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Try out the Raspberry Pi Model 3 B Plus! - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 10
Product was easy to use: 10
Support materials were available: 10
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 60 / 60
  • RoadTest: Try out the Raspberry Pi Model 3 B Plus!
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: previous model Pi 3 model B
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: no problem at all

  • Detailed Review:

     

    Amazing Raspberry in yet another, brand new - MODEL 3B+.

    I hope, that the following test will depict some enhanced features of the new raspberry

     

    Basic parameters

    As the Raspberry Pi microcomputer is well known, besides the new model is also well documented and wide described, nevertheless, I feel obligation to attach detailed description and parameters below.

     

    New model is presented on the raspberry official site as

    1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core processor, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz  wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.2/BLE, faster Ethernet, and Power-over-Ethernet support (with separate PoE HAT)

     

    • Processor:  Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.4GHz
    • Memory:  1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM
    • Connectivity
      • 2.4GHz and 5GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN,
      • Bluetooth 4.2, BLE
      • Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0 (maximum throughput 300 Mbps)
      • 4 USB 2.0 ports
    • Extended 40-pin GPIO header
    • Full-size HDMI
    • CSI camera port for connecting a Raspberry Pi camera
    • DSI display port for connecting a Raspberry Pi touchscreen display
    • 4-pole stereo output and composite video port
    • Multimedia: H.264, MPEG-4 decode (1080p30); H.264 encode (1080p30); OpenGL ES 1.1, 2.0 graphics
    • Micro SD port for loading your operating system and storing data
    • 5V/2.5A DC power input
    • Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) support (requires separate PoE HAT)

    The first thought that comes to mind is the question of differences with the previous model.

    At first glance I noticed two metal coated chips

    Broadcom  BCM2837 instead of plastic package appear in the metal now.

    Another metal object with full -size raspberry icon embossed on it is screening shield covered wireless device: IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN 2.4GHz & 5GHz integrated with Bluetooth 4.2, BLE

    The ceramic chip antenna is replaced by resonant PCB one now.

    The big change is replacement of LAN9514 with LAN7515 contained 10/100/1000 Ethernet and USB 2.0 hub.

    There must be impart the new module is Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) - ready.

     

    Looking at documentation and features list we have following significant improvements :

    ARM Cortex-A53 1.4 GHz. means increase of the frequency by 200MHz

     

    All above easy to find in papers and  manuals, but now let’s check it out!

     

    Let me introduce the new Raspberry:

    or to be precise its small but smart as well as faster and faster brain:

    Thermal issue

    As declared in my application I conducted some comparison tests with previous RPi model.

    The first most interesting question was check of the energy dissipation issues and working temperature.

    With precise Flir thermovision equipment that task was quite simple but instructive

    first - take look at Raspberry 3B model:

    warming up few seconds after start.

    3 seconds later:

    and after half an hour of normal work

    focused not perfect but larger picture

    here the measurement of the temperature of the USB module:

    and supply conditioning area:

     

     

    now hot photos of our new Raspberry:

    unpowered RPi3B+ below:

    and just after the start

    module:

     

    temperature groth 1 sec later:

    10 min:

     

    20 min

    supply unit:

     

    Now let me summarize above pictures in short words.

    First I must inform, that measurements were taken with open cover. (the bottom base remained)

    At average work conditions there are no significant difference in heat transfer in the board and temperature levels. Nevertheless model+ looks few degrees warmer.

    (is that the reason for this sign?)

    You can see the problem with catch the real temperature of metal covers of chips. Shiny surfaces are nightmare for thermography.

    On the other hand, such cover ensure better radiation as well as heat transfer (dissipation) at all

     

    RPI3B & RPi3B+ Benchmarks

    The stage of benchmarks I started from simplest test command:

    cpuinfo

    Above results are the same for both RPI3B & RPi3B+

    the only differwnce is the serial, of course and,

    The revision id:

    Pi 3 B      :  a22082

    Pi 3 B+    : a020d3

     

    But look: simple command “/cpuinfo_max_freq” shows significant difference in cpu speed:

    RPi3B+        1400000

    RPi3B          1200000

    Running cpuinfo_cur_freq I got 600000 with new RPi3+

    But for old one  600000 or 1200000 alternately appeared.

     

     

    One more 1 command comparison: Benchmarking using “openssl speed”

    calculate the time it takes to encrypt or decrypt one block of data.

     

     

    Differences are shown in the table below:

     

    Doing aes-256-cbc for 3s on X size blocks

    aes-256-cbc's in 3.00s

    RPi3B+

    RPi3B

    X = 16

    5495602

    4669861

    X = 64

    1787593

    1532253

    X = 256

    484706

    415754

    X = 1024

    123813

    106153

    X = 8192

    15615

    13350

    X = 16384

    7812

    6671

     

    The 'numbers' are in 1000s of bytes per second processed:

    type

    16

    64

    256

      1024

    8192

    16384

    aes-256-cbc

    RPi3B+

    29309.88k  

    38135.32k  

    41361.58k  

    42261.50k  

    42639.36k  

    42663.94k

    RPi3B

    24905.93k  

    32688.06k  

    35477.67k  

    36233.56k  

    36454.40k  

    36432.55k

     

     

    Now time for more sophisticated comparisons. How are the improvements in the practical use?

    I looked for my old but still convenient computation speed tests based on prime numbers seeking algorithm. The few lines code (C++ in origin, converted to python)

     

    The attempt to find primes in the range to 300000 gave as follow:

    The result for RPi3B  is 30,5s

     

    Where for RPi3B+ 

    is 25,5s

     

    I did repeat these tests, for sure, results everytime were similar.

     

    Another worth to do test from the point of view of practical comparison is “pystone”. 

    The benchmark is available on Github as the python code.

     

    RPi3B+ scored around 16500 “pst”/s  when 50000 or 500000 loops

     

    Additionally I decided to check the CPU temperature during the test:

     

    Now compare it with old RPi3B

    And for 50000 passes:

    Pystone(1.1.1) time for 50000 passes = 3.54852

    This machine benchmarks at 14090.4 pystones/second

     

    Pystone(1.1.1) time for 500000 passes = 35.5569

    This machine benchmarks at 14062 pystones/second

     

    Pystone(1.1.1) time for 500000 passes = 35.885

    This machine benchmarks at 13933.4 pystones/second

     

    The RPi3B result is not much abowe 14000 “pst”/s

     

    Temperature was lower a little:

     

    At the last i decided to use quite popular AikonCWD benchmark.

    https://github.com/aikoncwd/rpi-benchmark

    Raspberry Pi Benchmark Test

    Author: AikonCWD

    Version: 3.0

     

    RPi3B

    RPi3B

    RPi3B+

    temp=58.0'C

    temp=53.7'C

    temp=53.2'C

    arm_freq=1200

    arm_freq=1200

    arm_freq=1400

    core_freq=400

    core_freq=250

    core_freq=250

    sdram_freq=450

    sdram_freq=450

    sdram_freq=450

    gpu_freq=300

    gpu_freq=300

    gpu_freq=300

    sd_clock=50.000 MHz

    sd_clock=50.000 MHz

    sd_clock=50.000 MHz

     

     

     

    Running InternetSpeed test...

    Running InternetSpeed test...

    Running InternetSpeed test...

    Ping: 58.209 ms

    Ping: 35.333 ms

    Ping: 52.511 ms

    Download: 10.15 Mbit/s

    Download: 12.38 Mbit/s

    Download: 12.34 Mbit/s

    Upload: 0.60 Mbit/s

    Upload: 0.78 Mbit/s

    Upload: 0.54 Mbit/s

     

     

     

    Running CPU test...

    Running CPU test...

    Running CPU test...

    total time: 13.1449s

    total time: 13.3998s

    total time: 12.5586s

    min: 5.22ms

    min: 5.22ms

    min: 4.48ms

    avg: 5.26ms

    avg: 5.36ms

    avg: 5.02ms

    max: 15.31ms

    max: 20.33ms

    max: 14.01ms

    temp=73.6'C

    temp=69.8'C

    temp=61.8'C

     

     

     

    Running THREADS test...

    Running THREADS test...

    Running THREADS test...

    total time: 12.2089s

    total time: 13.3951s

    total time: 12.2423s

    min: 4.70ms

    min: 4.68ms

    min: 4.71ms

    avg: 4.88ms

    avg: 5.36ms

    avg: 4.89ms

    max: 45.25ms

    max: 53.92ms

    max: 25.74ms

    temp=77.9'C

    temp=74.1'C

    temp=63.4'C

     

     

     

    Running MEMORY test...

    Running MEMORY test...

    Running MEMORY test...

    temp=77.4'C

    Operations performed: 3145728 (2022725.74 ops/sec)

    Operations performed: 3145728 (2055722.75 ops/sec)

     

    3072.00 MB transferred (1975.32 MB/sec)

    3072.00 MB transferred (2007.54 MB/sec)

     

    total time: 1.5552s

    total time: 1.5302s

     

    max: 15.71ms

    max: 5.37ms

     

    temp=75.2'C

    temp=63.4'C

     

     

     

    Running HDPARM test...

    Running HDPARM test...

    Running HDPARM test...

    Timing buffered disk reads:  66 MB in 3.01 seconds = 21.94 MB/sec

    Timing buffered disk reads:  22 MB in 3.19 seconds = 6.89 MB/sec

    Timing buffered disk reads:  68 MB in 3.05 seconds = 22.31 MB/sec

    temp=67.7'C

    temp=64.5'C

    temp=58.0'C

     

     

     

    Running DD WRITE test...

    Running DD WRITE test...

    Running DD WRITE test...

    536870912 bytes (537 MB, 512 MiB) copied, 80.1061 s, 6.7 MB/s

    536870912 bytes (537 MB, 512 MiB) copied, 86.7152 s, 6.2 MB/s

    536870912 bytes (537 MB, 512 MiB) copied, 72.7018 s, 7.4 MB/s

    temp=58.0'C

    temp=55.3'C

    temp=53.7'C

     

     

     

    Running DD READ test...

    Running DD READ test...

    Running DD READ test...

    536870912 bytes (537 MB, 512 MiB) copied, 23.4638 s, 22.9 MB/s

    536870912 bytes (537 MB, 512 MiB) copied, 22.7106 s, 23.6 MB/s

    536870912 bytes (537 MB, 512 MiB) copied, 23.1917 s, 23.1 MB/s

    temp=58.0'C

    temp=55.3'C

    temp=54.2'C

     

    Other features

    Check of main features extended in the new model

    we have two USB 2.0 HUBs onboard now!

     

    General compatibility

    In the scope to proof the compatibility of the new model, I repeated selected experiments and tests concerned RPi I conducted before.

     

    DS18B20+ One Wire Digital Temperature Sensor and the Raspberry

     

     

    MEAS PI WEATHER SHIELD

    Thanks to the previous Element14 R-T my simple weather station and its data logging system is ready for new experiments.

     

    Raspberry Pi 2/3 Weather Sensor Shield - the set of transdusers necessary to make simple weather/ environment measures.

    https://github.com/TEConnectivity/piweathershield-python

    raspberry pi weathershield schematic

    The MEAS Pi weather hat consist of:

    HTU21D digital relative humidity sensor;

    MS5637 digital barometric pressure sensor;

    TSYS01 digital  temperature system sensor;

    TSD305-1C55 digital thermopile sensor.

    It utilizes Raspberry Pi compatible expansion ports configurable for I2C communication.

     

    Modules detection in the new RPi 3B+ works perfect!

     

    My simple python code works without need of any adaptation

     

     

    Matlab compatibility

    I wondered if the new Raspberry is fully compatible with i.e. Matlab / Simulink modules?

    after some troubles I think new M-L version related...

    I can operate and interface with RPi using matlab/ simulink.

    The simplest cooperation results are shown below:

    The model  B+ was identified properly!

    Remote operation on GPIO is available from Matlab code level.

     

     

    Communication 

    The comprehensive roadtest covers assessment of the reliability and immunity of the board as well as compatibility to its modules.

    I have checked the communication interfaces. Honestly I’m not ready to introduce sophisticated radio-propagation and emission loses test but I tried my best to check it.

     

    Connecting to 5G Wi-Fi on 3B+

    I have tested it using:

    iw reg get

     

     

    For  RPi B+

     

     

    The 5GHz Wifi is marked

    Signal info comparison below

     

     

    With two walls border, around 15m distance:

    Some retries but lommunication still works

     

    Here comparison with 2,4GHz behaviour:

    10 meters+wall:

     

    Conclusions

    There are lot of advantages in the new RPi model.

    I'm sure the new idea of "heating management" and metal covers help to work in comfortable conditions regardless of the cpu and general load and environmental surroundings.

    The most interesting features improvement are dual band WiFi

    as well as modernisation of USB module combined with faster Ethernet.

    Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) - also very promising ideea but require the extra module.

    Nevertheless I must confirm, in practical use the chages are not particularly visible.

    I would like to emphasize that in my opinion this is due to the fact that previous models have very good parameters and functions.


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