Raspberry Pi 3 rolls out with faster CPU, on-board Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth

No readers like this yet.
Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi Foundation. CC BY-SA 4.0

The original Raspberry Pi went on sale four years ago, and more than 8,000,000 units have shipped since then. Raspberry Pi computers are used in schools and universities, in factories and other industrial applications, in home automation and hobby projects, and much more.

Today the Raspberry Pi 3 was announced, featuring a 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU clocked at 1.2GHz, making it roughly 10x the speed of the original Pi 1. Many people will be pleased to hear that the Raspberry Pi 3 also features on-board Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, greatly improving the device's connectivity. The new device goes on sale today at the usual price of US $35.

What's new?

The Raspberry Pi 3 comes with 802.11n wireless LAN, so connecting to your home network to get your Pi online is easy. The Raspberry Pi 3 also has Bluetooth 4.1 and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), so you can connect a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. The addition of these wireless technologies means you don't need to buy extra USB dongles and use up any of the USB ports and avoid using a hub.

Raspberry Pi Foundation. CC BY-SA 4.0

The Pi 3 boots in a matter of seconds, an improvement even on the Pi 2, which was much faster than Pi 1. Once you're at the desktop, the Pi 3 is noticeably slicker and applications like the web browser respond more like you'd expect from a modern PC than ever before.

A small but handy change is the microSD card slot, which was previously a push-push mechanism, is now push-pull (like on the Pi Zero). This means you can't accidentally pop it out while adjusting your cables.

Raspberry Pi 3 top view

Raspberry Pi Foundation. CC BY-SA 4.0

Get started

You can buy the new Pi right now from distributors around the world. You'll need a recent Raspbian or NOOBS image on a microSD card, which you can download from the Raspberry Pi website. Alternatively, there are a whole host of Linux distributions, and specific images for various applications—from media centres to retro gaming platforms.

Check out the Raspberry Pi learning resources for some great projects.

Timeline of devices

  • February 2012: Raspberry Pi Model B
  • October 2012: Raspberry Pi Model B rev2
  • February 2013: Raspberry Pi Model A
  • May 2013: Camera module
  • October 2013: Infra-red Camera module
  • July 2014: Raspberry Pi Model B+
  • November 2014: Raspberry Pi Model A+
  • April 2014: Raspberry Pi Compute Module
  • February 2015: Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
  • August 2015: Raspberry Pi Sense HAT
  • November 2015: Raspberry Pi Zero
  • February 2016: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

What's next?

There's room in the family of Raspberry Pi boards for a Pi 3 Model A, and a new compute module with the Pi 3 chip. These products are expected later in the year. The Pi 3 Model A will take the form factor of the existing Model A+ from 2014, which is available now for US$ 20. Because the Pi's camera module accessory's sensor has reached EOL, an upgraded camera board will be released. There's no firm date, but that's also expected in 2016.

The Pi Zero shocked the world when it landed in November—a tiny $5 computer, but its production run has been limited (in no small part due to the introduction of Pi 3). But Pi Zero manufacturing will be continued and more stock will make its way to distributors in due course. However, the flagship device has always been the current Model B of the time, as it includes the most connectivity and stands up best as a general purpose PC.

User profile image.
Ben is a software engineer for BBC News Labs, and formerly Raspberry Pi's Community Manager. He's into Linux, Python and all things open source! Follow Ben on Twitter @ben_nuttall.


Actually "The Pi Zero shocked the world" by rpi foundation advertising an item that cannot be bought due to very low production batches (when compared to demand).

5$ price is also a joke because resellers add things like cables, sd cards making a price go high as 20$ etc. Or they limit to 1piece/buy and add expensive shipping.

5$ looks good only on a paper.

So pi zero brought a lot of negativity/evil :/

Have a read of the latest update on Pi Zero production from Eben, in which he states that the usual distributors are not manufacturing the Zero and that the Foundation are putting up the money for it.


Our distributors are billion dollar companies who have the capital to order Raspberry Pi in huge numbers. We are a small charity who do not have lots of cashflow available. We've just ordered 150,000 units of Zero and they'll be distributed to suppliers shortly.

In reply to by abc (not verified)

This doesn't change the fact that the Zero generally isn't available and when it is, the price is jacked up by accessories we don't need or crazy shipping and handling fees.

I can announce a $1 computer available for $99 shipping & handling with a production of 1 a month. Doesn't change the world, just makes me dishonest.

Don't get me wrong, I like the Pi Zero (I have one, that I paid $20 for) but the hype did not match reality.

In reply to by ben_nuttall

Does the RPI3 have gigabit ethernet, or it is still 100Mbps?

Ben, thanks for this excellent article!

A question if I may: is there an eSata daughterboard for these babies? I haven't stumbled on one for the earlier Pi.

My Pi 3 + Power supply arrived first thing Friday in Sydney from RS (free shipping). We were about to set off for Canberra to attend a wedding, so I only got around to getting my hands on it today. Loaded latest Raspbian, plugged HDMI, power, and keyboard/mouse dongle, and applied power. Boots in no time. Minimal config required to get up and running including wi-fi.
This is a much more polished system than the Pi 2 B.

abc is too negative about the Pi nano. The fact that the cables cost much more than the nano makes it all the more remarkable.

AS Explained by the Foundation. The Pi Zero has no margin so they pay for them out of their pockets and produce them. And they are exceptionally stingy sending PO's for what they know they can sell. It is not RS or MCM that make them. So they drop a PO on Sony very slowly leading to what one can say is profit taking by distributors since they cannot make money on the $5.

Eventually everyone will learn that one should prototype on a A+ and go to production with the $5 Zero. I will not buy more than one unless I can figure out what to do with it to make money. Best uses so far I have seen is the compute modules made using the USB OTG port. The best cable I saw so far is the IO Gear OTG hub with sd card from IOGEAR for Android / Samsung phones works perfectly! ($12) Think of the Zero as a $5 cell phone compute replacement.

Does the WIFI and bluetooth require proprietary binary blobs?

Is it true that Pi-3 is too warm?

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.