How to Decide If You Need the New Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Model
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Always fancied a Raspberry Pi, but haven’t quite got around to it? Or want to upgrade to the latest model? The release of the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is the perfect time to jump aboard, and here’s everything you need to know about it.

What’s the Deal With the Raspberry Pi 3 B+?

Released on March 14, 2018 (Pi Day), the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is the first revision of the Raspberry Pi 3, initially released in 2016. (Two versions of the Raspberry Pi Zero, the W and the WH, have been released since.)

As with previous models, the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is incredibly affordable.

Offering improved system specs (see below) and additional features, the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is a must have for enthusiasts.

Shipped alone, the device comes with a short setup guide. All other accessories will need to be bought separately, however, which may increase your outlay What Is The True Cost Of Running a Raspberry Pi? What Is The True Cost Of Running a Raspberry Pi? The Raspberry Pi - a small, compact and versatile computer, capable of processing HDMI and MPEG-2 being the central component of any number of weekend projects from retro gaming stations and media centres to smart... Read More .

Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Specifications

If you’re considering upgrading to a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (or simply fancy one for more Pi-flavored tinkering), it will probably be because of the improved hardware specification.

raspberry pi 3 b+ everything you need to know

This time around, the ARMv8-A 64-bit architecture uses a BCM2837B0 SoC (System on a Chip). At the heart of this is a 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, with a GPU and 1GB of RAM.

Most other hardware is the same as the previous Raspberry Pi 3 The Raspberry Pi 3: Faster, Better, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth The Raspberry Pi 3: Faster, Better, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Today, the Raspberry Pi foundation announced the release of the Raspberry Pi 3. It's the most significant update to the popular line of low-cost computers yet. Read More , but there are some interesting differences. For instance, the dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2 is faster than the previous model.

With faster Ethernet too, wireless and wired network throughput has been increased by around three times. That is pretty impressive. However, keep in mind that all devices connected via USB (including the Ethernet) will share the single port USB bus, limited to a total of 480Mbps.

raspberry pi 3 b+ everything you need to know

Under the hood, there is also improved PXE network booting, while anyone using a USB mass storage device How to Make Raspberry Pi 3 Boot From USB How to Make Raspberry Pi 3 Boot From USB The Raspberry Pi is a versatile piece of kit, capable of a diverse range of tasks. But it has one glaring flaw: the inability to boot from USB. Until now, that is. Read More will also benefit from better booting. The Pi 3 B+ also boasts improved thermal management, which should offer some new overclocking possibilities. Heatsinks and other cooling 5 Cool Ways to Keep Your Overclocked Raspberry Pi 3 Chilled 5 Cool Ways to Keep Your Overclocked Raspberry Pi 3 Chilled With all the cool stuff you can do with a Raspberry Pi, it's no surprise they can get a bit hot. Here are the best ways to cool them down. Read More will no doubt be required!

Finally, improved PMIC (Power Management IC) improves dynamic voltage scaling, giving the Pi 3 B+ better data and performance control.

First Impressions of the Raspberry Pi 3 B+

Several subtle changes have been made to the Raspberry Pi 3 B+. Most obvious is the heat spreader atop of the SoC, which resembles a small Pentium 4 (or later) CPU. While a heat spreader can be used with heatsink, they’re typically used alongside a system fan.

raspberry pi 3 b+ everything you need to know

You’ll probably also notice the metal shield that sits around the improved Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip. The reason? Well, it’s been embossed with a Raspberry Pi logo, which we think you’ll agree looks rather fetching.

Also, look out for the new Power over Ethernet (PoE) four pin connector, between the GPIO and USB ports. The purpose of this is to provide power to the Pi (alongside data) from a special Ethernet cable. A new HAT will be available to adapt the 48V from a PoE supply to a more suitable 5V for the Raspberry Pi.

Initial impressions of the Pi 3 B+ are good. So far I’ve only been able to run existing projects rather than start something new. However, it certainly feels faster, especially when accessing over VNC and RDP How to Run a Remote Desktop on Raspberry Pi with VNC How to Run a Remote Desktop on Raspberry Pi with VNC What if you need access to the Raspberry Pi desktop from your PC or laptop, without having to plug in a keyboard, mouse and monitor? This is where VNC comes in. Read More .

Raspberry Pi 3 B+’s Compatibility With Accessories

Some previous Raspberry Pi upgrades have resulted in compatibility issues, mainly with cases and power supplies. This time around, it looks as though some effort has been made to maintain the previous form factor insofar as USB and other ports are concerned. I’ve successfully installed my own Pi 3 B+ into a case intended for the Pi 3, so this is good news.

raspberry pi 3 b+ everything you need to know

As with any Raspberry Pi, you should ensure that you are using a suitable microSD card. These flash memory devices get a lot of punishment from the read/write cycles, so ensuring you have one that is fast, and with good error correction software, is important. Check out our guide for buying the right SD card for details.

Similarly, the right power supply is crucial to your Raspberry Pi’s performance. While many are available, it’s hard not to recommend the official power supply. For reliability, these are perfect.

Upgraded Raspbian Stretch

As a result of this new version of the Raspberry Pi being released, the default operating system, Raspbian Stretch, has also been upgraded. While older Pi models don’t necessarily need this upgrade, it is useful if you’re using an unusual display.

The Appearance Settings screen in Preferences has been revised to offer three sets of defaults, for large, medium, and small screens. This should make it easier to read dialogue boxes and other text on any display. And if this is still a problem, the Pixel Doubling feature (Raspberry Pi Configuration > System) can be used as well. This is particularly useful on extremely high resolution devices such as the MacBook Pro’s Retina display.

Improve Your Existing Projects

More processing power means wider support for the needs of your projects. A wider choice of emulation software becomes available, for instance. Kodi distributions How to Choose the Best Version of Kodi for Raspberry Pi How to Choose the Best Version of Kodi for Raspberry Pi Not sure how to get started with Kodi for Raspberry Pi? Here are your best options for an awesome home media center. Read More will process video streams quicker. Raspberry Pi’s used in robotics processes, or for programming, will boast superior speeds.

Been using your Raspberry Pi as a game server 10 Game Servers You Can Run on a Raspberry Pi 10 Game Servers You Can Run on a Raspberry Pi The Raspberry Pi can do many wonderful things, one of which is run as a game server. We show you 10 of the best games it can host. Read More ? The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ can offer superior performance for your online games, such as Minecraft How to Set Up a Minecraft Server on Your Raspberry Pi How to Set Up a Minecraft Server on Your Raspberry Pi A guide to setting up a Minecraft server on a Raspberry Pi. Read More .

Now, there will be some projects that don’t benefit particularly. An FM radio antenna, however, won’t gain any notable boosts; the same can be said for basic photo frame projects. On the other hand, the improved hardware specs will enhance “magic mirror” projects The 6 Best Raspberry Pi Smart Mirror Projects You Can Make The 6 Best Raspberry Pi Smart Mirror Projects You Can Make These Raspberry Pi smart mirrors can tell you the time, date, weather, remind you of upcoming appointments, and more. Read More .

What About the Other Raspberry Pis?

As far as we know, the other Pi models are continuing production. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has stated that it will “keep building these models for as long as there’s demand,” noting the importance of the models for industrial customers.

raspberry pi 3 b+ everything you need to know

The Raspberry Pi 1 A+, Raspberry Pi 1 B+, Raspberry Pi 2 B, Raspberry Pi 3B, and Raspberry Pi Zero models will be available for some time yet!

Raspberry Pi 3 B+: Superb and Worth the Upgrade

With its improved hardware spec and potential for enhancing existing projects, the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is superb. In short, unless you’re looking for a smaller, lighter computer (in which case you want a Raspberry Pi Zero), the new Pi 3 B+ is the place to begin.

Just look at the potential as a desktop replacement/thin client, Kodi box, and retro gaming device! With a new version of Raspbian to accompany the new computer, the Raspberry Pi marches on. Want to get started with your Raspberry Pi 3 B+? Check our unofficial Raspberry Pi manual Raspberry Pi: The Unofficial Tutorial Raspberry Pi: The Unofficial Tutorial Whether you're a current Pi owner who wants to learn more or a potential owner of this credit-card size device, this isn't a guide you want to miss. Read More .

Image Credit: Raspberry Pi Foundation

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  1. Raspberry Piman
    May 11, 2018 at 2:33 am

    If you already have a pi2 or pi3, I wouldn't bother getting this. You won't notice any difference in performance at all as the extra performance is minimal. There's still no RAM upgrade (this was the most important thing this model needed) so the new Pi is a disappointment to say the least. Plus, this model of Pi does not use Jessie, so the current RetroPie image you have or the one you have downloaded WILL NOT work, you will just get the rainbow screen and that's it. Get a Pi3 instead.

    • Joseph Spenner
      January 26, 2019 at 6:45 pm

      Yes, I have noticed this and as a result returned it. I needed backups for my existing Pi 3b. I tried putting the SD from my 3b into the 3b+ and just got rainbow screen.

  2. Andrew
    May 5, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    Still no 4K output? Pass.

  3. Arun Tom
    March 21, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    I have Implemented Smart mirror that can control other smart devices with google assistant API, it works perfect.