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Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Released for $35

Raspberry Pi 3 has received a "plus" treatment, coming with a faster CPU, Wi-Fi and Ethernet, and it is already available for $35.

The upgraded device is featuring:

  • A 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU
  • Dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2
    Faster Ethernet (Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0)
    Power-over-Ethernet support (with separate PoE HAT)
    Improved PXE network and USB mass-storage booting
    Improved thermal management

Alongside a 200MHz increase in peak CPU clock frequency, the new Raspberry Pi 3 B+ board has roughly three times the wired and wireless network throughput, and the ability to sustain high performance for much longer periods.

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 monitor and 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.

The wireless circuitry is encapsulated under a metal shield. This has allowed for the certification of the entire board as a radio module under FCC rules.

Previous Raspberry Pi devices have used the LAN951x family of chips, which combine a USB hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller. In Raspberry Pi 3B+, you find an upgraded version, Microchip LAN7515, which supports Gigabit Ethernet. While the USB 2.0 connection to the application processor limits the available bandwidth, you wil still see roughly a threefold increase in throughput compared to Raspberry Pi 3B.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ uses a magjack that supports Power over Ethernet (PoE), and brinsg the relevant signals to a new 4-pin header. But a PoE HAT which can generate the 5V necessary to power the Raspberry Pi from the 48V PoE supply will be soon launched.

The improved power integrity of the BCM2837B0 package, and the improved regulation accuracy of the new MaxLinear MxL7704 power management IC, has allowed engineers to tune the clocking and voltage rules for both better peak performance and longer-duration sustained performance.

Below 70C, these improvements are used to increase the core frequency to 1.4GHz. Above 70C, the CPU frequency drops to 1.2GHz, and the improvements are used to decrease the core voltage, increasing the period of time before the 80C thermal throttle is reached; the reduction in power consumption is such that many use cases will never reach the throttle.

Note that Raspberry Pi 3B+ does consumes substantially more power than its predecessor.

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