Choosing a Board or Micro-controller

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If you are choosing between Raspberry Pi, Arduino, ESP, and PIC, all of which have good community support, here are some pros and cons for each:

  • Raspberry Pi
   Pros
     Good computing power
     Good human interface - can easily support keyboard, mouse, and monitor
     Supports multi-tasking
   Cons
     Low voltage I/O with low drive capability
     Harder to do real-time intensive tasks
  • Arduino
   Pros
     Very easy to get up and running quickly
     Good support for external devices such as sensors and motors
     Better for real-time tasks
     Built in I/O and interrupt functions
     Standard libraries to support motors, LCDs, communications links, etc.
   Cons
     No operating system - cannot multi-task
  • ESP (8266 and 32)
   Pros
     Very easy to get up and running quickly
     Great WiFi support
     Very low price
     Good support for external devices such as sensors and motors
     Better for real-time tasks
     Built in I/O and interrupt functions
     Standard libraries to support motors, LCDs, communications links, etc.
   Cons
     No operating system - cannot multi-task
  • PIC
   Pros
     Many flavors to choose from
     Lowest cost for a commercial design
     Most flexibility for a custom design
     Can get very high performance
     Libraries and sample code support similar to Arduino but must be compiled in
   Cons 
     Requires custom circuit design - must be prototyped or have a board built
     Requires special programmer (not directly programmable from USB)   

If you are considering a board not listed above, Make Magazine has an article that may help you choose Maker's Guide to Boards.