New Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Packs 1.4GHz Processor, 802.11ac, And GbE

An updated version of the Raspberry Pi Model B has launched, and this new "Plus" version offers a number of upgrades. The official name is the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and it is on sale now for the same $35 price as the previous version of the developer board. 

raspi bplus

Updates include:

  • A 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU
  • Dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2
  • Faster Ethernet (Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0)
  • Power-over-Ethernet support (with separate PoE HAT)
  • Improved PXE network and USB mass-storage booting
  • Improved thermal management

The maximum CPU clock for the B+ is 200MHz higher than the previous version and the wired and wireless network throughput is three times that of the previous version. Those higher levels of performance can also be sustained for much longer periods of time than the previous version.

Raspberry Pi says the latest version of the board is built around BCM2837B0, an updated version of the 64-bit Broadcom APU. That chip has power integrity optimizations and an integrated heat spreader. These improvements are what allows the device to operate at higher clock frequencies or to run at lower voltages. Improved accuracy for monitoring and controlling the temperature of the chip is also integrated.

The dual-band wireless LAN and Bluetooth are possible thanks to a Cypress CYW43455 combo chip that is connected to a Proant PCB antenna said to be similar to what was used on the Raspberry Pi Zero W. Raspberry Pi says that wireless chip delivers "somewhat" better performance in the 2.4GHz band and "far better" performance in the 5GHz band. The wireless components are under a metal heatshield, seen in the upper left corner of the board embossed with the Raspberry Pi logo.

pi network

The 3B+ also gets a magjack that supports Power over Ethernet (PoE) and brings relevant signals to the 4-pin header. There are plans to launch a PoE HAT that is able to generate the needed 5V to power the Raspberry Pi from a 48V PoE supply. All these new functions do mean more power consumption. Raspberry Pi wrote, "Note that Raspberry Pi 3B+ does consume substantially more power than its predecessor. We strongly encourage you to use a high-quality 2.5A power supply, such as the official Raspberry Pi Universal Power Supply."