Beyond Price: How to Assess the Real Value of an 8-bit MCU

Mark Beecham, MCU and Sensor Product Manager, Silicon Labs

Today’s 8-bit MCUs still hold a large portion of the overall microcontroller (MCU) market, despite competition and strong market share gains from newer platforms like Arm Cortex-M processors. The continuing strength of 8-bit MCUs in the embedded market rests on multiple factors: low cost, simplicity, quick control capabilities and mature ecosystems with a ubiquitous tool base.

As 8-bit has matured as an MCU technology, the price per unit has approached its lower limits, creating a hidden challenge for developers. When looking at low-cost 8-bit MCUs for an embedded design, there are many good options with similar prices and feature sets, but which is the best? One aspect often overlooked is what is the true price and value of similar 8-bit MCU hardware from different vendors. Here are a few important considerations that will ultimately reveal the real price of an 8-bit MCU.

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