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Replacing RPi 2B -> 3B+ : Worth it?

  • Hi guys,

    I‘m running my bartop on a RPi 2B and thinking of replacing it with a RPi 3B+. Is it worth to do that?

    The advantages I found:

    • Integrated WiFi - Would replace the WiFi USB dongle on my RPi2B

    • 1400 MHz instead 800 MHz (performance boost)

    • More power consumption (My actual RPi 2B sometimes shows the lightning bolt with my used 2.5A power supply). Probably it would trigger it more often :(

    What‘s your opinion? Should I go on with the hardware upgrade oder wait for a RPi 4?

    Best regards,

  • Global Moderator

    it depends if there are any games that you can't run at full speed now that you'd like to be able to.

  • What do you have hooked up to your Pi? I have a Pi 3 with often 4 usb slots in use (mouse, keyboard, controller, usb flash drive) and I've never seen the lightning bolt. Make sure you use a high quality adapter & micro usb cable, like the official Pi adapter.

  • @itolga It'll easily be 8-12 months before the Pi 4 gets released. The Pi 3B+ also has better Bluetooth performance and better heat dissipation allowing it to run at the 1.4ghz cooler than previously when overclocked on a Pi 3. For the price it is a good upgrade, but as others said, it is only worth it if you have performance issues with emulators or other applications.

    Personally, for -$35 bucks, and the fact that I have to own every model, I always upgrade.

  • @bobharris To be honest, just one keyboard and the joystick controller. I specially bought a PSU wit 5V / 3A output and the Pi constantly showed me the lightning bolt. I tried different cables and found one that almost fixed the lightning bolt, so it came up more less than with the other PSU. So I replaced the PSU with another one, which has 4x USB 5A / 2,4A instead and the lightning bolt came up more less. Maybe it's a cable issue and I really don't want to buy a fake thick USB cable which has thin wires inside.
    Do you have a tip for me which brand I could take?

    @dankcushions There are some games which don't run but it's an emulator issue I think. Metal Slug for example is slow when playing it.

    @TheDataCereal Yes, you're right, mate. I have some performance issues with my 2B, for example when scrolling through the spinner (Attract Mode with RoboSpin theme). I also think I should try it with an upgrade.

    If I take the 3B+, can I just plug and play the microSD card and go on with RetroPie? Or does it need some installation and/or config stuff because of the hardware change?

    Thanks and best regards,

  • @itolga No your current Jessie image won't work with the 3b+ (needs Stretch). It's recommended to start out with a fresh image. But some have succesfully converted their image from Jessie to Stretch.
    (Or buy a 3B instead..that one will accept your image just fine and the upgrade will fix the performance issues you're having now. The + is only marginally have to play for example N64 games to notice a small difference.)

    My recommendation would be to get the official Pi 2.5 A adapter.

    By the way, some Metal slug games have slowdown by default. Some people like it that way (authenticity and all)...I don't, so in the ingame Retroarch menu I overclocked the emulated cpu to 150% and the slowdown is gone. (Especially the Shocktroopers games benefit from that.)

  • @bobharris My image is "Stretch" already and I ordered this PSU now:

    The user reviews of this product are great. I'm excited :)
    Thanks for the overclocking tip. I'll try that.

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