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I looked at this thread already -

"How to choose an ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller"

However, my question is a bit a different. I want to focus on more of a learner/beginner's perspective. As the other thread also mentioned, the development kit makes a huge difference, and more so for beginners I believe.

Although, the choice of development kit is an opinion, I would like to know what kit has the most support? (In terms of volume). I tried to look it up, but could not find anything conclusive. I suspect its the Keil kit given it was bought up by ARM, but I am not sure.

Also, is there any data on free vs paid kits and the amount of support they provide?

The second part of my question is, what dev. boards are good for beginners? Since, the main aspect is learning to program an M3, not performance - i suspect, there are cheaper options available for playing around. I found a couple, namely in the ST32 category and another board called Matchbox, however I could not find anything conclusive. I was looking for evidences like this particular chip is used in universities to teach a course etc. (I looked up a few university course pages as well).

Any help is much appreciated!

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closed as off-topic by Leon Heller, Matt Young, PeterJ, Vladimir Cravero, Majenko Jun 28 '14 at 11:05

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Dev board can make a difference only to somebody who can't build hardware. I don't agree with the threads that say that the dev board makes a huge difference. Dev boards never made a difference (even a small one) for me. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Jun 27 '14 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ What would you say is important for a beginner to consider? And I get how this is in lines with a shopping question. I am not trying to slide by the rules of the community, just trying to find resources to learn. I did my homework/research, but wasn't convinced, hence asking here for help. \$\endgroup\$ – Sylar Jun 27 '14 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Here's my list of things to consider. After that, consider finding an adequate training course and just use the hardware that the course prescribes. Consider also finding a sensei and/or a study-buddy for this. Poke around Hacker Dojo, they have an electronics corner, may be you can find someone there. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Jun 27 '14 at 18:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the list. I was assuming Dev. environment to be a subset of the kit. (Different kits having different environments.) Secondly, like I mentioned I was looking at university/online courses, but did not come across any. (Surprisingly). Hence, the question. Thanks for your input though. \$\endgroup\$ – Sylar Jun 27 '14 at 20:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Dev environment is 100x more important than the kit. A dev board may help you get through the initial hurtles, and these early hurtles usually last for a month or two. The dev environment might be used by you for years. It’s also probable that you would use one dev environment for different models of controllers. There is a greater variety of dev kits out there than dev environments. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Jun 28 '14 at 0:23