Benchmarking The $25 Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ Performance
Released last week was the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ as their latest ARM SBC coming in at the $25 USD price point and their last board release before doing a redesign. I was able to snag a Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ for $25 with availability appearing to be better than some of the past Raspberry Pi releases. Here are some initial benchmarks of the RPi 3 Model A Plus compared to a few other ARM boards.
The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ uses a Broadcom BCM2837B0 SoC just like the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ at $35. That SoC allows for four Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.4GHz, so in CPU tests the performance is quite close between the boards. But the $25 Model A 3+ board only has 512MB of RAM (which is shared with the GPU, like the other Raspberry Pis) compared to 1GB on the more common Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.
The last time there was a Model A+ board was back during the Raspberry Pi days when it was using the Broadcom BCM2835 SoC that yielded a single core running at 700MHz... So compared to that $20~25 board from four years ago, the 3+ board is a big step-up. The older Model A/A+ boards also only had 256MB of RAM.
The Raspberry Pi 3A+ also supports Bluetooth 4.2 / BLE and 802.11ac WiFi, but this $25 board goes without any wired Ethernet port. That is one of the unfortunate aspects of this board is having no wired LAN so you are reliant upon wireless, which may be a show-stopper for some possible use-cases. But besides that, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ is an interesting board for $25 especially with having the same SoC as the $35 model.
It's a fun board to test, but most users will likely be better off with the $35 board due to the wired LAN and twice the RAM capacity. But for those interested in the Model A+, here are benchmarks while running the latest Raspbian release.