Arduino Due Makes a High-Powered Leap to a New Processor

By Wesley Fenlon

Arduino's new $50 board adds in more I/O options, a digital-to-analog converter, and runs on a far more powerful processor.

We've seen makers create some awesome things with cheap Arduino boards over the years--high speed photography triggers, robots, thermometers--thanks to the platform's low price and flexibility. Imagine what makers are going to get up to with the Arduino Due, which released last Friday: Instead of the 8-bit, 16MHz processor various Arduino boards have been running on for years, the Due offers a 32-bit, 84MHz processor.

The hardware figures reveal what a huge jump the Due is over the Arduino Uno. The Due has 96KB of SRAM to the Uno's 2KB. Flash storage for code: 512KB to 32KB. 54 I/O pins to 14. The first digital-to-analog converter on an Arduino. And the analog inputs have been upgraded from 10-bit to 12-bit, quadrupling their resolution.

All Arduino shields that follow the Revision 3 spec will work with the Arduino Due, which operates at 3.3 volts--lower than the 5 volts of previous Arduino boards. One thing to watch out for: The Arduino website warns that overloading the I/O ports with more than 3 volts (which could easily happen if you use a third-party shield that doesn't follow the Arduino Revision 3 spec) could fry the Due.

European makers can grab the Arduino Due right now for €39.00. Arduino also has a ton of American distributors, but they're not all carrying the Due yet. Consider importing one or waiting a few days if you're in the US.