The Raspberry Pi Foundation has baked two new Pi.
The new “Compute Module 3” and “Compute Module 3 Lite” are re-shaped versions of the Raspberry Pi 3 and are intended to give developers of embedded devices a way to use the RPi as the basis for their designs, without having to accommodate the rather bulky Raspberry Pi design intended for hobbyists.
The Foundation first launched Compute Modules in 2014, describing its first effort as “a Raspberry Pi shrunk down to fit in SODIMM with onboard memory, whose connectors you can customise for your own needs. The Compute Modules also included some on-board flash, for the obvious reason that storage is useful stuff to have around.
The two new models retain the original's concepts, so they fit into a DDR2 SODIMM slot in the hope you like the cheap connectors on offer enough that you build stuff around the Modules.
The US$30 basic module use the same BCM2837 processor as the RPi 3, so can hum along at up to 1.2GHz. There's also 1GByte of RAM and 4Gbytes of on-module eMMC flash.
The “lite” model removes the flash, but brings the SD card interface to the Module pins so a user can wire this up to an eMMC or SD card of their choice. Removing the flash drops the price to $25.
The Foundation has also announced the Compute Module IO Board V3, which lets you program the Compute Modules and gives them HDMI and USB interfaces so you can build systems.
Older Compute Modules remain on sale, at $25, and are compatible with the new board.
The Foundation says “The CM3 is largely backwards-compatible with CM1 designs which have followed our design guidelines.”
“The caveats are that the Module is 1mm taller than the original Module, and the processor core supply (VBAT) can draw significantly more current. Consequently, the processor itself will run much hotter under heavy CPU load, so designers need to consider thermals based on expected use cases.”
The Foundation's usual collaborators - element14, Farnell UK and RS Components – sell the new Compute Modules and plenty of accessories. ®