The cheapest microcomputer in the market “Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+”: Hands-on Review

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The cheapest microcomputer in the market is receiving an update for the Pi day. The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s made compute platform has become something of a phenomenon and nearly 18 million units have been sold since the first Pi was released in 2012. Recently the company released a new version of of its mini PC: the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is a slight improvement over the last flagship including a faster processor higher WiFi speeds and faster Ethernet. This all makes B+ the most efficient and capable Pi yet, it has the same form factor and dimensions as the Pi 2 B and Pi 3 B. The device comes with a new official Raspbian operating system installed which makes the user experience noticeably fast and smooth.

  • Specifications:

The Raspberry Pi has never been a processing powerhouse, it is designed to work efficiently at a cheap price. The new board is powered by Broadcom-manufactured low power ARM chip; it is a Quad Core 64-bit Cortex A53 CPU clocked at 1.4 GHz and has a  new head spreader that keeps the chip cooler. You get 1 Gigs of LPDDR2 SDRAM which is enough for this platform.

The connectivity has also been upgraded with dual band 2.4/5GHz 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2, up from 2.4GHz and Bluetooth 4.1. On top of the Wi-Fi upgrade, the wired internet also has a speed bump thanks to the new  Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0 bridge, but the actual Ethernet controller is only USB 2, so the maximum throughout is limited to about 300Mb/s. Other connection ports are the same; you get a 40 pin GPIO connector, camera and touchscreen ports, an HDMI video output, four USB 2.0 ports, stereo/composite video, a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. You also get Power over Ethernet (PoE) via HAT add-on boards that connect to a new four-pin connector. The company is planning to launch the PoE HAT soon that generates the necessary 5V power from the 48V PoE supply.

  • Performance:

The upgraded processor helps to boost up the performance to 15%, the browsing experience and switching between windows is very responsive and there isn’t any noticeable lag. Of course, don’t expect this machine to run heavy video and photo editing apps. It is only designed to perform day-to-day tasks like web surfing, checking emails etc.

Here is a general representation of CPU performance showing single-core and multi-core performance.

Image By Tech Republic

The WiFi connection is also great thanks to the upgraded chip and is now capable of 100 Mb/s transfer rate which is more than double than its predecessor. The iPerf benchmark shows the speed of data transfer between the two computers.

Image By Tech Republic

 

  • Final Verdict:

Overall the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is a really impressive microcomputer that performs really great considering its price. You can even gift it to your kids which will help them to learn basic coding. It is available in market for only about $35 which is the fraction of a price of a normal budget computer.

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