Which board to use?

I'm about to begin using Arduino for the first time, hopefully within the next week. I have extensive programming knowledge, over 10 years worth and I've done small electronics projects before, such as BEAM Robots.

Given this information, I would like to know which Arduino board I should buy first? Should I buy the Uno or the Mega 2560. My eventual goal, after completing a few small projects would be to build something like a hexapod or a quadruped robot with various sensors etc. Not being too specific as I don't have an actual plan yet and I'm sure I'll find plenty of other project ideas to use the Arduino for as it's main attractive factor for me is that it's pretty much only limited by your imagination.

I have read that the Uno can only control up to absolute maximum 12 servos. Ideally a quadruped with a moving head would need 14. So that's a disadvantage. But I've also read that the Mega 2560 can only take about 10,000 program uploads, which doesn't sound like a lot? I sometimes easily run 30 or 40 builds a day when doing other software development. Although maybe it's different in conjunction with hardware?

I would like my small investment to last as long as possible, but if I buy the Uno, I'm worried that I'll end up needing more pins and will have to upgrade and if I buy the Mega, I might run too many uploads and kill it within 6 months or so.

Which one would be the best investment at the moment?

I always recommend that one starts out with the basic Uno board, it's just a better platform for getting up to speed with most all the examples and libraries that iare out there. The mega board is pretty similar except for more memory and I/O pins but there are some little differences that can trip some up when first starting out. And I believe you will find out the as you gain experience with the arduino platform and start developing your own projects you will not stand by for long owning just one arduino board, you will want more. So I would hold off on the mega board until you are actually developing a project requiring the added capacity the mega offers.

As far as the 10K upload figure for the FRAM memory, that applies to all the atmel AVR chips, but in reality it is not a problem (that's a lot of uploads, I've never hit a limit in 4 years) and as I said you will end up owning more then one board as time passes. Also the AVR chip on a Uno rev3 board is mounted in a DIP socket and a replacement avr chip is about a $5 purchase, so don't fear wearing one out.

Lefty