The latest Raspberry Pi was unveiled on the 29th of February and we decided to acquire one to try it out. Physically, the Pi 3 looks very similar to the previous model until you notice a new chip on the underside, the BCM43438. The new chip adds built-in wifi and bluetooth to the Pi, removing the need for USB dongle.
To complement the Pi 3, we also bought an official case. The case has been well-designed and snaps into shape fairly easily, definitely a good investment.
On the technical side, the Pi 3 is packed with a BCM2837 SoC and features a 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 quad core processor running at 1.2GHz. However, there was no upgrade on the RAM, only 1 GB, just like previous models.
There is a subtle upgrade on Pi 3 is the VideoCore IV which handles video and graphics now clocking in at 400MHz compared to earlier models at 250Mhz.
The upgrade in performance do come at a cost, with the Pi 3 consuming one and a half times more power than the Pi 2. The recommended PSU current capacity for the Pi 3 is 2.5 A.
We connected our Pi 3 to a TV, keyboard and mouse, plugged in the power supply. The Raspbian startup script scrolled past on the screen and the familiar desktop environment appeared. Our immediate impression is that the Raspberry Pi 3 is much faster than other versions of the Pi we have tested previously. The Pi 3 booted much faster and all of the built-in apps felt more responsive.
Making a WIFI connection was very easy using the network tool at the top right of the menu bar. See a screenshot of the BBC homepage:
Based on the performance we have observed, we can confidently say that the Pi 3 is as good as a basic Linux PC. We have been using it for a few days now for word processing and internet browsing. We are definitely impressed.
The Raspberry Pi 3 is a remarkable piece of technology for costing so little. The Raspberry Pi 3 makes the device 64-bit ready (although still running 32-bit software) and powerful enough to be used as a basic Linux PC. The built-in wireless connectivity enables Internet of Things projects at a lower price. The higher processing power of the Pi 3 should enable better performances for applications such as Kodi for instance.
More powerful quad-core processor, WiFi and Bluetooth support, compatible with existing hardware and software.
Higher rated power supply needed.
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