It’s Pi Day (3.14, if you have your calendar backward like an American) and although somewhat overshadowed by the death of Stephen Hawking on Albert Einstein’s birthday, Raspberry have taken the opportunity to release an upgraded and juicier Raspberry Pi.
Some 19 million of the tidy compact computer board have been sold since it first went on the market in February 2012 and been used for everything from running VPNs to building chicken coops with automatic doors, via many more applications.
The upgrade includes significantly improved connectivity, with wireless circuitry now encapsulated under a metal shield (“rather fetchingly embossed with our logo” as Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton puts it in a blog post announcing the move today).
“This has allowed the Foundation to certify the entire board as a radio module under FCC rules, which in turn will significantly reduce the cost of conformance testing Raspberry Pi-based products,” he added.
The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ features a 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2, along with Faster Ethernet (Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0), Power-over-Ethernet support (with separate PoE HAT), improved PXE network and USB mass-storage booting and improved thermal management.
The release comes around two years after the Pi Foundation released Raspberry Pi 3 Model, its first 64-bit product, and first product to feature integrated wireless connectivity. Since then, the foundation has sold over nine million Raspberry Pi 3 units which have been put to work in schools, homes, offices and factories all over the globe.
Announcing the upgrade in a blog post, XX said: “The new product is built around BCM2837B0, an updated version of the 64-bit Broadcom application processor used in Raspberry Pi 3B, which incorporates power integrity optimisations, and a heat spreader. Together these allow us to reach higher clock frequencies (or to run at lower voltages to reduce power consumption), and to more accurately control the temperature of the chip.
Dual-band wireless LAN and Bluetooth are provided by the Cypress CYW43455 “combo” chip, connected to a Proant PCB antenna similar to the one used on Raspberry Pi Zero W. Compared to its predecessor, Raspberry Pi 3B+ delivers somewhat better performance in the 2.4GHz band, and far better performance in the 5GHz band, as demonstrated by these iperf results from LibreELEC developer Milhouse.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation reinvests profits from sales into educational activity. The upgraded Pi is on sale for $35 (£25).