Raspberry Pi 3 Review

Raspberry Pi 3 Review

March 30, 2016 16:28 EST • Alexandre Vallières-Lagacé • 3 minutes read

The Raspberry Pi foundation just released a new model of its top of the line 35$ computer the Raspberry Pi. This time, adeptly named Raspberry Pi 3 gains a few new features and has performance jumps that will be very appreciated.

If we go back in time, the Raspberry Pi Model B+ got a design refresh and then the Raspberry Pi 2 kept the same design and increase the memory and CPU power. This time, again, same design but with a newer CPU and, finally, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are built-in! No more little dongles!

Design

The design is exactly the same as two previous iterations, you can take a look at the gallery below, they are really hard to differentiate without looking at the board itself.

Raspberry Pi 3

We still have the 4 USB ports, HDMI port and GPIO pins as before so your cases will fit without any issue.

Since the very first Pi in February 2012, 8 million RPi have been sold, and out of those 3 million were Raspberry Pi 2 devices just launched February 2015! We now have a fourth generation that will most likely sell even more units thanks to the new on-board wireless capabilities that makes it easier than ever (and cheaper) to get a complete computer experience!

Raspberry Pi 3

I’m sure tinkerers will also love the reliability of a Broadcom BCM43438 wireless combo chip instead of cheap USB dongles.

We have tested the Budget Kit available at BuyAPi.ca for 69.95$CA at the moment of writing these lines. It comes with a HighPi case, a 2A power supply and two aluminum heat sinks.

Features

  • 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU
  • System on a chip Broadcom BCM2837
  • 1GB LPDDR2 (900 MHz) memory
  • 10/100 Ethernet, 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.1 Classic, Bluetooth Low Energy
  • Same port as previous generation

The Bluetooth chip used even has Low Energy so you can power your RPi and make it a smart device even easier than before without increasing its power consumption too much.

If the previous models needed just under 400 mA, the RPi 3 needs a bit more power just under 600 mA, so if you have a resource intensive processing, you might need a more powerful power source.

Performance

Here comes the fun part! I have run the usual benchmarks on the new Raspberry Pi 3, the exact same I ran on the Pi 2 I tested last year on Blogue de Geek.

Raspberry Pi 3

Here are the results:

Test Pi B+ Pi 2 Pi 3
CPU 1 thread 502s 296s 182s
CPU 4 threads 503s 74s 45s
Memory 1GB 2.85s 0.94s 0.54s
Memory 3GB 8.55s 2.70s 1.01s
File I/O (write) 39.3s 24.3s 31.65s
File I/O (read) 0.8s 0.2s 0.08s

Both the 1 thread and 4 thread benchmark are much faster, almost twice as powerful as the previous generation! More precisely, 40% faster!

Memory reading and writing is also faster thanks to the CPU having a faster access to the memory.

The File I/O differences seem to be off in my tests, probably because I did not use the same microSD card as last time. You can disregard these numbers as they are linked to the model and specs of your card more than the Pi itself.

Raspberri Pi 3 vs Older Genrations

Conclusion

The Raspberry Pi 3 is a welcome new product that will make the setup and access to a full-fledge compact computer easier than ever. The performance boost actually makes the Pi usable as a desktop computer for the very first time without waiting constantly for the input to be processed.

Review Summary

Raspberry Pi 3Raspberry Pi Foundation
Raspberry Pi 3

Fourth generation Raspberry Pi with wireless (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) capabilities and a faster CPU.

Raspberry Pi 3 Budget Kit
Raspberry Pi 3 Basic Kit

The Good Stuff
  • Wireless capabilities
  • 40% faster CPU
  • Same design as Model B+ and Pi 2
The Bad Stuff
  • Power requirements increased
The Ratings
Design
90%
Features
90%
Performance
90%
Knowledge Available
100%
Price
100%
Overall: 92%
Disclaimers: This product or service was purchased for the purpose of this review.
For more information on how we score products, please read how we review products.
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