Whats Better The Real Deal Or A Clone
Depends what you want it to do. I have 2 Duemilanoves that I only use for occasional code testing. I have Promini's that I built into circuits. I have built the standalone circuits using just a DIP '328, xtal, 22 pf caps, 100nf decoupling caps (so basically a promini with a DIP and no regulator). I designed a little card with a QFP '328 and the parts in the prior sentence, with header pins and extra ground contacts. I designed a larger card with a larger uC (atmega1284, 32 IO, 128K memory, 2 serial ports), and added a real time clock, SD card, RS232 driver, because I wanted something more than a '328 Arduino with stuff stacked on top of it. I've designed cards with '328's and other drivers for folks. I've designed cards with '644s & '1284s and other collections of specific parts for folks.
All worked fine.
What'd you have in mind for doing with yours?
Some of the clones have specific advantages (other than just price) over the original. Breadboard compatible. Kits or bare boards. Different power supplies. Extra features. Missing features (why have a USB port if your application won't use it?) Different features. "More open source" (ie schematic/pcb in an open source CAD program.) Encouraging a diverse and thriving ecosystem.
But I wouldn't buy an exact clone claiming to be an Arduino at 60% of the price. That's encouraging the wrong sorts of behavior.
westfw: But I wouldn't buy an exact clone claiming to be an Arduino at 60% of the price. That's encouraging the wrong sorts of behavior.
If you mean a "fake" Arduino (a board that claims to be a REAL "official" arduino but isn't) then I totally agree.
But other than that, I say let the free market rule (it is a open hardware design which encourages and invites competition) and buy the board that gives you the best value for your dollar. IMHO, the real Arduino's are bit pricey these days for what they are, given that there are many other 3rd party boards out there that can offer the same or in some cases better or additional functionality at a lower price point, thereby offering better value.
This is particularly true if you start to look beyond the 8bit AVR based boards to the 32bit boards like the chipKit Uno32 or Max32.