Raspberry Pi range grows again

It was Pi time we had a new one.

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the release of the original Raspberry Pi – and it is also the first year that the cheap, credit card-sized computer can celebrate its anniversary on the correct date, having been first put on sale on 29th February, 2012.

And the Raspberry Pi Foundation have celebrated by adding another new version to the range: The Raspberry Pi 3.

The most important change brought in with this version, from a RISC OS user’s point of view, is the new processor, a BCM2837 from Broadcom, which features a 64-bit, quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, running at 1.2GHz.

As an ARMv8 device the processor supports two instruction states, AArch64 and AArch32, with the latter encompassing the A32 (32-bit) instruction set that RISC OS makes use of. That isn’t to say changes aren’t needed to make RISC OS run on it – but those changes shouldn’t be too arduous and, indeed, a number of already prepared changes have appeared in the RISC OS Open CVS today.

On the RISC OS Open forum, Ben Avison explained that “it would have been blindingly obvious in the RISC OS world if we’d started posting ARMv8 updates that something big was afoot, so we’ve been biting our lips until now. Initial support for the Raspberry Pi 3 went into CVS this morning and so will be in tonight’s autobuilder ROM image.”

In other words, by the time anyone in the RISC OS community who has ordered a Raspberry Pi 3 today is in receipt of their new toy, RISC OS should be up and running on it. At least, the version obtained from RISC OS Open – the version provided via ‘NOOBS’ is another matter. According to Ben, “all NOOBS distributions currently have a RISC OS image which is too old to support the Raspberry Pi 3. It will take some time before NOOBS downloads will be updated, and longer still for pre-programmed cards held by retailers.”

Another change with the Raspberry Pi 3 is that it incorporates a BCM43438 to provide both Bluetooth and 802.11n (WiFi) – neither of which are currently supported by RISC OS, unfortunately. In terms of features, everything else about the board remains the same, including the positions of the various connectors (although the board layout itself differs in order to accommodate the 43438).

Something else that remains the same is the price – the new version of the Pi will still retail for around £30 in the UK.

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