It may not be the long-awaited Pi 4, but today the Raspberry Pi foundation is welcoming a new member to its family, the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ (CM3+). Built for industrial clients who want to use the Pi platform with their own custom boards, the CM3+ is the size and shape of a DDR2 SODIMM module and can pop into an industry-standard SODIMM slot.
A regular Raspberry Pi or even a Pi Zero comes with its fair share of on-board ports and pins, but if you're a large company that's manufacturing a monitor or a set-top box, you might just want the Pi's SoC in as small a form-factor as possible. Then you can connect it to only the I/O you need, even if that means doubling the standard number of Raspberry Pi pins from 40 to 80.
|Processor||Broadcomm BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 64-bit Soc @ 1.2GHz|
|Storage||0, 8, 16 or 32GB eMMC Storage|
|Size||67.6 x 31.1 x 3.7 mm (2.7 x 1.2 x .14 inches)|
|Weight||9 g (0.02 pounds)|
|Price||$25 - $40 U.S.|
The Pi CM3+ is just the latest of the foundation's Compute Modules, joining the CM3, CM3 Lite and CM1. It promises faster speeds and more storage than its predecessors.
The Raspberry Pi CM3+ features the same BCM2837B0 processor as the latest-generation Pi, the Raspberry Pi 3B+. It's a slight upgrade over the BCM2837 chip currently found in the CM3 and CM3 Lite. However, the BCM2837B0 in the CM3+ will only run at 1.2 GHz, as opposed to the 1.4 GHz found in its more mainstream sibling, the 3B+. That's in part down to the fact that the new compute module doesn't have the same PMIC (power management integrated circuit) found in the 3B+ meaning, that unfortunately it's not possible to run it at that 1.4 GHz speed. Raspberry Pi CEO, Eben Upton, said that this decision was made so that the CM3+ will have better thermals than the CM3, allowing it to have better sustained performance, something more valuable than pure brute speed in the enterprise industry.
On top of that, the new CM3+ comes with a whole swathe of new storage options. You can nab yourself either 8GB, 16GB or 32GB of eMMC storage, or there's also the CM3+ Lite with no on-board storage, which you can add your own storage to. The prior-gen CM3 only came with 4GB or in a lite version.
Because the Compute Modules don't come with microSD card readers like regular Pis do, you either need on-board storage or to build storage into the I/O board you attach it to. The storage comes with NOOBs, the Raspbian OS installer, on it as standard. All the modules come with 1GB of LPDDR2 RAM.
The foundation expects to manufacture the CM3+ model variants well into the year 2026. Pricing starts at $30 for the CM3+ 8GB, $35 for the CM3+ 16GB, and $40 for the 32GB, minus taxes and shipping. The CM3+/Lite comes in at $25. There will also be a Raspberry Pi CM3+ developer kit that comes with an I/O board, a 32GB CM3+ and a CM3+ Lite. Find out more here.