How to install Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi 3

About Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi 3 is the newest single board computer from Raspberry Pi Foundation

It was announced in February 2016 , almost two weeks ago. I immediately ordered it from Pi-Hut on February 28th after knowing that they have it in stock. Today, March 11th, I got it in the mailbox! How excited.


Raspberry Pi 3
Raspberry Pi 3

Installing Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi 3

I quickly search the internet to see how to install Ubuntu on it. Since Raspberry Pi 3 is still very new, there are not many articles written about how to install Ubuntu on it. I came across Ubuntu Mate. They have very good instructions on installing Ubuntu 15.10 on Raspberry Pi3. Their desktop looks very nice and I decided to give it a try.

I got a spare 8GB micro SD card and followed their instructions. Installation is very smooth. I am able to get Ubuntu up and running in no time. The only complain is that the bluetooth driver is not ready. I don’t blame anyone because Raspberry Pi 3 is simply new 🙂 .  I am sure that it will be resolved in the near future.

The whole installation used about 3.6GB. It is highly recommended to install it on 8GB or even 16GB micro SD cards.

Below is a screenshot of Ubuntu Mate 15.10 running on Raspberry Pi3.

Ubuntu Mate 15.10 running on Raspberry Pi 3
Ubuntu Mate 15.10 running on Raspberry Pi 3

It shows that 4 CPUs are running on 1GB main memory. I haven’t run any benchmarks on it. But it is definitely faster than my Raspberry Pi B+ and Raspberry Pi 2.

Power consumption

I also read about that Raspberry Pi 3 CPU is warmer than previous generations. Some suggested to put a heat sink. I tested it by feeling it with my finger… yes, it is warmer, but still bearable.

From the readings, Raspberry Pi 3 is drawing about 2W when running Ubuntu Mate.  I am comfortable to use it without a heat sink, at least for now.

Raspberry Pi 3 power consumption
Raspberry Pi 3 power consumption

Next steps

You will find instructions on installing a few useful tools on Raspberry Pi 3 as well as setting up WiFi connection.  In addition,  you may want check out this article if you are planning to add an USB hard disk to your Raspberry Pi.

By the way, last year, I built a Raspberry Pi robot (a rover) and demonstrated it in Computer History Museum on International Pi Day (3.14.15).  I was able to stream HD video from the Pi Camera and control it through my laptop.  With Raspberry Pi 3 and Ubuntu, I am hoping to build a new robot with ROS and explore more about robotics.

For those who wants to build this robot, please check out my write up here.


Raspberry Pi Robot -
Raspberry Pi Robot –






    Hi ! I was wondering wether or not you put up a howto on how you got your pi robot in the first place last year. I’m working on something similar with my kid but I honestly can’t make the hardware part happen. Seems easy, but out of my league anyway… quite frustrating. Anyway, any help I can get, I’ll take it gladly 🙂

  • Riccardo Magrini

    is it possible to install Ubuntu 16.04 server minimal on rpi3, rather to install core 16.04? thanks