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Raspberry Pi 3 goes on sale today with 64-bit CPU and built-in wireless networking

It's perhaps hard to believe that four years ago to the day the original Raspberry Pi Model B with its humble 256MB RAM was released. It was an instant hit and immediately sold out around the world. Since then, the Pi has gone from strength to strength spawning a couple new models, including the Raspberry Pi 2 and the Raspberry Pi Zero both released within the last year.

The Raspberry Pi has been so versatile that is has been used as the basis for things including the Otto hackable camera as well as a low power media center solution leveraging Kodi (formerly known as XBMC). It has even been used to build a handheld console for retro games using RetroPie.

Today, in celebration of its fourth birthday, a new model has been released in the form of the Raspberry Pi 3 which feature a few notable upgrades, which include:

  • A 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU

  • Integrated 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.1

  • Complete compatibility with Raspberry Pi 1 and 2

In terms of benchmarked CPU performance, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has said that the Pi 3 delivers ten times the performance of the original Pi in 32-bit mode and roughly 50% faster compared to the Pi 2. According to his article, Raspberry Pi Founder Eben Upton said that:

"Real-world applications will see a performance increase of between 2.5x (for single-threaded applications) and >20x (for NEON-enabled video codecs)."

While the Raspberry Pi 3 will initially ship with 32-bit Raspbian, Upton mentioned that "over the next few months we will investigate whether there is value in moving to 64-bit mode."

The inclusion of onboard WiFi and Bluetooth is sure to be of interest, as it will eliminate the need for extra USB dongles while freeing up the precious USB ports for other uses; however, it is recommended that a 2.5A 5V power supply is used to provide enough juice for power hungry devices you may attach to the unit.

The Raspberry Pi 3 is now available for purchase for just $35, the same price as the current Raspberry Pi 2, from element14, RS Components and other resellers. In the meantime, earlier models will remain available for sale given sufficient demand.

Source: Raspberry Pi

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