Video: How to set up your Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, offering a faster CPU and faster wireless throughput than its predecessor, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ comes exactly two years after the launch of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and is in line with Raspberry Pi Foundation's two-year B+ 'evolution' upgrade.
In other words, the changes don't warrant calling it a Raspberry Pi 4, but there are noticeable improvements, including a faster processor, higher Wi-Fi speeds, and faster Ethernet.
Download now: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+: An insider's guide (free PDF)
The Pi 3 Model B+ has a 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core Broadcom Arm Cortex A53-architecture processor compared with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B's 1.2GHz CPU. It doesn't seem like much of a change but it does amount to a 15 percent performance improvement.
It also supports dual-band wireless local-area networks at 2.4GHz and 5GHz, Bluetooth 4.2, and Bluetooth Low Energy.
Raspberry Pi Foundation says the dual-band wireless LAN comes with modular compliance certification, which should make it easier and cheaper to commercially launch products based on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. This move should help cut down on wireless LAN compliance testing.
Otherwise, physically it's identical to the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and Raspberry Pi 2, featuring four USB 2.0 ports, a 40-pin GPIO header, one full-size HDMI port, display and camera ports, and four-pole stereo output and composite video ports.
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The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+'s Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0 offers a maximum throughput of 300Mbps.
TechRepublic's Nick Heath got an early hands-on with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and found in benchmarking tests that it's the fastest Raspberry Pi model available, both in single-core and quad-core measurements.
As Heath notes, the addition of 802.11ac Wi-Fi gives the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ about triple the throughput of the Pi 3 Model B's 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi.
Eben Upton, co-creator of the popular developer board, told TechRepublic that its B+ releases are all about refinement.
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"It's not a Raspberry Pi 4. I think what we've ended up with is something which is a really good B+, a bit too good for a B+, but that would be not really anywhere near enough for a Raspberry Pi 4," said Upton.
"The B+ is our attention-to-detail spin for the product, where we take all the stuff we've learned in the past couple of years and smoosh it all together and make a new thing that addresses some of the concerns, or takes advantage of some of the opportunities that have come along in the intervening time."
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