Pi Day is observed every year on March 14, celebrated in a variety of ways around the world ranging from eating a pie to discussing the significance of the number π; the Raspberry Pi Foundation is celebrating this day by releasing a new model of the Raspberry Pi: The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.
An upgrade to the Raspberry Pi is not seen often, and when there is an upgrade it’s usually a minor one. This one is no exception – it’s clearly an upgrade over the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B that was introduced in 2016, but it’s just a slightly faster and better version of it.
The Model B+ uses the same Broadcom processor as the Model B, but in a new package, allowing it to be clocked at a slightly higher 1.4Ghz, compared to the 1.2Ghz on the previous model. It also comes with Bluetooth 4.2, an upgrade over the Bluetooth 4.1 present on Model B, and support for 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz dual-band WiFi.
There’s also an upgrade for the Ethernet – it’s now Gigabit, except not quite. It’s still sharing the USB 2.0 bus, meaning that while the Ethernet could achieve Gigabit speed, its bandwidth is still limited. Therefore, the maximum throughput achievable is about 300Mbps, three times better than the approximately 100Mbps achievable with the Model B.
Lastly – and perhaps most importantly –, the Model B+ now comes with support for Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). This will allow DIY enthusiasts to deploy the Model B+ anywhere an Ethernet cable can reach it, without worrying about having a power plug in its vicinity. The Raspberry Pi Foundation intends to “shortly launch” a PoE HAT that would convert the 48V PoE supply to 5V, that is needed to power the Raspberry Pi.
As said earlier, this is a minor upgrade introducing some quality-of-life improvements: a slightly faster processor, support for 5GHz WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, and a slightly faster Ethernet with PoE support.
Yet, with all these improvements, the price remains the same $35. In its announcement, the Foundation states that it has no intention to discontinue older models “as long as there’s demand” as there are “a lot of industrial customers who will want to stick with the existing products for the time being.” Therefore, the Raspberry Pi 1 B+ will continue to sell at $25, while the 2 B and 3 B continue at $35.
The folks over at the Foundation also mentioned that the $20 Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+ is being considered for replacement by a new Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+, but no timeline was given. Something for the next year, perhaps?
Source: Raspberry Pi Foundation Blog