MCU selection guide

A brief overview of MCU manufacturers and their products.


  • 8-bit tinyAVR, megaAVR
  • 16-bit XMEGA
  • 32-bit AVR UC3, ARM
  • Most common among hobbyists
  • Programming tools are easily available
  • Well supported in Linux - AVR libc, Arduino
  • Dev boards:
      • Arduino Duemilanove: USD30; The most common board ever! Features ATMega 168/328 (1k RAM, 512 EEPROM, 16k program flash) with 6x 10-bit A/D, 6x PWM, and bunch of other digital GPIO pins. User-friendly IDE. We have a couple of these, and some basic expertise (pasky).
      • Arduino Mega: USD40; Very similar, but bigger memory and many more pins. axtheb.
      • Arduino Uno: ?; New iteration of Duemilanove, no experience yet FIXME
    • Elbow: Custom ARM board, b00lean.
  • Other resources: AVR Freaks


  • ARM Cortex
  • Expensive and with many features.
  • Already more like a stripped-down netbook w/o display.


LeafLabs Maple

  • ARM Cortex, many pins…
  • USD50
  • FIXME no experience yet



NXP Semiconductors

  • 32-bit ARM Cortex-M{0,3,4}, ARM7 , ARM9
  • Good support in Linux
  • Dev boards:
    • mbed - overpriced prototyping board based on NXP LPC1768 ARM Cortex M3 with an onboard ethernet controller and online IDE



Texas Instruments

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