Raspberry Pi Compute Module Gets Major Upgrade To Target Industry

The £25 Compute Module 3 uses the same Broadcom chip as the Raspberry Pi 3, running10 times faster than its predecessor

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has issued the first major upgrade to the embedded version of the Raspbery Pi system, called the Compute Module (CM), with a new edition running the same processor as the Raspberry Pi 3, released in February of last year.

While the original Raspberry Pi is intended to operate as a stand-alone computer, the Compute Module is aimed at industrial “Internet of Things” applications, using a standard DDR2 SODIMM form factor for which inexpensive sockets are available from a number of manufacturers.


Aimed at ‘team in a garage’

“The thought was to provide the ‘team in a garage’ with easy access to the same technology as the big guys,” the Raspberry Pi Foundation said in its announcement.

The new version joins CM1 and is called CM3 in order to remain sychronised with the numbering of the original Raspberry Pi.

The full version will cost $30 (£25), compared to the Raspberry Pi 3’s $35 price tag, and a “Lite” version, CM3L, is also on sale for $25.

CM3L allows developers more flexibility by adding an SD card interface so that developers can add their choice of eMMC or SD card memory.

Both units include the same processor as the Raspberry Pi 3, a Broadcom BCM2837 processor running at up to 1.2GHz, and1GByte RAM. The processor offers roughly 10 times the CPU performance of the CM1, developers said.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3


CM1 is to remain on sale, with its price reduced to $25.

“We still see this as a valid product in its own right, being a lower-cost and lower-power option where the performance of a CM3 would be overkill,” the foundation stated.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation said the CM3 is “largely” backward-compatible with CM1 designs that follow its design guidelines, but noted the new module is 1mm taller and that its processor core supply can draw significantly more current and can run much hotter under heavy load.

The original module has been used for home and factory automation projects and the new unit has been adopted by NEC to power digital signs, streaming displays and presentation devices, the foundation said.

It supports Linux and can also run Windows IoT Core.

How well do you know Linux, the open source operating system?Try our quiz!