What the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 Delivers to Device Makers

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What the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 Delivers to Device Makers

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 is the latest in a line of embeddable units that provide the processing power for a wide array of industrial, home automation and internet of things devices.

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What Is Compute Module 3?

Compute Module 3 is the third-generation component designed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to deliver the processing power for devices both big and small. It can be used in home automation gadgets and embedded in industrial products, such as process automation systems. It’s designed to be used in markets around the world and affordably provide connectivity that may not be easy to obtain from other sources.

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It's Designed Mainly for Industrial Device Makers

Compute Module 3 is intended mainly for industrial device makers that want to manufacture a wide range of products running a variety of operating systems and connect to the internet. The Raspberry Pi Foundation also says Compute Module could be used in consumer electronics devices or by hobbyists to build their own devices.

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It's Ideal for Internet of Things Devices

In a statement introducing Compute Module 3, Raspberry Pi Foundation COO and hardware lead James Adams said the module is ideal for devices that connect to the internet of things (IoT). Compute Modules have, since their inception, been built into smart home devices and other IoT products. This latest version improves their functionality.

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Compute Module 3 Ramps Up the Processing Power

According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Compute Module 3 ships with an ARM BCM2837 processor with up to 1.2GHz clock speed. It also ships with 1GB of RAM. To put that into perspective, Compute Module 3 offers 10 times the CPU performance customers would find in the first-generation model.

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The Breakout Board Is a Useful Add-On Component

Compute Module IO Board V3, a complementary add-on component, helps users get the most out of Compute Module 3. Also known as the breakout board, it, gives users the ability to program Compute Module 3’s memory and makes it easier to access its processor features. The breakout board also includes USB and HDME connectors enhance its functionality.

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The Module Works with Most Operating Systems

One of the nice things about Compute Module 3 is that it’s designed to work with just about any operating system. Users can choose to go with Raspbian, the Foundation’s authorized operating system, or go with something else such as Android. It's another way Raspberry Pi Foundation encourages tinkering and innovation with the module.

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There Is Even a ‘Lite’ Version

The Raspberry Pi Foundation also sells Compute Module 3 Lite, a lower-cost alternative to Compute Module 3. The Lite version has the same processor and RAM as the Compute Module 3, but exchanges the built-in storage for an SD Card slot. It costs $5 less than the full version.

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It's Backward-Compatible with Compute Module 1

Companies that have followed the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s design guidelines can use Compute Module 3 in their device designs without making major modifications. However, Compute Module 3 is 1mm taller than the original version and its processor can run “much hotter” than Compute Module 1. Designers will need to account for those factors when embedding the third-generation model in their devices.

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Compute Module 3 Drives Large-Format Displays

Compute Module 3 is already embedded in a device. NEC has announced plans to include Compute Module 3 support in large-format displays of 40 inches to 98 inches. The commercial-grade displays will be used in public spaces, such as schools and railway stations.

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What to Know About Pricing

Compute Module 3 is available now for $30 through the company’s partners Element14 and RS Components. The Lite version is on sale for $25. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is also selling its first-generation Compute Module for a reduced price of $25.

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