicated stuff… but if you don’t want to use Ethernet you have to start messing with dongles, using up your limited number of USB ports… and a little more speed never hurts.

And so onto the Pi 3 – here’s what’s important:

  • 1.2Ghz 64-bit processor (A53) – in all around 10 times faster than the original Pi
  • Integrated WIFI and Bluetooth including Bluetooth 4
  • 400Mhz GPU (as against 250Mhz in older models)
  • Complete backward compatibility
  • Price as per Raspberry Pi 2 (which no doubt now will drop in price).

So, 33% faster clock rate than Pi2 and other enhancements give up to 50-60%  increase in speed over Pi2 – that is worthwhile. They have not increased the RAM which remains at 1GB which is a shame (having said that I’ve never run out of space yet).

Raspberry Pi 3[5]In case you are wondering about that “educational” label… I’ve been using a Pi2 to control heating and lighting now for a year – it has NEVER failed 24/7 (unless I put in duff code of course).  I am really looking forward to the Pi3 which I expect will arrive tomorrow. Note that the new model tales a little more power than previously and a 2.5amp supply is recommended (5v).  More on that soon.

If community support for the Raspberry Pi 3 is true to form, that support will immediately put power into your hands – something the competition can only dream of.

It’s their anniversary as well, the foundation came into being 4 years ago!

With recent new release of Raspbian and a brand new board there is lots to look forward to. I’ve just grabbed an image of Windows 10 for the Pi from my pal Peter Oakes and this should give it a bit extra kick.

More in a future article coming up “real soon”.

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22 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi 3

    1. sata, and as such using a RPi as a nas, was never in raspberry intention... nor it was to use a RPi as a mediacenter... it's an educational device, too many want to use it in ways it's not so excellent, and for which there are many better alternatives...

      1. "it's an educational device, too many want to use it in ways it's not so excellent"

        Is that not what hardware hacking is about? Finding new, unexpected, uses for bits of kit!

  1. "when we come to the Pi2 however, it works just fine doing all sorts of complicated stuff… but if you won’t want to use Ethernet you have to start messing with dongles"

    Pi2 has built in ethernet or were you referring to the zero ?

    1. seems quite clear... he didn't say pi2 has not eth... he said that if you DON'T want to use eth and so you want wifi, you have to use a dongle...

  2. This is going to be a big hit. Wifi was definitely the missing link in the Pi line-up, and BT4 is just the icing on top.

    I recall you saying you had a CHIP and were going to do a review. Other than price, Pi3 looks like it will be eating their lunch. I can see the value in a $9 for small IoT things around the home - but it is only slated for general sale in June.

    You are right though - it is the support & community which makes the Pi. I see no point in dealing with stuff that doesn't work, or which gets dropped like a hot-potato when a new version of board comes out.

      1. My main router uses OpenWrt and works excellent 24/7. I had my Home Security System and PBX (FreeSwitch) running on OpenWRT over a Seagate Dockstar and Pogoplug V4-03-01 but I moved to Debian. Porting packages to OpenWRT is too complicated. Most of them just compile on Debian right the way. An additional plus for Debian is native compiling.

        I still consider OpenWRT for flash and ram limited devices. Its the best.

          1. My main router is a TP-Link WNDR3600 running OpenWRT 14.07. Home Security and PBX running on Seagate Dockstar (128MB ram, 256MB flash and USB as root) with Debian 7. A Seagate GoflexNET (128MB ram, 256MB flash and SSD as root) with Debian 7 running MQTT and Node-red. The last one used as UI (node-red-ui) to Home Security, to monitor refrigerator power usage and temperature (Using PZEM-004, NodeMCU and DS18S20), earthquakes in my area, free ebooks from packtpub, interfacing Hangout with my Android phone (Galaxy S4 mini DUOS) using node-red-contrib-hangout and some more things.

            Sometime ago my main router was a Netgear WGT634U (32MB ram, 8MB flash and USB memory) running OpenWRT. My PBX and home security was running on it too. A Lightning killed it and all my VoIP stuff.

  3. It should be noted that the bigger power supply accommodates the faster compute cycle and accessories but over all it uses less power via throttling and during idle than Pi2

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