Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 flaunts a quad-core SoC

The original Raspberry Pi was originally intended to be a low-powered, easily-extensible computer to help children learn computer science concepts. Those traits made the unit popular with all kinds users, including retro video game enthusiasts, IoT developers, and embedded systems designers. Back in 2014, the Raspberry Pi Foundation released the Pi Compute Module variant, a single-board computer with 4GB of integrated eMMC storage and a smaller footprint. The Foundation has now released a refreshed Compute Module 3, sporting the same quad-core SoC and 1GB of RAM as the latest Raspberry Pi 3. The CM3 is intended for use in embedded applications and IoT devices.

The Module 3's quad-core Soc is based on a Cortex A53 design running at 1.2 GHz. This spec bump results in a claimed ten-fold boost to computing power when compared to the the original Compute Module's single-core 700 MHz SoC. The new model ships with 4GB of eMMC storage, and there's a slightly-cheaper "Lite" version available with no onboard flash.

The CM3 fits into the same type of physical slot as before, which provides all the I/O connectivity. Users will need additional hardware like the Compute Module IO Board V3 (CMIO3) development board to add Ethernet jacks, USB ports, and GPIO pins. Both the CM3 and CMIO3 lack the integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities of the Raspberry Pi 3, too. Although it's possible to use the CM3 in place of an older Compute Module board, the CM3's larger dimensions and higher power consumption might throw a couple wrinkles into the upgrade process.

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 is available now for $30 with 4GB of onboard storage or $25 without. Most buyers will want at least one development breakout board, which sells for about $120 (or £96). The CM3 can be used with the Pi Foundation's Raspbian operating system or Microsoft's Windows 10 IoT Core.

Comments closed
    • ludi
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]The CM3 is intended for use in embedded applications [b<]and IoT devices.[/b<][/quote<] Well, I guess it was bound to turn evil eventually.

    • just brew it!
    • 3 years ago

    With a sufficiently efficient cooling solution this would allow you to cram an impressive amount of computing power into a very small form factor.

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      You know, if you hooked this thing up to a battery, added a touchscreen, radios, and more RAM and storage, then you might have a low-end smartphone!

        • just brew it!
        • 3 years ago

        I was thinking more along the lines of a board with dozens of SODIMM slots packed closely together, along with some sort of communication fabric to allow the modules to talk to the outside world. Design it for liquid immersion cooling, and I bet you could cram hundreds of cores into a desktop-style case.

          • tipoo
          • 3 years ago

          Similar concept with Pis, university built a loosely defined ‘super’computer with them and lego:

          [url<]http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/09/university-builds-cheap-supercomputer-with-raspberry-pi-and-legos/[/url<]

      • willmore
      • 3 years ago

      Take a look into the SOPine: [url<]https://www.pine64.org/?page_id=1491[/url<] That device will actually run in 64 bit mode. There's already an announcement of a base board that will hold 9 of them--8 for slaves and 1 for cluster controller--along with a GigE switch. Also, the SOPine has GigE where the CM3 has nothing. Well, it has USB 2.0 and you can put a network controller on that, but that adds latency, packet loss, etc.

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    I was hoping this news was a spec update to the Pi 3 at first, but it’s only bringing the compute module up to where the Pi 3 is. The Pi 3 currently can lag on some N64 emulation and Gamecube is out of the question, so a spec bump around now would be nice.

      • PBCrunch
      • 3 years ago

      Don’t encourage the Pi Foundation to keep bumping clock speeds. The Foundation needs to focus on bringing the I/O into the 21st century. The SD cards suck, the 10/100 Ethernet sucks, and running everything over a crappy USB 2.0 bus really sucks. Bring on USB 3.0, gigabit Ethernet, and some way to add decent storage performance. eMMC on the standard Pi would be a great start.

        • tipoo
        • 3 years ago

        whynotboth.jpg.

        I can’t imagine a board with updated IO wouldn’t also update the SoC. Might actually be necessary to do the latter for the former.

    • Waco
    • 3 years ago

    Hmm…I wonder if anyone has made the mistake of plugging these into SODIMM slots…

      • DarkStar1
      • 3 years ago

      If my memory serves me, that’s what they’re designed to fit into.

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        So you should be careful not to RAM this module into the wrong slot?

          • TheJack
          • 3 years ago

          Lots of upvotes. Sex sells!

        • tipoo
        • 3 years ago

        They’re designed for the physical spec to save design cost, but they’re not pin compatible with RAM access, hence the comment.

          • Waco
          • 3 years ago

          Exactly. I wonder if the magic smoke comes out. 🙂

          • DarkStar1
          • 3 years ago

          Well yes, but my point was they’re designed for that slot – i.e. it’ll fit (won’t work obviously, but it won’t explode either.) And unfortunately to my knowledge there are no plans for a pi4 model any time this year, only refreshes of the existing product line.

      • caconym
      • 3 years ago

      “even my RAM has RAM!”

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]This spec bump results in a claimed ten-fold boost to computing power when compared to the the original Compute Module's single-core 700 MHz SoC.[/quote<] Let's unpack that shall we? So most of that is from going from 1 core to 4 cores, so there's a 2.5 factor per core. Then look at the 71% clockspeed boost and we can get the IPC uplift of about 46%. Ergo: [b<]RYZEN LAUNCH CONFIRMED![/b<]

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      I think they were doing some sort of PS3 era Sony joint CPU+GPU number.

      • willmore
      • 3 years ago

      They’re going from 700MHz to 1.2GHz. One core to four. That’s for a total of 6.8. That leaves the 46% your mention left. That’s explained by the two generations of processor improvement. ARM v6 to v8.

      If they would manage to get it running in 64 bit mode, there’s a 2x improvement for some workloads available there.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This