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How to select Processor / Microcontroller for your design

  1. Specify the basics
    For example: You want a cheap ARM processor, at least 300MHz with DDR3 interface
  2. Answer this question: Which is the most unusual peripheral I need?
    For example: HDMI interface
  3. Go to a supplier website and do the search
    For example: http://www.digikey.com -> Product Index > Integrated Circuits (ICs) > Embedded – Microcontrollers
  4. Select the unusual peripheral:
    Peripherals -> HDMI
  5. Order Ascending by price for 1000 pieces
    Processor selection
    If you don’t have any special peripheral, search for:
    Processor core: ARM
    Speed: at least 300MHz
    Industrial temperature: at least -40C
  6. Check datasheet & manufacturer website
  7. Select the processor most suitable for your application.

Be careful about

  • In stock checkbox – this can eliminate the cheapest variants from the list, so the results will not be accurate. On the other site, be sure, you can buy the component you finally choose.
  • Category selection e.g. Processor / Microcontroller. Suppliers sometimes mix these chips together, look in both categories.
  • Hardware development support – be sure, the selected chip has free reference schematics with PCB and available development kits in reasonable price
  • Software support – be sure, the selected chip has a good software support with code examples. Additional software development can cause delays or increase cost significantly.
  • Good documentation is advantage.
  • Community support is plus.