The Raspberry Pi Model B with 256MB went on sale on February 29, 2012 – exactly 4 years ago, and between then and now, the company has sold over 8 million units of the product, including 3 million units of Raspberry Pi 2.
According to Raspberry Pi founder, Eben Upton, the company which started with only a few volunteers now has over 60 full-time employees; and the progress the company has made culminated in sending a Rasberry Pi to the International Space Station a couple of years back.
To help everyone celebrate its fourth birthday, the company is now selling Raspberry Pi 3 at the same amount it was selling the Pi 2 version - $35. The new Raspberry Pi 3 has –
• A 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU (~10x the performance of Raspberry Pi 1)
• Integrated 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.1
• Complete compatibility with Raspberry Pi 1 and 2
Broadcom provided a new SoC, BCM2837 for the Raspberry Pi 3, retaining the same architecture with the BCM2835 and BCM2836 which were predecessors of the latest one – meaning that the earlier ones will still work perfectly with the new Pi 3.
According to Upton, “Combining a 33% increase in clock speed with various architectural enhancements, this provides a 50-60% increase in performance in 32-bit mode versus Raspberry Pi 2, or roughly a factor of ten over the original Raspberry Pi.”
Upton revealed that James Adams designed and merged BCM2837 with the BCM43438 wireless combo chip. And while he had changed the position of LEDs to opposite of the SD card socket to allow for antenna, he integrated wireless functionality into the prototypes as can be seen with the Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ and Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.
Another expert, Roger Thornton, tested the wireless conformance procedures that allowed the company to launch the product in many countries at the same time; while Phil Elwell made the wireless LAN and Bluetooth software.
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The board is now able to operate with a 5V micro-USB power adapter, with all connectors remaining in the same position and running the same functions. But 2.5A adapter is recommended if USB devices that consume a lot of power are to be used with the Raspberry Pi.