The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Compute Module line of devices are basically tiny computers that look like sticks of laptop memory. But they feature a processor, memory, and storage, all stuffed into a tiny package.
What they lack are USB and HDMI ports. You’re not supposed to use a Compute Module as a desktop PC. Instead, it’s designed to allow professional and amateur device makers to create their own products powered by the same hardware used in a Raspberry Pi computer. For example, NEC plans to launch a series of smart TVs that use the Compute Module 3.
The first Compute Module was released in 2014, and now the Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched a new version that’s based on the Raspberry Pi 3.
That means it has the same 1.2 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 64-bit processor and the same 1GB of RAM. It also has 4GB of eMMC flash storage.
There’s also a new Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 Lite, which has an SD card interface instead of built-in storage, allowing users to connect to eMMC or SD card storage. The Lite model is also a bit cheaper.
Raspberry Pi’s Compute Module 3 costs $30, while the Compute Module 3 Lite is $25. The foundation will continue to offer the original Compute Module at a new, lower price of $25 for customers that would rather use the first-generation hardware.
Developers looking to get started with the Compute Module can also pick up a new Compute Module IO Board V3 breakout board, which brings GPIO pins, USB ports, and other interfaces. You can insert the Compute Module 3 into the new board like a stick of RAM. It also accepts first-generation Compute Modules.
The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 is now available from Element14 and RS Components.