Raspberry Pi - Model comparison

Raspberry Pi – Model comparison

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The Raspberry Pi is on the market since 2012 and offers unbelievable many possibilities for tinkering and controlling. Meanwhile there have been several model updates and since March 2018 the latest version, the Raspberry Pi 3 B+, is available on the market. Since I regularly receive questions about the differences, I would like to clarify some differences and questions about the models below.


Technical differences

  RPi 3 B+ RPi 3 B RPi 2 B RPi Zero (W)
Size 85,6 × 56mm 85,6 × 56mm 85,6 × 56mm 65 x 30mm
SOC BCM2837 BCM2837 BCM2836 BCM2835
CPU ARM Cortex-A53
ARM Cortex-A53
ARM Cortex-A7
Cores 4 4 4 1
Frequency 4x 1400 MHz 4x 1200 MHz 4x 900 MHz 1000 MHz
RAM 1024 MB 1024 MB 1024 MB 512 MB
USB 4x USB2.0 4x USB2.0 4x USB2.0 1x USB2.0
Audio HDMI (digital)
3,5mm Klinken
HDMI (digital)
3,5mm Klinken
HDMI (digital)
3,5mm Klinken
HDMI (digital)
Network 10/100/1000 MBit 10/100 MBit 10/100 MBit
Wlan 2,4/5 GHz
2,4 GHz
WLAN b/g/n
no yes (Zero W)
no (Zero)
Bluetooth yes yes no ja (Zero W)
no (Zero)
GPIO 40 Pins 40 Pins 40 Pins optional
max. 7 W max. 4 W max. 4 W 0,5–0,7 W
Power source 5V Micro USB
min. 2,5 A
5V Micro USB
min 2,5 A
5V Micro USB
min. 2 A
5V Micro USB
min. 1 A
Price ca. 35€ ca. 35€

ca. 32€ ca. 26€ (Set)


Which model for which purpose?

Raspberry Pi 3, Modell B+

Photo credit: raspberrypi.org

The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is the newest member of its guild and at the same time the revised version of the model 3 B. Its four ARM cores now clock at 1.4 GHz instead of 1.2 GHz and are therefore around 17% faster. However, the higher clock speed also results in higher power consumption. Thanks to the new LAN7515 chip, Gigabit Ethernet is finally supported. Also new is the Broadcom BCM43455 as WLAN controller. This now supports dual-band ac WLAN for the 5 GHz frequency band. As a highlight, the Raspberry Pi 3B+ has 4 pins on the board for a PoE plug-in module. Like its predecessor, the new Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is a real muscleman and full-fledged PC.

Conclusion: The RPI 3 B+ is the first choice for applications where maximum performance is required and power consumption is of secondary importance, e.g. as a multimedia centre or as a gaming PC with Recalbox/RetroPi.

Raspberry Pi 3, Modell B


The Model 3 B was released in February 2016 and is the first Raspberry Pi with integrated WLAN chip. This makes an additional WLAN USB stick superfluous for most applications. It also has Bluetooth. The processor supports a 64-bit instruction set and clocks at 4x 1200 MHz – and all this with a low power consumption of max. 4 watts. The 33% faster clock rate compared to the Raspberry Pi 2 brings a performance increase of 50-60% in 32-bit mode, according to RPi Foundation. This is remarkable and makes the Raspberry Pi 3B a full-fledged PC.

Conclusion: Despite the 200MHz lower clock rate per core than the Raspberry Pi 3 B+, it is suitable for applications requiring high CPU performance. Especially when low power consumption is important, the RPi 3B is preferable to the 3B+.

Raspberry Pi 2, Modell B

The Raspberry Pi 2 (model B) was the first model of the Raspberry Pi with a quad-core processor. While the predecessor (RPI1, model B+) still had a single-core processor with 700 MHz, the Raspberry Pi 2 is equipped with a significantly more powerful quad-core processor with 4x 900 MHz. Furthermore, the RAM has doubled compared to its predecessor to 1024MB. This makes it a full-fledged PC that can even run (a slimmed-down) Windows.

Conclusion: If you want to use the Raspberry Pi with a graphical interface or even as a multimedia center on your TV, you should at least use the RPI 2 Model B. Because of the same price, the Raspberry Pi 3 B/B+ can often be the better choice.

Raspberry Pi Zero / Zero W

Photo credit: www.raspberrypi.org

Photo credit: raspberrypi.org

The model Zero is the smallest Raspberry Pi model on the market in terms of board size. The Raspberry Pi Zero is almost 50% smaller than the Raspberry A+, but has more power at the same time. In the new variant Zero W the mini computer already has WLAN and Bluetooth on board. With normal Zero (without W) WLAN and Bluetooth are missing. The Raspberry Zero has extremely low power consumption and is ideal for solar or battery powered applications.

Conclusion: The Zero W model is the single board computer of choice when extremely compact size and minimum power consumption are required.

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