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I've read several comparisons of the Model B vs. B+, and they mention that one of the benefits of the B+ is it has lower power consumption.

With the same processor, and most of the same components, how, exactly, did they get the power consumption of the B+ lower than the B? Is there a trade off with performance for some components, ports or headers?

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Have a look through https://learn.adafruit.com/introducing-the-raspberry-pi-model-b-plus-plus-differences-vs-model-b/power-supply

The power supply is now more efficient at converting from 5V to 3V3/2V5/1V8.

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