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MC Grid

With all the microcontrollers and single board computers on the market, sometimes it’s hard to see all your options. That’s why we made up this quick reference sheet for the 8 most popular boards we sell in the Maker Shed. This handy chart (which we lovingly refer to as the “Grid”) shows the speed, processor, memory, I/O pins, available kits and more to help you make a quick distinction on what board you need for your project. We’ll be keeping this list updated so bookmark it now for future reference!

Michael Castor

I am the Evangelist for the Maker Shed. It seems that there is no limit to my making interests. I’m a tinkerer at heart and have a passion for solving problems and figuring out how things work. When not working for Make I can be found falling off my unicycle, running in adverse weather conditions, skiing down the nearest hill, restoring vintage motorcycles, or working on my car.


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Comments

  1. Fabien Royer says:

    Great chart. However, there are no analog pins on the Raspberry Pi out of the box.

    1. Michael Castor says:

      Hi Fabien – Thanks for pointing that out! Fixed!

  2. predictor says:

    Not to knock anyone’s favorite microcontroller, but I count 6 Arduinos, Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone. This is a useful table, but it’d be interesting to see other microcontrollers on here, like the BASIC Stamp or industry favorites like the 8051 or 68HC11 families.

    1. I tend to agree with predictor. It’s niced to see the *Duino options, but what about offerings from TI or ARM?

    2. kjs3 says:

      Agreed. Considering there are literally hundreds of really nifty maker options these days, it’s a shame not a moment was spent on this article beyond “what boards sold well this week…cut-n-paste web site to make a table…done. Where’s my check”. I guess you have to publish *something*.

    3. Michael Castor says:

      Hi All,

      Since new microcontrollers and single board computers pop up every day, we had to limit things a bit. We didn’t show things like Arduino clones (Ardweeny, Menta, etc) because they use the same chip as the Uno. We didn’t show things like the MSP 430 Launchpad, Cubie Board, or any other of the multitude of TI / ARM based boards available because we had to draw the line somewhere. We decided (for now) to limit it to just the top 8 boards we carry in the Maker Shed. We may come up with a comprehensive comparison grid in the future.

      Also, the Grid was hard coded in HTML. I really wish it was as easy as cut and paste, it would have made life so much easier ;)

      For a great comprehensive comparison chart for all the Arduino based boards available, check out the ‘All Arduinos’ listing here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsCUiP6WbJIvcG8xalA3QVdmb3JVT0ptWE9VNC02WEE#gid=0

      1. sambrown says:

        “Sorry we only covered arduinos but we had to draw the line somewhere, if you would like to look at some more arduinos, please checkout this listing of arduinos. If you would like to look for a more efficient chip without a bootloader, please look elsewhere”

    4. colga1 says:

      Seconded.
      Also this chart is comparing development/prototyping plattforms, NOT microcontrollers.

  3. [...] Maker Shed Microcontroller Quick Reference Chart. Handy! [...]

  4. sambrown says:

    One may almost think that no MCU without, ‘duino’ in it exists.

    9s12, msp430, goodness, a PIC perhaps?! Though I suppose this list is not for developers.

  5. PJ says:

    Everyone’s so angry…

    Has the Arduino become a bit of an iPhone?

    Although it’s a quality product, the press world’s unending praise and treatment of it as an exclusive has sure seemed to irk those using the microcontroller equivalent of an android.

    1. predictor says:

      I certainly hope no-one took my comment as “angry”. I like the format of this table, and think Arduino deserves multipe entries. I was just making the point that adding columns to this table could only make it better.

  6. It’s already been mentioned that R-Pi has 0 analog pins, but BeagleBone only has 7 ADC pins, not 66. BeagleBone has 8 PWM of the 66 digital pins. The 66 digital pins in addition to acting as interruptible GPIO with pull-up/pull-down have CAN, 8xPWMs, 5xUART, LCDC, GPMC, PRU-ICSS, 2xI2C, SPI, I2S/ASP (audio serial port), 2xMMC, DMA event triggers, quadrature encoder counters and more!

    1. jkridner says:

      I’d also note that processor performance is not determined by clock speed alone. BeagleBone uses an armv7 processor that is dual-issue superscalar with NEON, meaning it executes multiple instructions every clock cycle.

  7. Ian Lee says:

    I see a couple Netduinos. Why not also add some higher-end NETMF & Gadgeteer boards like those from GHI Electronics?

  8. james says:

    Look, the problem is that this isn’t a microcontroller reference chart. It’s simply a list of affordable single board computers. Five of the boards use ARM processors (three Cortex M3s, an A8 and an A11), and the remaining three use Atmel ATmega Microcontrollers. There is no mention of Microchip’s popular PIC or dsPIC chips, the Parallax Propeller, or numerous others such as the once-ubiquitous Intel 8031/8051 line.

    To make matters worse, six of the eight single board computers highlighted are produced by or derived from a single Italian manufacturer — Arduino.

    Make does a disservice to its readers by trying to equate microcontrollers with single board computers. The reality is that it’s possible to create useful devices using only a single $2 ATmega or PIC chip and a handful of capacitors, resistors and an LED or two.

  9. Mr Junkman says:

    The Raspberry Pi & Beagle Bone aren’t microcontrollers.
    They are Single Board computers and don’t belong on a microcontroller reference chart.

  10. Troye Welch says:

    Agreed on all counts. All I can say is that the 8051 will be represented at this year’s (San Mateo) Maker Faire… :-)

  11. Matt Hawkins says:

    The Raspberry Pi has 17 digital GPIO pins. Plus an extra 4 if you solder a 4×2 header to the board. No analog inputs.

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