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

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.

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