Raspberry Pi 3B+ Released. Specs Inside

Raspberry Pi 3B+

The last we heard about a possible upgraded Raspberry Pi Model B SBC was that nothing new would be announced until late 2018, with a 2019 release being more likely. Luckily for us, those rumors turned out to not be true. This morning the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the release of the new and improved Raspberry Pi 3B+, and upgraded version of the ubiquitous Raspbery Pi 3 Model B. This update comes just a few weeks after the Raspberry Pi's sixth birthday, and just eight months after the Foundation celebrated it's 14,000,000 unit sold (over 19,000,000 sold as of this publication).

The updated design  packs in new features such as a reconfigured ARM Cortex A53 CPU that now runs at a respectable 1.4GHZ thanks to better cooling provided by an integrated heat spreader (IHS). The Raspberry Pi 3's wireless networking chip has been replaced infavor of the Raspberry Pi Zero W's Dual-Band 802.11ac Wireless LAN chip, and now features Bluetooth 4.2. The board's ethernet hardware has been upgraded as well to gigabit speeds, but end users can expect to see about 300Mbps due to the ethernet still being based on the USB 2.0 hardware.

Raspberry Pi 3B+ Released

The Raspberry Pi 3B+

The board is also now capable of being powered via PoE with the use of an additional official Power Over Ethernet Hat. The new Raspberry Pi 3B+ also features improvements in the PXE network and USB mass-storage booting reliability. With a few other minor updated specifications, the rest of the new Raspberry Pi remains the same as the previous version. The new board still utilizes 40-GPIO pins, Micro SD storage, HDMI, 3.5mm analog audio/video jack, CSI camera interface, DSI LCD interface, and the same 82mm x 56mm x 19.5mm footprint. 


With many companies such as Intel making quick exits from the IoT SBC arena within the last year, it's nice to see that the Raspberry Pi continuing to thrive. I have included exerpts from the official announcement below, and if you would like to learn more about the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ performance gains over previous models, the MagPi has a great article with some interesting benchmark results to check out. 

Raspberry Pi 3B+ Released

The Official Raspberry Pi PoE-HAT. 


Finally, as with any electronic device that features a higher clock speed, and new, more powerful hardware, the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ consumes more power than previous versions. This means that it's more important than ever to use a high-quality 2.5A or higher 5V power supply. I highly recommend picking up the CanaKit 5V 2.5A Raspberry Pi 3 Power Supply from Amazon.com. By doing so you support The Makers Workbench via the Amazon Affiliate Program. 


From The Raspberry Pi Foundation

The following exerpts are from The Raspberry Pi Foundation's announcement of the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.

The new product is built around BCM2837B0, an updated version of the 64-bit Broadcom application processor used in Raspberry Pi 3B, which incorporates power integrity optimisations, and a heat spreader (that’s the shiny metal bit you can see in the photos). Together these allow us to reach higher clock frequencies (or to run at lower voltages to reduce power consumption), and to more accurately monitor and control the temperature of the chip.

Dual-band wireless LAN and Bluetooth are provided by the Cypress CYW43455 “combo” chip, connected to a Proant PCB antenna similar to the one used on Raspberry Pi Zero W. Compared to its predecessor, Raspberry Pi 3B+ delivers somewhat better performance in the 2.4GHz band, and far better performance in the 5GHz band, as demonstrated by these iperf results from LibreELEC developer Milhouse. 

Raspberry Pi 3B+ Released

The wireless circuitry is encapsulated under a metal shield, rather fetchingly embossed with our logo. This has allowed us to certify the entire board as a radio module under FCC rules, which in turn will significantly reduce the cost of conformance testing Raspberry Pi-based products.

Raspberry Pi 3B+ Released

Previous Raspberry Pi devices have used the LAN951x family of chips, which combine a USB hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller. For Raspberry Pi 3B+, Microchip have supported us with an upgraded version, LAN7515, which supports Gigabit Ethernet. While the USB 2.0 connection to the application processor limits the available bandwidth, we still see roughly a threefold increase in throughput compared to Raspberry Pi 3B. 

Raspberry Pi 3B was our first product to support PXE Ethernet boot. Testing it in the wild shook out a number of compatibility issues with particular switches and traffic environments. Gordon has rolled up fixes for all known issues into the BCM2837B0 boot ROM, and PXE boot is now enabled by default.

The improved power integrity of the BCM2837B0 package, and the improved regulation accuracy of our new MaxLinear MxL7704 power management IC, have allowed us to tune our clocking and voltage rules for both better peak performance and longer-duration sustained performance.

Below 70°C, we use the improvements to increase the core frequency to 1.4GHz. Above 70°C, we drop to 1.2GHz, and use the improvements to decrease the core voltage, increasing the period of time before we reach our 80°C thermal throttle; the reduction in power consumption is such that many use cases will never reach the throttle. Like a modern smartphone, we treat the thermal mass of the device as a resource, to be spent carefully with the goal of optimising user experience.

Raspberry Pi 3B+ Released

This graph, courtesy of Gareth Halfacree, demonstrates that Raspberry Pi 3B+ runs faster and at a lower temperature for the duration of an eight‑minute quad‑core Sysbench CPU test.

Note that Raspberry Pi 3B+ does consume substantially more power than its predecessor. We strongly encourage you to use a high-quality 2.5A power supply, such as the official Raspberry Pi Universal Power Supply.

All images used in this post were provided courtesy of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and remain the property of that organization.

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