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On Sat, Jan 10, 2015 at 9:59 AM, KHMan <> wrote:

If say a Lua scripted app is likely to hit the limits of a PIC32 with 512KB SRAM, then it would probably make more sense to use an SBC instead. A PIC32 with an FPU would make it easier for me to do calculations and drive a robot arm directly (and Lua scripting will make it much more fun) but I would find an SBC if I wanted to do robot vision. In short, pick parts based on a target application and not the other way round.

Today, a non-FPU PIC32 512KB SRAM is about USD10 for 10+ pieces. Looking at a nice Wikipedia page [1], I can dig a bit and find at Olimex an Allwinner A13 board for EUR18 (qty 1), it has 256MB DDR3 RAM. Both are very affordable.

So although it's possible to modify Lua for optimal SRAM/Flash utilization, I would just pick an SBC if an app is too big for a single IC. IC manufacturing advances wins again. :-)


Kein-Hong Man (esq.)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

You bring up some interesting points.  The cost of high volume open source SBC's is pretty amazing.  For example, both boards John H mentions (espruino and micropython) are ~$40,while RPi's range from $20->$35, and the BeagleBone Black with 4G flash is $55 -- and you can run full Lua, Python, JS, etc on them.

On the flip side, if you want to connect with the real world, many low cost SBC (including the Allwinner and RPi) are sorely lacking (the BBB is the exception), and the software complexity is higher than say hacking with an Arduino.  Another disadvantage is the SBC form factor often won't fit into a custom product (unlike a single-chip MCU solution or using a SOM (system on module; typically priced higher than the SBC, e.g. RPi Compute Module is $40).