bootloader on attiny85

I am wanting to program some attindy85 projects and build the code with Arduino atting85 target.

I am seeing mixed messages about whether I want or need a bootloader, however. Since the attiny does not have any conventionsl UART it seems unlikely the bootloader would add any value and I see some people doing projects without it. OTOH, it seems like the bootloader has the ability to run the chip at 8MHz. Is there more to this than simply clearing the CKDIV8 fuse? I can do that using a programmer. What extra things would I get by using a bootloader?

If I want to program the chips with a TL866A (generic ISP programmer) is there a clean way to ask the IDE to just build a .HEX and stop? I can build with AVRDude configured, let it fail, and then go find the .HEX I guess, but it seems a little weird that there is no option to just stop with the .HEX.


The only reason to use a bootloader is so that you can upload using a Serial-USB adapter, rather than a dedicated programmer. You can run the ATTiny85 at whatever speed either with or without a bootloader, the presence of a bootloader has no effect on the clock speed.