There has been a lot of anticipation for the arrival of the Due, and with good reason. The board's capabilities far exceed other Arduino boards and does a good job rounding out the product line. Here are some key specs that Arduino proudly publishes on the product's page:
- $49 price point
- 32-bit processor at up to 84MHz
- 54 Digital I/O pins, 12 ADC pins, and 2 ADC pins
- 2 USB-micro ports: one for programming the Due, the other for interfacing with peripherals
What makes the new board so great?
The Arduino Due, like all Arduino boards, are designed to give users access to the power of Atmel microcontrollers in the easiest fashion possible. In the Due's case, it leverages the additional power and capabilities of the Atmel SAM3X8E chip to produce its impressive specs.
Most people are interested in how the Due compares with the ubiquitous Uno, running on the well-known Atmega328 chip. Because both boards primarily enable users access to the chips' features, the main differences between the Due and Uno are defined by their respective chip datasheets. To get right to it, here is why someone would spring for a Due above an Uno:
|I/O that can PWM:||6||15||12|
|Analog Inputs (ADC):||6x 10-bit||16x 10-bit||12x 12-bit|
|Analog Outputs (DAC)||<none>||<none>||2x 12-bit 1MSPS|
|Processor Architecture:||8-bit RISC at16MHz||8-bit RISC at 16MHz||32-bit ARM at 84MHz|
|Flash Memory (for firmware)||32kB||256kB||512kB|
|DMA:||<none>||<none>||Yes, for up to 17 peripherals|
|USB Host||<none>||<none>||USB OTG|
|Timers||2x 8-bit, 1x 16-bit||2x 8-bit, 4x 16-bit||9x 32-bit|
|Power in lowest state (uC chip only)||0.1uA||0.1uA||2.5uA|
|Ethernet MAC (EMAC)||<none>||<none>||1 at 10/100|
Clearly, an experienced user gets some serious bang for the buck with the Due. Although I don't see this causing many problems for Uno or Mega sales. As capability is added complexity follows; beginners won't have much use for a USB host when starting from square one. But once they are ready to move on, a $50 upgrade will be waiting at the next level with a Due.