I'm sure there is no significant difference between the capabilities of Atmel and Microchip MCUs - but there is no equivalent of the Arduino system for PICs.
And I like the fact that the Arduino system is OpenSource.
I think there are some big differences particularly when you compare
devices and capabilities used in "duino" type boards.
Lets see: (comparing Arduino Uno to Chipkit Uno32 which is atmega328 vs PIC32MX320F128)
- 32 bit pic vs 8bit AVR
- The AVR has harvard architecture which complicates code vs flat addressing model
- 80 Mhz pic vs 16mhz AVR
- 128k flash on pic vs 32k flash on AVR
- 16k RAM on pic vs 2k RAM on AVR
- 3v VCC on pic vs 5v on AVR.
- 3v outputs on pic vs 5v on AVR (pic is 5v tolerant on inputs)
There is an "Arduino" equivalent IDE and ecosystem for PICs.
Just look at the chipkit stuff and MPIDE which is the same IDE with
enhancements for the PIC chips.
MPIDE is a fork of the Arduino IDE to handle non AVR chips. It was done
about the same time the Arduino team created their own IDE fork for DUE.
And it is all open source.
And then look at how you can create a simple breadboard PIC system using a DIP based chip
just like like you can with AVR:
So for about the same money you can get DIP based micro that
has more resources, more capabilities, and is so much faster than the AVR DIP solutions.
Compare the specs of the DIP PIC32MX250F128B to the DIP Atmega328
And for s/w, the PICs have nearly an identical open source GUI IDE and toolset available.
To me the the new PICs blow the AVRs out of the water.
For additional resources over AVR, there is the Atmel based
DUE which has more resources and is faster than the AVRs but for many applications
I think the new PICs are better particularly for DIY hobbyists since
the PICs can be had in a DIP package.
The PICs are also 5v tolerant vs the ARM used in DUE is not.
To me a great "duino" board would be a PIC based board that used
That would be like a Arduino Uno on Steroids and closer the original
heritage of the Arduino which started out as a simple DIP based experimenters