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Unboxing the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

We got our hands on one of the first Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ boards. Here's what it looks like and how it differs from the previous incarnation (there's one design change that could catch you out!).
By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer
Brand new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
1 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Brand new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

A fresh from the factory Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+! Oh what amazing possibilities lay in its future!

And there it is!
2 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

And there it is!

Very minimalist packaging, even doing away with the anti-static bag.

Tech specs: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
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Tech specs: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

The latest Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ has a faster 64-bit 1.4GHz quad core processor, 1GB of RAM, faster dual-band 802.11 b/g/n/ac wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.2, and significantly faster 300Mbit/s ethernet.

Here are the technical specifications of the new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+:

  • 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU (BCM2837)
  • 1GB RAM (LPDDR2 SDRAM)
  • On-board wireless LAN - dual-band 802.11 b/g/n/ac (CYW43455)
  • On-board Bluetooth 4.2 HS low-energy (BLE) (CYW43455)
  • 4 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 300Mbit/s ethernet
  • 40 GPIO pins
  • Full size HDMI 1.3a port
  • Combined 3.5mm analog audio and composite video jack
  • Camera interface (CSI)
  • Display interface (DSI)
  • microSD slot
  • VideoCore IV multimedia/3D graphics core @ 400MHz/300MHz

With the ARMv8 processor it can run the full range of ARM GNU/Linux distributions, including Snappy Ubuntu Core, as well as Microsoft Windows 10 IoT edition.

​Faster processing
4 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

​Faster processing

The vastly improved thermal characteristics of the Pi 3 B+ means that the CPU can now run at 1.4GHz, which is a 17 percent performance bump compared to the previous Pi 3 model (that modele ran at 1.2GHz).

Video performance on Pi 3 B+ is similar to the previous generation Pi 3, the VideoCore being clocked at 400MHz for video processing and the 3D graphics processor running at 300MHz.

​Faster wireless
5 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

​Faster wireless

A big change to the Pi 3 B+ compared to the previous model is the addition of a new faster, dual-band wireless chip (CYW43455) with 802.11 b/g/n/ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2.

The dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless LAN enables faster networking with less interference, and the new PCB antenna allows for better connectivity.

​Faster ethernet
6 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

​Faster ethernet

The Pi 3 B+ has significantly upgraded wired networking, thanks to an upgraded USB/LAN chip, and you should see speeds that are 3-5x faster than on previous models.

Closeup of the processors
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Closeup of the processors

Where the magic happens.

One change to be aware of!
8 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

One change to be aware of!

Here's one design change to be aware of -- the addition of PoE (Power over Ethernet) pins. While these shouldn't cause problems in most scenarios, they could short-circuit against HATs or possibly cause fitment issues in some builds.

Cover them in tape, use stand-offs, or at worst, just snip them off.

A look at the back of the board
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A look at the back of the board

Closeup of the RAM chip
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Closeup of the RAM chip

An Elpida EDB8132B4PB-8D-F LPDDR2 chip.

To the casual eye, it looks much like its predecessor
11 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

To the casual eye, it looks much like its predecessor

New and old, compared
12 of 12 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

New and old, compared

The new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is the on at the bottom, with a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B on the top.

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