It’s been a few years since hobbyists first got their taste of digital pie, with the tiny “e”-less computer appearing for below $50. This year, Pi gets better while keeping the low price tag and size.
Students and computer enthusiasts are about to add a new gadget to their early Christmas wishlist, or even just search online for any place that has one in stock, as Raspberry Pi has updated its pint-sized computer to bring a little more power to one of the world’s smallest computers.
In case you haven’t seen one before, Raspberry Pi is basically a credit card-sized computer designed for people keen to experiment with making their own platform or just learn more about programming and computers.
They’re not really comparable to computers you normally use for school or work, with a low-end spec made for hobbies or more unusual computer situations, such as turning one into a video game system or a smart mirror.
Because the Raspberry Pi is inexpensive, however, it does make a great entrance for anyone curious about programming or platform building, and this week, Pi has gotten even better with a new version being released.
Now called Raspberry Pi 3, it’s essentially the third major revision of the tiny computer, though there have easily been more than three versions thus far.
Despite the number of evolutions being a little different than the naming convention, the big news here is that the Pi 3 relies on a faster quad-core processor than the Pi 2 featured which is not only faster, but also a 64-bit processor, offering a little more grunt than the 32-bit processor the Pi 2 relied on.
This means the Pi 3 can technically get more done when 64-bit programming is brought in, which should be coming in the not-too-distant future.
Wireless functionality is also part of the package, a first for Raspberry Pi since you’ve previously had to go looking for wireless dongles if you wanted WiFi or Bluetooth. In fact, you’ll find 802.11n support for WiFi and Bluetooth built into the tiny form-factor, though an Ethernet port is still here if you want to keep things hard wired.
Most of the other connections stay the same, with four USB 2.0 ports, a 3.5mm headset jack, a lone HDMI port, a microSD slot for storing the software and operating system, and the microUSB power connector, which is how the Raspberry Pi gets its power.
Raspberry Pi does recommend using a slightly higher voltage version of the power brick for the Pi 3, with at least 2.5A recommended for the 5V charging blocks, which is pretty much the same style you might use for charging a tablet, instead of the 1A 5V blocks used for most phones.
As for performance increase, the folks at Raspberry Pi expect this new generation will have at least a 50 to 60 percent increase in the 32-bit operation on the new version, which is handy since it will support the older 32-bit Raspberry Pi software and operating systems.
That’s intentional, too, since there are over eight million Pi units out there, and Raspberry Pi no doubt wants more, which is why it’s keeping the price the same, with the computer fetching a $35 USD tag.
You’ll find this in hobbyist stores online as well as electronics parts stores shortly.