A lot of people think because AVRs are 8-bit, they are just toys. And since ARM cortex processors are about the same price, that AVRs are not a good choice.
AVRs, like ARM Cortex, are SOCs (System On a Chip) but have really excellent peripheral devices compared to the ARM Cortex I've used. The AVR's internals are better documented, more consistent, more powerful and easier to use. The AtXmegas in particular, with their hardware event system and DMA controller.
ARMs have all the same peripherals but they are not as well thought out. However, if you need to do a lot of 32-bit math, ARM is a better option.
Edit: Note that a 32MHz atxmega AVR can do about 128k 32-bit floating-point multiplys per second.
Capability, cost, design and firmware: is the hardware/firmware combination capable of what you want, how much is the bill of materials, how laborious is designing the hardware (schematic and routing) and how easy and fast is it to develop on the system.
_Nothing_ so far has AVRs beat on the last aspect and they fare very well on the third also. And this is a shame, because similar development ease and LibC style is something that other vendors could very, very easily reproduce but are stuck up on forcing vendor lock-in and pushing their ever shittier IDEs on you.
However AVRs almost always lose on 1 and 2, especially compared to ARMs, which are just better in almost every way.
It is usually difficult to read the entire manual of an ARM Cortex because of the sheer volume and because the documentation tends to be split over several documents. For an AVR chip, you can easily flip through the entire datasheet.
As to how excellent and powerful the AVR peripherals are -- there are some strange peculiarities and limitations which ATMEL never addressed, for example the strange SPI/slave behaviour: http://rpc.gehennom.org/2013/09/atmega2560-as-an-spi-slave/
A 100% seconded. Check out their new line of ATtiny devices. They start at 0.30USD/pc, but come with every peripheral one could imagine.
Most lower end Cortexes only come with bare bone peripherals and are encumbered with poor glue logic like multi cycle GPIO access or flash waitstates.
If anyone is interested, I have a NTSC patch that I've meaning to merge for a while.
- How can I buy this one already assembled?
- Can it be put in a very silent case but still with a fan so as to not overheat?
- Can I use another display? (With the same technical characteristics but possibly less training on the yes; having a hardware brightness/contrast controls would be a HUGE boon as well).
- Can we use an US keyboard layout?
The fan itself probably will heat up more than the chips here.
I don't understand ...