Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Board Features a 64-Bit ARM Processor, Adds WiFi and Bluetooth Connectivity

Orange Pi Development Boards

The Raspberry Pi foundation is working on yet another model of the popular Raspberry Pi boards, as the Raspberry Pi 3 model B board has showed up on the FCC website. The new board looks very similar to Raspberry Pi 2 model B, but adds on-board WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz only) and Bluetooth 4.0. Let’s play “spot the difference” with Raspberry Pi 2 at the top and Raspberry Pi 3 under.

Raspberry-Pi_3_vs_Raspberry-Pi_2
Raspberry Pi 2 (Top) vs Raspberry Pi 3 (Bottom)

The processor looks the same as the BCM2836 quad core Cortex A7 SoC found on model 2 B, but one redditer claims it could be a 64-bit processor due to some MagPi ad. [Update: that’s the MagPi ad which confirms Raspberry Pi 3 will feature a 64-bit ARM processor @ 1.2 GHz. Thanks Gabe!

Raspberry_Pi_3_64-Bit_ARM]

We’ll find the WiFi/BT chip antenna on the top left corner, and two through holes on the right of the 40-pin connectors, likely the RUN header for reset that can be found on the RPi2 where the chip antenna is now placed on RPi 3. So the through holes are not new, they’ve just moved it. All connectors have the exact same placement between the two versions. Let’s check out the other side of the board.

Raspberry-Pi_3_vs_Raspberry-Pi_2_WiFi_Module
Raspberry Pi 2 (Top) vs Raspberry Pi 3 (Bottom)

The wireless module (likely Broadcom based) can be found just above the micro SD slot, and J5 connector is soldered. J5 is the JTAG connector, so it will probably not be soldered with the version that ships. The picture is not very clear but it looks like they’ve used the same Elpida B8132B4PB-8D-F RAM chip (1GB) as on Raspberry Pi 2. So although we can’t be 100% certain right now, the RAM appears to be the same, and the processor is still connected to a similar USB to Ethernet chip, so they’ve probably kept the same architecture, expect possibly for the CPU core. So the only major changes on Raspberry Pi 3 appears to be built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, and  64-bit ARM cores (likely Cortex A53).

Via Liliputing and HackerNews

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Johnny
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Johnny

Still Broadcom? So likely still terrible media drivers? I think I’ll pass and look elsewhere.

Member

@Johnny
Of course it’s using Broadcom chips. Most of the RPi Foundation people are current or former employees of Broadcom. It’s practically a branch of the company. And they certainly get a discount on the chips.

tkraspi
Guest

Maybe if add NAND unit and up memory speed to 2GB, it will be THE ROCK BOARD 😉

boudyka
Guest
boudyka

Gigabit ethernet and usb 3.0 and bit of rendering oomph would change the universe at 70 quid I’m in 🙂

Ali
Guest
Ali

For some reason, there seems to be more resistors towards the top of the CPU on the RPi3, between the CPU and the Raspberry Pi logo. Could hint at at different CPU being used ?

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

Seems like a different BroadCom SoC: http://kaiser-edv.de/tmp/4U4tkD/Left_RPi2_Right_RP3.jpg So Allwinner’s A64 won’t be the slowest Cortex-53 any longer soon 😉

Gabe
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Gabe

Here is the MagPi advert:
http://i.imgur.com/KRRd7OQ.jpg

Member

64-bit? Now that’s interesting. Until now, the only 64-bit ARM boards were either incredibly expensive server boards or the disappointing 96boards offerings. It’ll probably have Cortex-A53 cores, so no speed demon. But at least it’ll be much cheaper and widely available, and not squeezed onto tiny boards like 96boards.

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

Where does this 64-bit hype originate from? I would assume they try to stay as compatible to the previous RPis so the hardware will be initialised by the VideoCore processor and then they will run ARMv6 code on Cortex-A53 maybe even using a 32-bit kernel. Cortex-A53 might be interesting if you optimise your code for ARMv8 (_then_ you get probably more performance) or use 64-bit features like more than 4GB RAM. This board has still only 1 GB RAM (32-bit address bus?) and still just a single USB2.0 connection to the outside. Wow.

In this combination the move to Cortex-A53 will just be the same PR stunt as the last: http://whereismypizero.com

If I would be interested in Cortex-A53 I would wait for the ODROID-C2.

nobe
Guest
nobe

Let’s hope the new soc will bring better IO.
I also wonder how the RPI foundation and its community will handle the software optimization transition.

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

@nobe
There’s still the LAN9514 USB hub with integrated Fast Ethernet used (check the FCC link and click on ‘External Photos’) so how should I/O improve (maybe they manage to deal with WiFi/BT through SDIO/UART instead of USB). And why should an ‘optimization transition’ happen? That’s maybe the greatest strength of the RPi: Everything the same on every board even if it’s slower than necessary 😉

onebir
Guest
onebir

Custom/new BCM chip, or are there already 64 bit ones matching the spec/likely price point?

blu
Guest
blu

@onebir
Just imagine if it turns out to be the new BRCM Vulcan ;p

Chris Burton
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Chris Burton

This came through via snail mail this morning https://dnshistory.org/dump/CPC%20-%20Computer%20World%20-%20March%202016.pdf BCM2837 (64bit quad core 1.2Ghz) / 1GB RAM / BMCB43143 WiFi & BTLE and no the order code doesn’t work yet.

blu
Guest
blu

@cnxsoft
Right, it’s a high-throughput server chip, expected to compete with Cavium’s, AMD’s and Qualcomm’s.

onebir
Guest
onebir

@blu
BRCM BabySpock

cortex-a72
Guest
cortex-a72

I’m glad for raspberry pi guys, for their new offering, good for them, wish them success, but really, if you wanna play with something 64-bit arm, then Odroid-C2 is a clear winner. 96boards and pine64 are both an abysmal.

natsu
Guest
natsu

@cortex-a72
odroid C2 shipping cost makes it obsolete, that’s the real problem

Sander
Guest
Sander

@tkaiser

For me *the* 64-bit argument is … Docker.

Docker is possible on ARM32 (I have it on my Raspi2) and other 32bit, but it is a bit of stepchild: only a few container images available in the Docker hub.

RK
Guest
RK

@tkaiser
Technically speaking, 64bit isn’t just ram. The buses – which are the major bottleneck when it come to graphics and communication – multiply in width too. So it’s much easier to write interpreters and implement garbage collection, concurrency and type safety when you have many large registers and a big, fat stack (and heap).

Practically speaking, when servers, desktops, mobiles and embedded are all moving to 64bit architectures (x86-64 and ARMv8), not doing the same often means losing out on optimizations. Especially when you consider how Android is moving away form Dalvik and ART to the OpenJDK, leaving all those 32bit optimizations behind.

Jesu
Guest
Jesu

Each comment was removed today, is related to pi 3. (from raspberrypi.org)
Something must have made…
2 night sleep and everything will be clean. 😉

natsu
Guest
natsu

the media decoder, any info about support of HEVC and VP 4K decoding ???

Pete
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Pete

@Jesu
Hi Jesu .. I thought I was going mad … but your right the comment i wrote on the raspberry pi blog was edited! no reference to pi 3 …

MarkW
Guest
MarkW
memeka
Guest
memeka

most probably the pi3 will have the same GPU as before. just like the transition from pi to pi2, only the CPU cores will change. also, the bus does not get wider in 64 bit, the registers do. the pi3 will unfortunately still have the IO as bottleneck, as again will have one shared USB controller for network and all its 4 USB ports.
i don’t foresee any HEVC, VP, 4k, or better performance in emulators such as ppsspp or n64 that rely on GPU.

natsu
Guest
natsu

@memeka
in that case, we have to go ODROID C2 a much better and well balanced board after all, 16$ for shipping on top, but very well deserved

JM
Guest

Someone posted what’s apparently a page of the CPC catalogue on Reddit: http://i.imgur.com/exuZy58.jpg

But it says “64bit quadcore ARM 7 processor”… ?

Maybe it’s a 64bit … memory bus 😉

onebir
Guest
onebir

@JM
From catalogue processor is “BCM2837”, whatever that is…

JM
Guest

@onebir
It’s BCM2836 (current Pi 2 processor) + 1 🙂

I’ll eat my hat if this turns out to be a true arm64 processor.

wired420
Guest
wired420

@tkraspi

The fact that you call the amount of memory the “memory speed”, tells us you don’t deserve to have this or any high tech device.

Ush73
Guest
Ush73

Sounds greatvbut highly doubt same pricing.

deets
Guest
deets

@Ush73
Catalog shown above puts it right around $35

Nobody of Import
Guest
Nobody of Import

JM, might want to get some sauce for the hat just in case. They WERE working on an A53 equivalent.

JM
Guest

Farnell datasheet for the Raspberry Pi 3 lists “64bit ARMv7″… http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/2020826.pdf

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

It’s disappointing that it still only has 1GB of RAM. Hopefully it is still not LPDDR2 and they have at least upgraded it to LPDDR3.

tkaiser
Guest
tkaiser

@RK
Ok, 64-bit isn’t just ‘more RAM’ but wider buses. Since they now write ‘BCM2837 64bit ARMv7’ these wider buses seem all you get from the 64-bit transition? The same ultra slow 1GB LPDDR2 DRAM, still just one USB2.0 connection to the outside and their official USB WiFi dongle based on BCM43143 is now also onboard.

Really no ARMv8 but Aarch64 ‘backported’ to ARMv7? No ATF (ARM trusted firmware) but proprietary hardware initialisation through VideoCore? If that’s the case this board isn’t even interesting for software devs trying to dive into 64-bit ARM development. 🙂

Nz1
Guest
Nz1

I am wondering if 64bit computers need twice as much ram as 32bit computers.
I know that arm used to have a thumb instruction set that somehow managed to shoehorn 2 16bit instructions into a 32bit word for 32bit processors, so that ram wouldn’t be wasted. I am not sure if they still do this or if it is part of Android or Linux or even if people bother with 64bit cpus.
The problem is that ram is still relatively expensive so 64bit instructions that waste ram still matters. If there is not enough ram the 64bit board could run slower than a 32bit board with the same amount of ram.

blu
Guest
blu

A 32bit ARMv8 is ok, but a 64bit ARMv7 makes absolutely no sense. Something was lost in translation.

Peter Bauer
Guest
Jon Smirl
Member

@Nz1

Apps in 64b computers are a lot bigger than 32b ones. Just compare the same Linux app source code compiled for x86 and x86_64. It is because they drag around a lot of 64b numbers (addresses) that weren’t there before. But without 64b you aren’t going to get more than 4GB of physical memory. Bigger apps need more memory bandwidth, more cache area, etc.

A 64b CPU like the Allwinner A64 with a 3GB DRAM limit is fairly pointless except for marketing purposes.

Jon Smirl
Member

BTW – ARM is chasing 64b to get large address spaces (like 128GB of memory or more) so that there is room for many virtual machines. This is all about ARM64 on the server, not the desktop.

Harley
Guest
Harley

I too want to know if it supports hardware video decoding of HEVC (H.265) and VP9? Both are royaltee free so should be fine to use if only the hardware would support it.

Don’t think it really deserves to be called Raspberry Pi “3” unless it the CPU is 64-bit and it supports at least hardware decoding of 1080p HEVC videos, with VP9 being a bonus.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

@Stephen
Why when the latest firmware updates allow it to run at up to 600MHz with complete stability on a Pi2B? The same is likely to be true of the Pi3B unless they’ve downgraded the RAM.

Jon Smirl
Member

@Harley

h.265 is not royalty free. In fact the fight over excessive royalties is what is holding it up from deployment.

No TA
Guest
No TA

Good job you are not posting about this on The RaspberryPi forum. The posts about it get deleted by the heavy handed who answer to no one.

JM
Guest
JM

@Jon Smirl
Am64 is not nearly as wasteful x86-64 and there are are many performance advantages in using it, even in platforms with 2gb or less RAM.