Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer that runs on Linux and other versions of embedded Linux. It is very popular among the hobbyist community and students for college projects. Today I will compare the three versions of Raspberry Pi that is available in the market.
Note: For Raspberry Pi 1, I am using Raspberry Pi Model B+ as reference in this article instead of other models (Model A, A+ and B)
For any microprocessor there are certain specifications that we would like to see before we buy one. In this article I will compare the three models in terms of cost, CPU, GPU, Memory.
All three models of Raspberry Pi costs around $35. Model B+ was launched in July 2014 where Pi 2 and 3 was launched in February 2015 and 2016 (a year apart). Although the Pi is cheaper there are some hidden costs with involved when you buy one. You need a Micro SD Card for loading the Raspbian Image, Keyboard, Mouse (Can be wired or wireless) for controlling the pi, HDMI cable for display and a wifi dongle or Ethernet Cable for internet connectivity. For Raspberry Pi 3, there in an onboard wifi module and Bluetooth module. This is an advantage of buying the Pi 3 compared to previous versions of Raspberry Pi.
Model B+ have a 700 MHz single-core ARM1176JZF-S processor. In the later model, Raspberry Pi 2 have a 900 MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor. Compared to the Model B+, Pi2 have more speed and much more suitable for multitasking because of its quad-core processor. In the recent version, Raspberry Pi 3, the CPU is a 1.2 Ghz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor. Pi 3 has more processing power compared to Pi 2 and Model B+ and also it is capable to run 64-bit systems . However, the current version of the operating systems are still 32 bit. In the coming days there might be availability of 64 bit operating systems for Raspberry Pi 3. Compared to the Raspberry Pi 2, Raspberry Pi 3 delivers 50-60 percent higher performance.
All the hardware versions of Raspberry Pi uses Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU, except the latest Pi 3 is clocked at 400 MHz.There are certain limitations of the GPU applications and usage of the Raspberry Pi compared to the high end smart phone GPU’s. It has a theoretical maximum processing power of 24GFLOPs. You can learn more about Raspberry VideoCore API’s here at elinux.org
Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ uses 512 Mb (as of 15 October) of SDRAM whereas 2 and 3 uses 1 GB of SDRAM (DDR2). One important difference between 2 and 3 is that, Model 2 has 450MHz of RAM whereas Pi 3 has 900 MHz of RAM. It’s obvious from the above considerations, Pi 3 has more leverage than Raspberry Pi 2 in terms of performance and speed.
Raspberry Pi 3 has more leverage compared to the previous versions. As it costs the same price, there is no clear reason why someone should go for Raspberry Pi 2 or Model B+. Also it has an onboard Wifi and Bluetooth modules. This give more access to connectivity and more use for your IoT Project applications. All these three versions have same number of GPIO’s.