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Raspberry Pi 3 B vs Raspberry Pi 3 B+: Which One Should You Get

Do you want to get a Raspberry Pi, but you’re unsure which to get;  Raspberry Pi 3 B vs Raspberry Pi 3 B+? Alternatively, are you considering an upgrade, but you’re uncertain if it’s worth it? If yes, then keep reading this article. 

The Pi unit is an excellent mini-computer with so much power and potential. But, with the constant release of new modules, it’s easy to get confused on which Pi board to get for your circuits.

Luckily, we’ve created this article to show the comparisons between each module’s specific features. So, here’s everything you need to choose between the Pi 3 B and the Pi 3 B+.

Specifications and Features

Before we dive into the comparisons, let’s look at the features and specifications of both Pi models: 

Raspberry Pi 3 B

  • Four-Cores 1.2GHz 
  • 1GB RAM
  • Wireless and Low Energy Bluetooth 
  • Ethernet(100 Base)
  • GPIO with forty pin output
  • Four USB ports (USB 2.0)
  • Four composite videos and stereo output ports
  • Full-size HDMI
  • Camera port (CSI) for merging a camera (Raspberry Pi)
  • Display port (DSI) for merging a Raspberry Pi touchscreen display
  • Micro SD port that stores and loads OS 
  • 2.5 amps USB switch port 

Raspberry Pi 3 B+

  • Uses a 64-bit Broadcom @ 1.4GHz 
  • Supports 1GB SDRAM
  • Wireless LAN (Supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands)
  • Bluetooth (BLE 4.2)
  • 300 Mbps ethernet
  • GPIO with 40 pins
  • Supports regular HDMI cables
  • Features four USB 2.0 ports
  • It also has a camera port (CSI) for linking  a camera (Raspberry Pi)
  • Comes with a display port (DSI) for merging a touchscreen display for Raspberry Pi 
  • Possesses a composite video port and stereo output with four poles 
  • Features a Micro SD port that stores and loads OS 
  • Power input: 5 volts per 2.5 amps
  • Supports Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) but requires a separate PoE HAT

Raspberry Pi 3 B vs Raspberry Pi 3 B+

If you’re a fan of the Raspberry Pi, you must’ve noticed something strange with the naming. Following most models, you’ll usually find letters A, B, and B+. With the Pi Compute and Pi Zero being exceptions.

The reason for this strange naming convention is simply the board. Interestingly, engineers used the B-board credit card as the original Raspberry Pi. However, the slightly squarer and smaller A board quickly followed suit.

Plus, there have been several revisions to the B board, leading to the B+ name. For the Raspberry Pi 3 models, the B+ name means the model has higher specifications but keeps most of the hardware.

If you’re planning to buy a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ or Raspberry Pi 3 B, you might find it hard to choose. Why? Because both boards have similar prices. 

However, a closer look at the specifications will help you decide which one is better for a project.

Raspberry Pi 3 B Specifications

The Raspberry Pi 3B has features that make it capable of handling almost any task. It uses an ARMv8-A 32/64-bit instruction set with a BCM2837 system on a chip. Plus, it comes with a 4-core CPU (Cortex A-53) and GPU with up 1.2 GHz speed. Also, you’ll get 1 gigabyte of ram.

1Gb Ram

1Gb Ram

The Raspberry Pi 3 B is the first Pi board with built-in wireless and significant upgrades.

Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Specifications

The Raspberry comes with everything you can find on the Raspberry Pi 3 B, but better. Equipped with a 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex A-53 CPU with GPU, the Pi 3 B+ is ready to give you the speed you need for your operation.

Additionally, the ARMv8-A 32/64-bit architecture uses a different SoC model, supporting 1 Gb of RAM.

Interestingly, the 3 B+ model also features an improved PXE network booting. However, you’ll still get fast booting with USB storage.

Also, the 3 B+ models come with improved thermal management while unlocking new possibilities. However, you’ll need a heat sink and other forms of cooling to get the most out of this.

HeatSink

HeatSink

Lastly, the Pi 3 B+ comes with an improved Power Management IC (PMIC) that gives you a better dynamic voltage scaling. As a result, you can improve performance and data control with the Raspberry Pi 3 B+.

Raspberry Pi 3 B vs Raspberry Pi 3 B+: Hardware Comparisons

Now, let’s compare the hardware of both Pi 3 B models.

CPU

CPU

CPU

The 3 B and B+ use the same 32/64-bit processor (four cores). The similarity also stretches down to the same ARM Cortex A-53 architecture. 

However, the 3 B+ benefits from an increased CPU speed clocking at 1.4 GHz. Also, it’s 16.7% faster than the original 1.2 GHz of the 3 B model. 

WIFI

WIFI

WIFI

While you can only use 2.4Ghz WIFI with the Pi 3 B model, the 3 B+ model supports a dual-band wireless antenna that gives you access to faster WIFI speeds. Plus, you can get both 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11 b/g/n/ac WIFI.

Moreover, the 3 B+ can reach a throughput speed of up to 100 mb/s, two times faster than the Pi 3 B. 

In addition, the 3 B+ module supports 5G frequencies and Bluetooth upgrades.

Ethernet

Ethernet Cable

Ethernet Cable

The 3 B+ features a new Gigabit Ethernet USB 2.0 bridge that upgrades your Ethernet controllers. It also has an improved rate and maximum throughput speed of 300 Mb/s.

Plus, its ethernet cable supports the Power over Ethernet interface (PoE), ideal for powering the 3 B+.

Power Management 

As we mentioned earlier, the power management on the 3 B+ is an improved version of what you’d get on the Pi 3 B model.

Here’s a more detailed explanation; the Pi 3 Model B+ utilizes MxL7704 power management to produce five outputs. These output voltages include 1.8v, 3.3v, 1.2v, VDD_Core, etc. 

Raspberry Pi 3 B+’s Compatibility With Accessories

No doubt, many Raspberry upgrades have failed due to compatibility issues, especially with the power supply units. But, the Pi 3 B+ seems to be more compatible with accessories than the Pi 3 B.

So, the general rule of thumb is to ensure to use appropriate MicroSD card in the event of USB problems. Plus, you must have a fast SD card with dependable error correction software.

USB

USB

Also, ensure you have a suitable power supply unit. For improved performance, we recommend using the official Pi supply unit.

Choosing Between Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and 3 B+

Choosing between the two Pi 3 Models could be tricky. Why? Because most times, you’re usually confused between choosing “price” or “high quality.” 

But here’s what we recommend:

The 3 B is an excellent device for almost any task. However, the Pi 3 B+ seems to be a better option for handling fixes. Slap in a faster processor and better network support, and the Raspberry PI 3 B+ would do a better job than the PI 3 B.

Rounding Up

The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ offers improved hardware specifications. As a result, it can make your existing and new projects work better.

Also, the Pi 3 B+ is an excellent choice for handling Raspberry Pi 4 model projects.

However, if you need a smaller and lighter computer for your project, the Pi 3 B would be enough.

In the end, it all balls down to your specific needs. 

So, do you have any questions? Feel free to ask us for tips, and we’ll be happy to help.

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Hommer Zhao
Hi, I am Hommer, the founder of WellPCB. So far, we have more than 4,000 customers worldwide. If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me. I really appreciate any help you can provide.

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