Difference Between Different Generations of Raspberry Pi Models

In this article, we will discuss the Raspberry Pi development board and its different generations. After this, we will cover each generation in detail along with their individual models. In this article, we will cover the first three generations of Raspberry Pi.

Introduction and History of the Raspberry Pi Model

The Raspberry Pi model is a tiny computer, and it has all the features and possibilities just like a normal single-board computer. It has all the computer’s peripheral features, such as RAM, ROM, processors, Wi-Fi ports, and SD cards. Firstly, it was developed in February 2012 by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the United Kingdom. Its main goal was to promote and improve the teaching level of schools and colleges in developing countries in the field of computer sciences.

The Raspberry Pi module works just like a computer when the key board, mouse, and LCD display connect with it. Because these modules are less expensive in comparison to the normal computer, in the beginning, their utilization was in schools and colleges in computer science departments. They were helpful for basic learning about computer sciences such as program learning machine language, or C language. But currently, different projects are using different generations of Raspberry Pi modules. In the next paragraph, we will explain the different generations of raspberry modules in detail. We can see a simple Raspberry Pi module in Figure 1 with peripheral ports.

A Simple Raspberry Pi Module with all Peripheral Ports
Raspberry Pi

Different Generations of Raspberry Pi Modules

Currently, there are only four generations of Raspberry Pi modules, but these generations have different models.

  1. The Raspberry Pi Generation 1
  2. The Raspberry Pi Generation 2
  3. The Raspberry Pi Generation 3
  4. The Raspberry Pi Generation 4

Raspberry Pi Generation 1

The first Raspberry Pi 1 generation was released in 2012. This generation was very simple and inexpensive, but it has different models, such as model A, model B, and model B+.

Model A of Raspberry Pi 1:

This model A has very limited features, such as 256 MB of RAM, only one external port, and only one USB port. This was developed for embedded and robotics projects because it limited USB and external ports. It has 26 general-purpose input and output (GPIO) pins. This model is very lightweight and consumes less power. Still, this model is useful in projects where low power and low weight are paramount, such as high-altitude ballooning and high-jinks. Alternatively, this model with a wi-fi dongle is ideal for users who want to use the Raspberry Pi as a media center behind their television.

Model B of Raspberry Pi 1

The model B has more features and ports than the model A. It has 512 MB of RAM, two USB ports, and 100 MB of external ports. Because it has the same GPIO pins as model A, its applications are nearly identical.

Model B+ of Raspberry Pi 1

The model B+ is the final version of the Raspberry Pi generation 1, and it was developed in July 2015. It replaces the previous model B with its 40 general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins; the working of the first 26 is the same as in models A and B. It has 2 USB ports, a better hot plug, and overcurrent behavior in comparison to models A and B. This model also has a microSD card-injected facility, a dedicated low-noise power supply for audio circuits, a neater form factor, and consumes very little power. We can see the models A, B, and B+ in Figure 2.

difference between Raspberry Pi 1 2 and 3
Raspberry Pi generation 1 models

Raspberry Pi Generation 2

The Raspberry Pi generation 2 only has one model, which is called model B. After that, there are no further models in the Raspberry Pi generation 2 because at that time the work was going on for the research of the Raspberry Pi generation 3.

Model B of Raspberry Pi 2:

The Raspberry Pi 2 model B has so many more features than the Raspberry Pi 1. It has a Broadcom BCM 2837 Arm7 quad-core processor, which could be powered up through a single-board computer running at 900 MHz. This model comes with 1 GB of RAM, which is enough for handling more powerful and bigger applications with ease. It has a footprint and board layout that are almost the same as model B+ of the Raspberry Pi 1. It has full HAT (hardware attached on top) compatibility. This Raspberry Pi model also has 40 general-purpose input and output pins, like model B+ of the Raspberry Pi 1.

These general-purpose input and output pins are fully compatible with the Raspberry Pi 1 models A, B, and B+. This model has camera support that uses a CSI port. It also has a screen display port that uses a DSI port. It has a microSD port for operating our system and storing data. Also, it has a 10/100 external port for connecting this raspberry model quickly to the internet. It also has 4 USB ports, and these ports provide 1.2 AMP current for any USB port because it has a very advanced power management system. This Raspberry model can create and manage our documents and spreadsheets by using LibreOffice. We can build our own workstation, time-lapse videos, HD audio, GPS tracking, create space programming, and enjoy more fast and advanced games.

Raspberry Pi Generation 3

The Raspberry Pi Generation 3 also has only one model, which is the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. The Raspberry Pi 2 was replaced by this model B in February 2016. If we see all the models of Raspberry physically, then there is not so much difference between all the models, but if we see them feature-wise, then there is so much difference between all the models.

Model B of Raspberry Pi 3:

The Raspberry Pi 3 model B looks like the Raspberry Pi 2 model B. Both have almost the same PCB, 1GB of RAM, 4 USB ports, 40 general-purpose input and output ports, a full HDMI port for audio video, external ports for connecting this with any external system, a combined 3.5 mm audio video jack, a CSI port for connecting it with any digital camera, a DSI port for connecting it with any digital display or LCD display, push-pull microSD slots, and a video core VI for 3D graphics. All these above features are almost the same as the Raspberry Pi 2 model B. But the major difference between these two models is that the Raspberry Pi 2 has a quad-core 900 MHz central processing unit (CPU), while the Raspberry Pi 3 has a quad-core 1.2 GHz central processing unit (CPU). It has wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity facilities.

The heavy central processing unit, wi-fi, and Bluetooth facility made this more reliable and compact in comparison to the other Raspberry Pi models. This advanced Raspberry Pi 3 model B could be used in advanced applications and projects such as writing our own game, creating a wireless extender, making a game boy, a home arcade box, a media center for our TV, making a Kodi steamer, and many more projects.

Raspberry Pi Generation 4

The latest generation of the Raspberry Pi is version 4. This was launched in June 2019. This was a highly anticipated upgrade, as it provides notable improvements to the microcomputer. With improvements in processing power, memory, and connectivity, the Raspberry Pi 4 offers a significant boost in performance and versatility.

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B:

The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is the latest addition to the Raspberry Pi family. This board has several major improvements over previous generations. The generation 4 comes with a powerful quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) processor clocked at 1.5 GHz. It allows for faster processing and improves performance. Generation 4 comes in 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB of LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM variants, providing more memory for intensive tasks.

The Model B includes dual micro-HDMI ports that support up to 4K resolution, making it perfect for multimedia applications. It also has two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, which help with faster data transfer and expanded connectivity. Other features include a gigabit Ethernet port, dual-band Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.0 for seamless network connectivity. It still maintains compatibility with previous models by offering a 40-pin GPIO header. The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is a versatile and powerful device suitable for a wide range of projects and applications.

Raspberry Pi 400:

The Raspberry Pi 400, although different from its previous models, offers a unique implementation of the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. This has a built-in compact keyboard, which provides a convenient and integrated solution for users. The Raspberry Pi 400’s features and specifications are the same as those of Model B, making it a compact and portable computer with exceptional performance.

The Raspberry Pi 400 includes a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with 4GB of RAM. It has a USB-C power supply along with a microSD card with the operating system preloaded and a GPIO header for expansion. It is simple to set up and enhances the user experience.


In conclusion, this tutorial provides an in-depth overview of Raspberry Pi microcomputer and its different generations and their models. It covers Raspberry Pi’s generation 1, generation 2, generation 3 and generation 4 to help us better understand the differences. Hopefully this was helpful in expanding your knowledge.

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