The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced a new Raspberry Pi model. The Model 3 B+ has a new 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU, with dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN, a faster Ethernet offering, and optional Power-over-Ethernet. If you’re not using PoE, a 2.5A micro USB power supply is required.
The improvements of the Pi 3 B+ over the Pi 3 B are incremental, and should be welcomed by both industrial and hobbyist users of the device. The numbering suggests that this is not a redesigned “Pi 4”, but rather a series of smaller changes that get a few more years of life out of the design.
The system is backwards compatible with previous Pi designs, with one small change. The Power over Ethernet header, a new four-pin connector, is tall enough that it might require changes to case designs and some HATs that will not have enough clearance for the new pins.
A Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.4GHz is at the heart of the new Model 3 B+. The main changes in this new chip over the older BCM2837 have to do with heat dissipation and power management. The new chip comes in a metal container with a built-in heat spreader, allowing for more stability under high loads before thermal throttling sets in.
One consideration for the new design is that it is more power-hungry than previous versions, requiring a 2.5A 5V power supply or the new as-yet unreleased PoE HAT.
The new Pi 3 B+ comes with two new networking chips. The wired networking is upgraded to a Microchip LAN7515 USB 2.0 to Gigabit Ethernet bridge, and the new wireless chip is based on a Cypress CYW43455 module with BLE, 2.4Ghz, and new 5Ghz wifi.
The new wired Gigabit Ethernet is not promised to provide full-speed GigE rates; though it’s compatible with GigE, the top speed clocks out somewhere around 300 megabits because of the limitations of the USB 2.0 design. Still, this is about triple what the Pi 3 B is capable of, a welcome upgrade.
The new wifi module expands access to the 5Ghz wifi band, which is both faster and less congested in most deployments. Test numbers released show about double the throughput on wifi using the new band.
The one new connector on the Model 3 B+ is a new 4-pin Power over Ethernet connector, designed for use with a new HAT board that will have a power transformer and fan. We’re still waiting to see the design for both sides of that board, which has only been pictured fan-side up.
PoE is an important feature for dense network designs, allowing the computer to be powered and connected to the network through a single set of wires.
Previous designs (like the Kickstarter backed Pi Supply “Pi PoE Switch HAT”) have done this before, but the new design takes advantage of the new connector, making it even compact than the original effort.
Microsoft MVP Lance McCarthy goes through the steps of getting a new Windows 10 on Arm system up and running. This walk-through identifies how to set up your device to develop and debug applications on the new operating system. As with any new system there are a few things about it that are new and not obvious, and Lance does a good job with screen captures to point out the places where a day one developer will need to pay attention.
I will say this: I am very impressed, it’s just Windows 10 and I really wouldn’t be able to tell it was on ARM until I realized that it’s been 2 weeks since I last charged it!
Daniel (imbusho) provides a technical breakdown of running Windows 10 on Arm on a device it’s not designed for. He uses a DragonBoard 410c, and implements EDK2/TianoCore to get a UEFI boot environment. There’s a lot of detail here, enough to get a start on it if you are a firmware developer familiar with the kernel, but not something aimed at an end user.
The warning is instructive:
Disclaimer: From a customer’s perspective, you might not be interested in this article.
Ampere Computing will be at booth A32 at this year’s Open Computing Platform Summit with their first public demonstrations of the Ampere eMAG processors. The event will include technical demos of Ampere eMAG in action including live performance and value proposition of Apache Cassandra on the Ampere eMAG processor and additional demos with partners.
The 2018 Open Compute Project (OCP) US Summit will be held March 20 – 21 at the San Jose Convention Center.
The US Government has nixed Broadcom’s proposed acquisition of Qualcomm on national security considerations. The $117 billion deal was fiercely fought by Qualcomm, which wanted to stay independent to protect its extensive R&D efforts.