Innovation

One Raspberry Pi 3 not powerful enough? Try this five Pi cluster for computing on the edge

A new system lets users pack up to five Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 boards into a single compact, relatively low-cost, power-efficient computing cluster.

If one Raspberry Pi doesn't have enough power for you, then why not use five?

A new system lets users pack up to five Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3) boards into a single compact, relatively low-cost, power-efficient computing cluster.

The miniNodes Raspberry Pi 3 CoM Carrier Board is designed to house multiple CM3 boards for carrying out computing at the edge of a network, for instance for building automation, running a monitoring station on a factory production line, or smart traffic lights in a city.

Edge computing is becoming increasingly common, in situations where IoT sensor data needs to be processed with low-latency or in near real-time, or needs to be handled locally for regulatory reasons.

Network connectivity for the carrier board is provided by an integrated gigabit switch, which feeds all five boards, with the board also powering all five Pi computers.

SEE: Hardware spotlight: The Raspberry Pi (Tech Pro Research)

The board's makers say the device could also be used to create a desktop Pi computing cluster, which could be used to learn about running multiple containers using Docker Swarm or Kubernetes, or as a Linux-based system for Python developers.

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 is based on the same 1.2GHz quad-core, Arm-based processor as the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B but is packed onto a board the same size as a DDR2 small outline dual in-line memory module.

Unlike the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, the Compute Module 3 includes 4GB of eMMC Flash storage but doesn't include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support.

It's also worth noting the price of the system, with the miniNodes Raspberry Pi 3 CoM Carrier Board costing $259 and each Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 costing $30.

There's a wide range of Raspberry Pi clusters out there, with systems ranging all the way up to a 750 board supercomputer.

mininodes-raspberry-pi-multiple-com-carrier-board-3.jpg
Image: miniNodes

Read more about the Raspberry Pi 3

About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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