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Raspberry Pi 3 vs. Pi 2: What's New?

The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the Raspberry Pi 3 today. The latest version of the $35, credit-card sized computer can still plug into a TV and a keyboard, and can still be used for all manner of computing tasks such as browsing the Web, playing games and getting work done. But the newest version is the first Pi with 64-bit processing and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. 

Raspberry Pi 3Raspberry Pi 2
Processor1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU
StorageOnboard microSD slotOnboard microSD slot
Networking 10/100 Mbit Ethernet with 802.11n Wi-Fi10/100 Mbit Ethernet, no Wi-Fi
BluetoothYes (BT 4.1)No
USB Ports44

But even though the Raspberry Pi Foundation claims the new Raspberry Pi 3 is 50-percent faster than the last one, its pricing remains just $35. The new model's built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are a big deal because it means tinkerers don’t have to solder on third-party communications add-ons or work in an Ethernet cord to their final designs. Instead, the Pi 3 is set up for wireless right out of the box.

MORE: Raspberry Pi 2 Model B: Full Review

The increased processing speed also should help programmers who previously felt a little stifled by a lack of oomph. Preliminary benchmarks from MagPi Magazine peg the Raspberry Pi as drawing just 0.16 more amps under load than the Raspberry Pi 2. However, the Raspberry Pi still isn’t nearly as powerful as a regular desktop Its 1.2-GHz quad-core processor is pretty similar to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 chip, which was first released back in December 2013.

We do wish the  Raspberry Pi 3 offered more than 1GB of storage. It's also unfortunate that certain components, such as Ethernet, are still tied to the USB controller. As for the latter, the Raspberry Pi Foundation says that backwards compatibility was a top priority, which should be a boon to makers familiar with previous Raspberry Pi machines.