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A Guide to the Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi

Not all third comings in this world are necessarily welcome - for every Return of the Jedi, there's a Jurassic Park III, and don't even get us started on Superman III. Was, therefore, the release earlier this year of Raspberry Pi 3 a cause for trepidation or celebration?

By our reckoning, it was definitely the latter. While the latest version of the increasingly legendary single-board computer certainly represents an evolution rather than revolution, that is likely to suit the credit card-sized wonder's legions of fans just fine.

What has - and hasn't - changed?

If you are purchasing a Raspberry Pi 3 as a replacement for the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, much remains the same in the 'new' version of the board. Not only is the form factor identical to its predecessor and the Pi 1 Model B+, it also boasts the same 1GB RAM, 4 USB ports, 40 GPIO pins and a full HDMI port.

The Ethernet port, camera interface (CSI), display interface (DSI) and VideoCore IV 3D graphics core are also much as they were, while the micro SD card slot has only changed in the sense of becoming a push-pull one instead of a push-push one.

There are, however, some more significant specification changes, including an upgrade from the Pi 2 Model B's 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU to a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU, while version three is also the first Pi to boast built-in wireless capability.

Changes that are more than skin-deep

Visually, you would probably struggle to distinguish the Pi 3 from the Pi 2 unless you were already aware of such changes as the relocation of the status LEDs and the introduction to the board's underside of a new chip - namely the BCM43438, which is responsible for the Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth and the fact that USB dongles are no longer required.

The Pi's wireless communications capability is a particularly important development, signalling the readiness of the board for the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) era. Simply update your Raspbian image to the most recent version to take advantage of the refinements required for the Pi 3, such as the new firmware that allows you to run the computer at full capacity.

Reviews of the upgraded computer could hardly have been more positive, with The Inquirer's Daniel Robinson declaring that "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." Meanwhile, Les Pounder of TechRadar hailed it as "a remarkable piece of technology" that "builds upon a rich community of support and maintains a level of backwards compatibility to boards and projects created for earlier models of Pi to be used."

Still an incredible bit of tech third time around

With the whole purpose of Raspberry Pi being to provide a well-supported and inexpensive platform for all manner of experiments and inventions, the Pi 3 certainly represents a befitting latest chapter of the story of this amazing bit of tech.

Remember that whatever you require when it comes to all things Raspberry Pi - from accessories and displays to prototyping products - you will find it in our dedicated Raspberry Pi range right here at Makersify. So, don't hesitate to take advantage of our extensive product choice, competitive pricing and swift delivery to your address by placing an order today.

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