There’s a New Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, Slimmed Down and Quad-Cored

Yay to the Compute Module upgrade!!! Wait, Raspberry Pi lovers step aside, there are human beings out there that don’t even know what the original CM1 board, originally released back in 2014, is! Anyone needing a refresher, the original Compute Module, which contained the guts of the first generation Raspberry Pi, ran a BCM2835 processor, came with 512 megabytes of RAM, and a 4GB eMMC Flash storage device. It measured a tiny 67.6 x 30mm, little enough to fit a standard DDR2 SODIMM connector (the new Compute Module 3, however, is more than half that size).

So there it was, basically just a module designed to meet the needs of anyone who wanted to create their own PCB. Even a Compute Module IO Board was included as a good start for designers to use open-source starting templates for experimenting with the hardware. But, the newly updated Compute Module 3, basically just the Raspberry Pi in a far more flexible form factor, is actually pretty perfect for customized products, as it is designed for embedded computing; also “industrial users wanting to produce customized products powered by the microprocessor”. Imagine large-format smart displays (TVs), industrial control systems, home media players, and you might be understanding the idea further.

Also important, the Compute Module 3, also dubbed the CM3, contains more powerful internals, specifically ten times the CPU performance than the original 2014 module. As it is based on last year’s Raspberry Pi 3, the beefiest version to date, the CM3 contains powerful internals that match the Pi 3 exactly, such as a Broadcom, 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU BCM2835 processor at 1.2GHz. However, the latest module from the Pi contains 1GB of RAM, two times the amount seen in the original CM1, and 4GB of DDR2 eMMC flash storage.

As Pi’s usually go, this model is also super affordable, in the $30 range. More than half the size of the Pi 3, it’s tiny, which is how we rely on these devices for such small, custom projects. Further, the Pi Foundation loves to give us options, don’t they, so a Lite $25 option is also available, one that requires the user to add their very own SD card socket or eMMC flash storage. Even the original Compute Model will sold for a reduced price of $25.

There you have it. Tinkerers and Pi lovers alike, if you’ve been utilizing your CM1 and don’t want to let go of the original, no fear, because not only is there a super cheap CM3 right there waitin for ya, but it’s backwards pin-compatible with your CM1. On the darker side of things, the newer modules run hotter, especially hotter under heavy processing. No USB, SD card slot, or display sockets are part of the CM3. The module also lacks Ethernet and Wi-Fi, but just remember that SODIMM socket for fitting in an edge connector. Through and through, if you’re a Pi person, also note the available Compute Module IO Board V3 (CMIO3), a breakout board that plugs and powers your CM3, processors, HDMIs, and USBs. But we’ll get more on that one later. Just released January 16th, the Compute Module 3 is officially on sale, and Eben Upton of the Pi Foundation expects there to be a lot of Compute model business to move to Compute Module 3, saying it could “translate sales into hundreds of thousands of units in the first year”.

Topics: Technology News Inventions & Innovations Mini / Nano PCs Raspberry Pi

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