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PIC

PIC is brand name for at least 3 fundamentally different microprocessor


architectures from Microchip.
The original PIC12/16 family is a 8-bit architecture. There were quite interesting
devices in the family: there were MCU’s integrated together with radio transceivers.
There were chips running directly from 12V. The PIC12C84 was one of the first in-
system reprogrammable fully integrated MCU with EEPROM program memory (later
superseded by PIC16F84 with flash memory instead of EEPROM). PIC12 was the first
MCU in the miniature SOT-23 package.
PIC20/DSPIC is a totally different 16-bit architecture. It’s much less popular than the
other two families.
The latest addition is PIC32, which is based on the MIPS core. The biggest devices
qualify as application processors, they’re in the same league as ARM9 or Cortex A5.
AVR
Similarly to PIC, AVR is another brand name covering the original 8-bit AVR
architecture and the totally different, 32-bit AVR32. AVR32 is largely dead by now: after
the acquisition of Atmel, Microchip abandoned further development on this architecture.
The 8-bit line consist of the AT90S, ATtiny, ATmega and the ATxmega families. They’re
probably the most elegant and efficient (but not the fastest) 8-bit processors ever
invented: the instruction set resembles that of advanced 32-bit RISC processors.
The 32-bit line featured the AP7000 application processors. They were killed by Atmel
many years back. They disappeared like they never existed, it’s impossible to buy them.
The UC3 MCU family is still in production.
ARM
They’re probably the most popular processors in the world with a long history.
The cores can be licensed, most significant semiconductor companies offer or offered
ARM-based devices. DEC and Intel even attempted to perfect the architecture and
created the Strong ARM / XScale family, that was once powering PDA’s and mobile
phones.
The original ARM architecture specified two instruction sets: a 32-bit high-performance
ISA (ARM) and a more compressed but less capable Thumb instruction set with 16-bit
instruction length, in a similar way as the Book E and VLE instruction sets for PowerPC.
The Cortex families only support Thumb/Thumb2.
Arduino
Arduino is not a microcontroller: it was once a single-board computer based in
the ATmega32 microcontroller. Nowadays it’s considered as a standard form factor:
there are many boards with various microcontrollers that are compatible with the
original Arduino accessories and modules. There are also boards that are not
mechanically compatible, but are supported by the same development environment.
8051 PIC AVR ARM
8-bit for 32-bit mostly
standard also available
Bus width core 8/16/32-bit 8/32-bit in 64-bit

UART, USART,
LIN, I2C, SPI,
UART,
CAN, USB,
USART, SPI,
PIC, UART, I2C, (special Ethernet, I2S,
Communic USART, LIN, purpose DSP, SAI (serial
UART, CAN, AVR support
ation USART,SPI, Ethernet, CAN, USB, audio
Protocols I2C SPI, I2S Ethernet) interface), IrDA
12
Clock/instr 4 1 clock/ 1 clock/
uction Clock/instru instruction instruction
Speed cycle ction cycle cycle cycle
Flash,
ROM, SRA SRAM, SRAM, Flash, SDRAM,
Memory M, FLASH FLASH EEPROM EEPROM

Some feature
of RISC
ISA CLSC RISC RISC
Memory Von
Neumann Modified
Architectur architectur Harvard Harvard
e e architecture Modified architecture
Power
Consumpti
on Average Low Low Low
Tiny,
Atmega,
PIC16,PIC17 Xmega,
, PIC18, special
8051 PIC24, purpose ARMv4,5,6,7
Families variants PIC32 AVR and series

CommunityVast Very Good Very Good Vast


NXP,
Atmel,
Silicon
Labs, Apple, Nvidia,
Dallas, Qualcomm,
Cyprus, Samsung
Manufactu Infineon, Microchip Electronics,
rer etc. Average Atmel and TI etc.

Cost (as
compared
to features
provide) Very Low Average Average Low
High speed
operation
Vast
Known for
Other its Cheap,
Feature Standard Cheap effective

Popular Atmega8, LPC2148, ARM


AT89C51, PIC18fXX8, 16, 32, Cortex-M0 to
Microcontr P89v51, PIC16f88X, Arduino ARM Cortex-
ollers etc. PIC32MXX Community M7, etc.
8051

PIC

AVR

ARM

Bus width

8-bit for standard core

8/16/32-bit

8/32-bit

32-bit mostly also available in 64-bit

Communication Protocols

UART, USART,SPI,I2C

PIC, UART, USART, LIN, CAN, Ethernet, SPI, I2S

UART, USART, SPI, I2C, (special purpose AVR support CAN, USB, Ethernet)

UART, USART, LIN, I2C, SPI, CAN, USB, Ethernet, I2S, DSP, SAI (serial audio interface), IrDA

Speed

12 Clock/instruction cycle

4 Clock/instruction cycle

1 clock/ instruction cycle

1 clock/ instruction cycle

Memory

ROM, SRAM, FLASH

SRAM, FLASH
Flash, SRAM, EEPROM

Flash, SDRAM, EEPROM

ISA

CLSC

Some feature of RISC

RISC

RISC

Memory Architecture

Von Neumann architecture

Harvard architecture

Modified

Modified Harvard architecture

Power Consumption

Average

Low

Low

Low

Families

8051 variants

PIC16,PIC17, PIC18, PIC24, PIC32

Tiny, Atmega, Xmega, special purpose AVR

ARMv4,5,6,7 and series

Community

Vast

Very Good

Very Good
Vast

Manufacturer

NXP, Atmel, Silicon Labs, Dallas, Cyprus, Infineon, etc.

Microchip Average

Atmel

Apple, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, and TI etc.

Cost (as compared to features provide)

Very Low

Average

Average

Low

Other Feature

Known for its Standard

Cheap

Cheap, effective

High speed operation

Vast

Popular Microcontrollers

AT89C51, P89v51, etc.

PIC18fXX8, PIC16f88X, PIC32MXX

Atmega8, 16, 32, Arduino Community

LPC2148, ARM Cortex-M0 to ARM Cortex-M7, etc.