Not Everyone Is Excited About The Raspberry Pi 3
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 1 March 2016 at 07:09 AM EST. 54 Comments
HARDWARE --
While the Raspberry Pi 3 should be much more powerful than its predecessors thanks to finally having a ARMv8 processor (and quad-core Cortex-A53 at that), it's not for everyone.

After yesterday's launch of the Raspberry Pi 3, it didn't take long for readers to begin arguing the merits of the Raspberry Pi 3 within our forum thread and elsewhere.

While Raspberry Pi manages to get most of the mainstream media's attention, there is better hardware for the money in the ARM developer board space... With the Raspberry Pi 3, for $35+ you get a quad-core Cortex-A53 1.2GHz processor, VideoCore IV graphics, 1GB of RAM, and Ethernet that's still over USB. Just 1GB of RAM in 2016.

Meanwhile, there are other boards like the already-benchmarked ODROID-C2 where for $40 USD is a quad-core Cortex-A53 up to 2.02GHz, Mali 450 graphics, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, and four USB 2.0 ports. The $15 PINE A64 board meanwhile has a quad-core Cortex-A53 1.2GHz processor similar to the RPi3 while having Mali 400 MP2 graphics, 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM, Gigabit Ethernet, etc. So while these other ARM development boards may not get as much attention as Raspberry Pi products, they have more RAM and in the case of the C2 should be clearly faster.

(For those that missed it, back in January I did an 8-way ARM board comparison on Linux.)

Red Hat's ARM expert Marcin Juszkiewicz shared his thoughts on the Raspberry Pi 3. "Is it worth buying? If all you want to do is connect few sensors to GPIO/I²C/SPI pins then maybe as it is cheap, but I would go for Beaglebone to get wide distribution support. If you want to make a desktop then forget it (1GB of memory). If you want to make anything related to storage/networking forget it too (storage on USB shared with all other USB devices as there is only one USB host port). For years Raspberry Foundation did not learn that price is not the only thing which makes product worth using. BCM8235 was terrible but usable. BCM8236 got newer cpu core but rest stayed so resulting device was far behind properly made developer boards. BCM8237 should not happen."

Nevertheless, I did end up buying a Raspberry Pi 3 yesterday while there were still quantities in stock. I'll be delivering performance benchmarks of the Raspberry Pi 3 as soon as the board arrives, which will hopefully be later this week.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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