Skip to main content

Raspberry Pi’s new Compute Module 3 is an even lower-cost single-board PC

raspberry pi releases compute module 3 small header
Today’s growing number of Internet of Things (IoT) and other smart devices need really small PCs to power them. The more intelligent they are, the more powerful the PC needs to be. That is where small, single-board PCs like Raspberry Pi come in handy.

While there is a place for complete PCs like the Raspberry Pi with a full complement of ports and storage options, some applications can get by with even simpler versions. The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Compute Module is the perfect solution and the organization just released another version, ZDNet reports.

The Compute Module 3 is built on the latest Raspberry Pi 3, with a 64-bit Broadcom PCM2837 processor running at up to 1.2GHz, and with 1GB RAM and 4GB flash storage. The Compute Module 3 saves space by eschewing some ports and it is a good solution for smart TVs, industrial devices, and others that don’t require complete connectivity.

Raspberry Pi Foundation

In order to fully accommodate the newest components, the Compute Module 3 is a bit larger than its predecessor, at 31mm high versus 30mm high. It offers the same pin-out configuration, however, and so it can easily plug into the same solutions.

For designers who want to create their own storage solutions, the Raspberry Pi Foundation offers the Compute Module 3 Lite, which is the same basic design without the storage. The design allows for an eMMC device or SD card to be added. If anyone needs some connectivity, the Compute Module Board 3 can be plugged in that offers power, HDMI and USB connections, and the ability to program the unit’s flash memory.

Some typical applications for the Compute Module 3 include large-format displays from NEC’s European division. Mini-satellites and signage represent to other potential applications. As Raspberry Pi Foundation Chief Operating Officer James Adams put it, “The thought was to provide the ‘team in a garage’ with easy access to the same technology as the big guys. The Module takes care of the complexity of routing out the processor pins, the high-speed RAM interface, and core power supply, and allows a simple carrier board to provide just what is needed in terms of external interfaces and form factor.”

The Compute Module 3 is available from distributors at a price of $30, and the Lite version is available at $25. The original version of the Compute Module is now available for $25. You can pick up the new devices at Element14 and RS Components today.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Coppock
Mark has been a geek since MS-DOS gave way to Windows and the PalmPilot was a thing. He’s translated his love for…
The $35 Raspberry Pi 3 may soon gain official support for Android
raspberry pi cortana creators update 2013 logo chip

The Raspberry Pi 3, the third generation of the Raspberry Pi Foundation's enduringly popular computing platform, can do just about anything. It has been molded into a cheap Amazon Echo clone, coaxed into streaming movies and TV shows to living room televisions, and has provided the brains for countless Star Trek-inspired home automation systems.

And if activity in a certain database is any indication, it'll soon gain another trick: Android compatibility. A recent addition to the code for Google's Android Open Source Project (AOSP), the framework of Google's Android mobile operating system, suggests that official support for the Raspberry Pi 3 may arrive in the coming weeks or months.

Read more
Sony’s higher-resolution sensor spices up Raspberry Pi’s camera module
Raspberry Pi 8MP Camera Module

Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton said Monday that the camera board accessory for the Raspberry Pi now sports an 8-megapixel Sony IMX219 sensor, replacing the previous OmniVision OV5647 5MP sensor that reached the end of its lifespan back in 2014. The accessory board still costs a mere $25 despite the upgrade in the overall pixel count.

“In our testing, IMX219 has proven to be a fantastic choice,” Upton reports. “You can read all the gory details about IMX219 and the Exmor R back-illuminated sensor architecture on Sony’s website, but suffice to say this is more than just a resolution upgrade: it’s a leap forward in image quality, colour fidelity and low-light performance.”

Read more
Western Digital drops new PiDrive — HDD built with Raspberry Pi 3 in mind
western digital pidrive storage for raspberry pi wdlabs

The latest generation of the Raspberry Pi -- the third, for those counting -- is the most powerful and versatile yet. Bundling a 64bit CPU, a better on-board GPU, and native wireless and Bluetooth support all into one micro-sized PCB is a stellar achievement. But it doesn't have much in the way of storage.

Fortunately, Western Digital has stepped up to support the do-it-yourself community with its new PiDrive, a very low-profile hard drive (HDD) with a modified interface to make connecting it up to the Pi, as easy as pie.

Read more