2 months ago

Compute Module 3 out now!

New model based on Pi 3 is ten times more powerful than the original Compute Module

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched a new version of its Compute Module – a Raspberry Pi in a more flexible form factor, intended to provide an easy and cost-effective route to producing customised products. While the original Module, launched in 2014, contained the guts of a first-generation Pi, the new Compute Module 3 (CM3) is based on the Pi 3, so offers a major boost in performance.

“It’s got the same BCM2837 processor which can run at up to 1.2HGz and 1GB of RAM,” says Foundation COO James Adams. This means it provides twice the RAM and roughly ten times the CPU performance of the original Compute Module (CM1). Just like the Pi 3, the CM3 is able to run Windows 10 IoT Core, opening up many possibilities: “An IoT project can be ported from a Pi 3 onto a custom CM3-based system very easily.”

The Compute Module 3 will be used in NEC’s new range of smart, large-format displays

The Compute Module 3 will be used in NEC’s new range of smart, large-format displays

One issue with the CM1 was the fixed 4GB of eMMC flash storage: “Some users wanted free access to add their own flash [storage],” explains James. To solve this, two versions of the CM3 are being released: one with 4GB eMMC on-board and a ‘Lite’ model which requires the user to add their own SD card socket or eMMC flash. “We expect this version to be quite popular.”

With a few caveats, the CM3 can be used a drop-in replacement for the CM1 since they are pin compatible; the CM3 is 1mm taller, however, while the CPU can pull a lot more current from the VBAT power supply line and will generate far more heat under heavy load.

The Compute Module 3 and CM3 Lite are priced at $30 and $25 respectively (excluding tax and shipping), while the CM1 (which isn’t being obsoleted) is $25. An updated IO breakout board (CMIO3) has also been launched, which will accept all three models. You can purchase yours from element14 or RS Components.

  • phx

    I’ve seen a bunch of compute modules out there. They seem cool, but I’m not sure exactly what they’re used for.
    Can somebody explain a practical use for these?

  • Zudo

    They’re intended to be used for industrial applications, not for a normal user. They require a custom PCB or breakout board.

  • virtualmarc

    Wanted to order one directly as an upgrade for my Slice but no shipping to germany 🙁

  • Tim

    What I’d love to see is a board that’s got 4 or 8 slots on it for these slices.

  • Chambopolis

    can somebody clarify, does this have the same power and performance as the current pi 3??

    I have built a arcade machine, and i find that the Nintendo 64 games look and play like crap.

    any insite would be appreciated

  • TheMonkeyKing

    I like the idea of this integration into monitors. I have a need for ultra slim computing where the user(s) are accessing applications from a web browser set to kiosk mode. I do not want local storage, just enough to drive simple non-HD videos, PDF-type documentation and applications driven through the Netapps-enabled web browser. I will have to test to verify but this seems to me to be the computer that cuts my thin client costs to a tenth of what it is now.

  • Andrew Goodney

    How much would you pay for such a board?

  • tomtiki

    I doubt that a Pi 3 would smoothly render N64 games. That system had a custom graphics processor. Lots of CPU required