What is the difference between the different types of pic compilers such XC, Hi Tech etc?

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    \$\begingroup\$ microchip.com/forums/m668751.aspx?print=true There is a difference between free and paid versions, so if every byte counts . do what you think is best. which version do you want to buy or not and why? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28, 2018 at 13:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ As @TonyEErocketscientist says, the free versions generally have less optimization available so you can either buy a somewhat bigger, faster chip and live with maybe a bit more cost and power consumption, or you can shell out for the optimization and (maybe) end up with a cheaper lower power design. Since memory size tends to increase with a lot of granularity it may not make a difference to the chip you use. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 16:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I recall all Burroughs Mainframes were designed for maximum clock rate but marketing opted to request engineering code to slow the clock so that speed & performance was fee-based option in the microcode. The same is true with hi-tech-c lite with 2 redundant extra goto executions compiled for every IF statement. to encourage you to buy the compiler. The same is true with Intel CPU chips. You pay for the best performance or unlocked OC options.. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 16:48

2 Answers 2


xc8 Microchip compiler for 8 Bit devices (also AVR devices)

xc16: Microchip compiler for 16 Bit devices

xc32: Microchip compiler for 32 Bit devices (and also the ARM SAM devices)

HiTech: previous compiler from xc8, company now bought by microchip

CCS: 3rd party compiler
In a short test a read about CCS is 21% slower, takes up 4% more ROM and 38% more RAM than the free XC8 compiler!

From every xc compilers are two versions available (one free). There is also a dongle license available which can be used interchangeably among workstations and users.


There are also Basic compilers available from several suppliers. We use Pic Basic Pro from MeLabs website but there are several others. PBP is thoroughly competent and we have done many significant projects with it.

There is also Swordfish Basic website - I've played with it somewhat but my guys prefer PBP.

I'm aware of other compilers - other C compilers different from what Mike mentioned, other Basic compilers, even a Forth compiler. However, I don't have any experience with those.


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