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64-bit Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 ships for $25 to $30

Jan 16, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 3,007 views
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The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 has arrived with 1GB RAM and the same quad-core -A53 SoC as the RPi 3, available for $30, or $25 without 4GB eMMC.

Raspberry Pi Trading’s first 64-bit computer-on-module version of their flagship single board computer has finally arrived. Despite the name, the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3) is only the second generation of the CM1. Its name syncs up with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B SBC, which uses the same quad-core, 64-bit Broadcom SoC. The CM3 is now shipping in $30 Standard (4GB eMMC) or $25 Lite versions, while the CM1 drops in price to $25.



Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3
(click image to enlarge)

Like most COMs, the CM3 is aimed more at commercial manufacturers than at hobbyist makers, although it primarily targets smaller operations. “The thought was to provide the ‘team in a garage’ with easy access to the same technology as the big guys,” writes RPi Trading CEO Eben Upton in his blog announcement. “The Module takes care of the complexity of routing out the processor pins, the high speed RAM interface, and core power supply, and allows a simple carrier board to provide just what is needed in terms of external interfaces and form factor.”

The CM3 was largely revealed in October in a NEC Display Solutions announcement of CM3-based digital signage display computers. Despite the COM focus, the module is backed up by the same Raspberry Pi Foundation and community site, and runs the same open source Linux software, as the other RPi boards. Detailed hardware documentation and schematics have already been posted.



CM3 Standard (left) and Lite (right) version shown in front (top) and back (bottoms) views
(click image to enlarge)

As previously revealed, the CM3 is equipped with the Broadcom BCM2837 SoC, whose four Cortex-A53 cores are clocked to 1.2GHz. This upgrade gives the CM3 roughly 10x the CPU performance of the CM1, claims Upton. The BCM2837 also includes the same 400MHz VideoCore IV GPU, but lacks the RPi 3’s built-in WiFi and Bluetooth.

The CM3 offers the same 1GB of LPDDR2 RAM found on the RPi 3, compared to 512MB on the CM1. The Standard version has 4GB of built-in eMMC flash, while the Lite (CM3L) model instead “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,” writes Upton.



CM3 (left) compared to one millimeter shorter CM1
(click image to enlarge)

Otherwise, the two Compute Modules are identical and are pin compatible, despite the new version being a millimeter longer in one dimension, measuring 67.6 x 31mm instead of 67.6 x 30mm. By comparison, the Raspberry Pi Zero SBC, which straddles the line between SBC and COM, measures 65 x 30mm, and the RPi 3 is 86 x 56mm.

The CM3’s VBAT supply can now draw significantly more power under heavy CPU load, leading Upon to advise designers to “consider thermals based on expected use cases.” PC World quotes Upton as saying that the CM3 is not optimal for battery-powered gizmos, and that at full power, the board can draw as much as 4 Watts. The lowest sleep mode runs at about 100mW.



Compute Module IO Board V3 breakout with both Standard and Lite CM3 modules (left) and RPi CM3 block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The optional, open license breakout board, called the Compute Module IO Board V3 (CMIO3), is an updated version of the original carrier, and is backward compatible with the CM1. The board powers the CM3 with 5VDC via micro-USB, and lets you program eMMC or SD card memory. A micro-SD slot is onboard.

The CMIO3 lets you access I/O via dual 60-pin headers and flexi connectors. There are also coastline HDMI and USB host ports, as well as a pair each of MIPI-DSI and -CSI connections.

 
Further information

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 is available for sale in $30 Standard or $25 Lite versions at Element14 in the U.S. and at RS or at Farnell in the UK. The Compute Module IO Board V3 is available from Element14 for $200, including both Standard and Lite versions of the CM3, as well as various cables, jumper wires, and a power supply.

More information on the CM3 may be found in the RPi CM3 blog announcement and CM3 datasheet (PDF).
 

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3 responses to “64-bit Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 ships for $25 to $30”

  1. Jon Smirl says:

    “The Module takes care of the complexity of routing out the processor pins, the high speed RAM interface, and core power supply, and allows a simple carrier board to provide just what is needed in terms of external interfaces and form factor.” should also add… and we get the chips from Broadcom because they won’t sell them to you.

  2. Robert Zaccour says:

    Why do these single board computes always have such low RAM? I’d like to seem them with at least 6 GB of RAM.

  3. Rob says:

    Industrial computer modberry already in sale with this module

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