A comparison of ESP32-S3, ESP32-C3 and ESP8266 modules

The ESP32-S3 chip is equipped with an Xtensa 32-bit LX7 dual-core processor clocked at up to 240 MHz, supports 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 LE, and boasts AI instructions, as well as a reliable security encryption engine, specially built for the AIoT market.

Modules based on the ESP32-S3 processor bring many benefits to designers with support for Bluetooth Long Range mode, plenty of resources with 512 KB SRAM (TCM), 45 programmable GPIO pins, and rich communication interfaces. They can also handle high-speed Octal SPI flash with higher capacities, as well as off-chip PSRAM.

ESP32-S3 vs ESP32-C3 vs ESP8266 modulesSo, what are the differences between the new ESP32-S3 modules, and typical ESP32-C3 and ESP8266 modules? Let’s find out.

Module's CPU
ESP32-S3
ESP8266
ESP32-C3
Frequency Range
2400~2483.5MHz
Operating Temperature
-40~85°C

Storage Temperature
-40~125°C, <90%RH
Power supply range
3.0V - 3.6V, 500mA+
Supported Interfaces
UART, GPIO, ADC, PWM, I2C, I2S, SPI, LCD, DVP, RMT, SDIO, USB OTG, MCPWM DMA, TWAI
UART, GPIO, ADC, PWM, SPI, I2C
Number of IOs
38
9
22
Typical PSRAM

64 MBit
-
Typical SPI flash
64 Mbit
16Mbit/32Mbit

CPU
Dual-core Xtensa LX7 @ up to 240 MHz with additional vector instructions for AI acceleration
ULP core to handle low power modes
Single-core Xtensa L106 32-bit RISC microprocessor @ 160 MHz
Single 32-bit RISC-V (RV32IMC) core @ 160 MHz
On-chip RAM
512KB
160KB
400KB
On-chip ROM
384KB
N/A
WiFi
WiFi 4 (802.11n)

Bluetooth
BLE 5.0
N/A
Power Consumption
Modem sleep
20mA
15mA
Light sleep
240μA
2mA
130μA
Deep sleep
8μA
20μA
5μA
Hibernation
7μA
-
Power off
1μA
0.5μA
1μA
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7 Comments
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willy
willy
4 months ago

The C3-12F overall looks like a good balance of features and capacity, appearing as being more capable than the ESP-12F in the same form factor for significant power savings. I still with there would be a standard way to program them in field without adding tons of components around. Ideally having 6 small holes on the PCB to insert a tiny connector that manipulates GPIO0, EN, Tx, Rx would be cool as it would alleviate the need for an onboard usb-serial adapter and keep the form factor small.

Craig Swan
Craig Swan
4 months ago

Form factor is a bit larger, but I found this one checks all of the boxes for me. USB is built-in to the S2 SoC: S2 mini — WEMOS documentation

Willy
4 months ago

I agree that it looks really great, and there’s zero useless component on it. Thank you for the link!

Craig Swan
Craig Swan
4 months ago
willy
willy
4 months ago

And I responded and then my memory vanished! Probably by then I couldn’t find one for sale or found it too expensive to just add to my junk box.

AggregatVier
AggregatVier
4 months ago

There should also be a row (or article paragraph) for commonly supported programming environments. Sort of an encapsulation of Adafruit’s caution when common Arduino or RPi libraries aren’t compatible.

Pyro
Pyro
9 hours ago

One thing I still don’t get – what’s the difference between the S3 12K and 32S versions.
Or 12F and 32S in the case of the C3.

Is it only the number of expose IO pins?

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