Arduino UNO vs. Due: A Deep Dive into Microcontroller Rivalry

Since the launch of the renowned Arduino UNO, Arduino has reported having sold over 10 million boards. However, it’s not just the UNO that has gained popularity. There are several boards available in the market, each designed for specific purposes, providing enhanced experience and reliability. For example, Arduino DUE and Arduino Mega are famous for their increased number of digital pins, while Lilypad is renowned for its application in wearables.

It would be wrong if I say that Arduino is one of the most widely used platforms among engineers, boasting the highest number of active users online—over 2 million. While Arduino UNO and Due are familiar among hobbyists, and engineers. It is crucial to note the differences between them, as they are important to know when brainstorming for your project.

I had costed so many boards because I didn’t have any mentor or resource to learn, but I don’t want you all to struggle. So, I have briefed and listed down the major differences you won’t find anywhere.

What Is the Main Difference Between Arduino UNO and Due?

The difference between the Arduino UNO and DUE boards lies in their memory and speed. The DUE board is considerably faster than the Arduino UNO and is used for more advanced applications, such as IoT. The renowned Arduino UNO uses the ATmega328P microcontroller and features 14 digital I/O pins and 6 analog pins. The Arduino Due boasts 54 digital I/O pins and 12 analog pins.

Arduino UNOArduino Due
UNO can be used for less demanding applications which don’t need powerful microcontrollers. UNO (Atmel ATmega328) uses 5V system voltageArduino Due uses a more powerful processor (ARM), which makes it ideal for running RTOS and more robust applications. Due (and its ARM MCU) using a 3.3V system voltage

*Note: This difference is significant when you connect external components to your board. For example, a 5V external sensor will nearly instantly kill your Arduino UNO board.

What is Arduino UNO?

Arduino-uno-with-white-backgroundThe Arduino UNO is the most popular board within the Arduino family, known for its user-friendliness, making it ideal for beginners who want to delve into electronics and programming. The board is based on the ATmega328P microcontroller and has a clock speed of 16 MHz. The UNO has 14 digital input/output pins, 6 analog input pins, and 6 PWM (pulse-width modulation) pins. Additionally, it features a USB port for programming and a power supply.

What is Arduino Due?

arduino-due-board-descriptionThe Arduino Due is a more powerful board suitable for advanced users who requires more processing power, memory, and speed. The Arduino Due is based on the Atmel SAM3X8E microcontroller and has a clock speed of 84 MHz. There are 54 digital I/O, 12 analog I/O, and 12 pulse width modulation pins on the Due. Similar to the Arduino UNO, it also features a USB port for programming and a power supply.

Arduino UNO Vs. Due Pin Description:

S. No Pin Type Arduino UNO Arduino Due
1 Digital I/O 14 54
2 Analog Input 6 12
3 UART (Serial) 1 4
4 I2C 1 4
5 SPI 1 4
6 Pulse Width Modulation Pins 6 15
7 Total 20 66

The UNO board, now in its R3 generation, represents the latest version of the standard Arduino board based on the 328p microcontroller. From a software engineer’s standpoint, there is no noticeable distinction between the two boards.

One of the key differences between the Arduino UNO and the Arduino Due lies in the bootloader code. The UNO’s bootloader code is shorter, enabling faster sketch uploads at a higher baud rate.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that the 328p chip on a Duemilanove board can have its bootloader replaced with the UNO version, allowing the board to leverage all the same features.

Arduino UNO Vs. Duemilanove Specs:

    Arduino UNO Arduino DUE
Dimensions 2.7¨ x 2.1¨ 4¨ x 2.1¨
Pricing $20-23 $40-42
I/O Pins 14 54
PWM Pins 6 12
Analog Pins 6 12
Analog Out Pins (DAC) 2
Processor ATMega328P AT91SAM3X8E
Flash Memory 32 kB 512 kB
SRAM 2kB 96 kB (split into two banks of 64 kB and 32 kB)
Clock speed 16 MHz 84 MHz
Voltage Level 5V 3.3V
USB Connectivity Standard A/B USB Micro USB
Hardware Serial Ports 1 4
SPI Support Yes Yes
I2C Support Yes Yes

The voltage level of the Due board is different from that of other Arduino boards. Arduino Due uses a microcontroller that operates at 3.3 V rather than 5V. (Typically in most other boards). The board could be damaged if an excessive voltage is applied to the pins. 

Performance Comparison UNO vs. Due

Performance Aspect Arduino Uno Arduino Due
Microcontroller ATmega328P (8-bit) SAM3X8E (32-bit)
Clock Speed 16 MHz 84 MHz
Flash Memory 32 KB 512 KB
SRAM 2 KB 96 KBz

Compatibility Comparison UNO vs. Due

One of the advantages of the Arduino UNO is its compatibility with a wide range of shields, which are add-on boards that provide additional functionality. Hundreds of shields are available for the UNO, including ones for Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and LCD displays. On the other hand, the Due is incompatible with many of these shields due to its different pin layouts and voltage requirements. This layout can limit the options for expanding Due’s functionality.

Power Consumption Comparison UNO vs. Due 

The Arduino UNO has a lower power consumption than the Due, which makes it a better choice for battery-powered projects. The UNO runs on as little as 7 volts and has a sleep mode that reduces power consumption to a few microamps. The Due, on the other hand, requires at least 7.5 volts and has a higher power consumption due to its more powerful processor.

Price Comparison UNO vs. Due

The Arduino UNO is the cheaper of the two boards, with a price point of around $25. On the other hand, the Due is more expensive, with a price point of approximately $50. The reasonable price makes the UNO a more affordable option for beginners and hobbyists just starting with electronics and programming.

Which board should you choose? 

When choosing between the Arduino UNO and Arduino Due, it is essential to consider the specific requirements of your project. Suppose you are a beginner or hobbyist who is just starting with electronics and programming. In that case, the UNO is the best option due to its simplicity, shield compatibility, and lower price point. On the other hand, the Due might be a better choice if you are an advanced user with more processing power, memory, and speed. The Due is ideal for most complex and demanding projects, such as audio and video processing, robotics, and machine learning.

Related Topics About Arduino Comparison

Frequently Asked Questions about Arduino UNO vs. DUE

1. Which board is more affordable, Arduino UNO vs. Arduino Due?

Arduino UNO and Due come at a price of under $50 both, but as compared to these boards the exact price of UNO is $31 and Due is $48. If you are a complete beginner and haven’t used any microcontroller before. I would suggest you use Arduino UNO because of its online community and very easy to use. 

2. Can I use the same code on Arduino UNO vs. Arduino Due?

The Arduino UNO code you write is compatible with other Arduino boards as well, and with minimal changes, you can use it with others. Libraries, and functionality, pin position may vary from board to board. A complete guide and beginner’s guide about what programming languages you can program your Arduino.

3. Which board has more pins, Arduino UNO vs. Arduino Due?

Arduino pins vary from board to board; Arduino UNO has a total of 28 pins and it consists of 14 Digital Input/Output pins (including TX and RX), 6 Analog pins, 3 ground pins, 1 RESET Pin, 1 3.3V pin and 1 5.5V while Arduino DUE has 54 digital Input/Output pins and 12 Analog pins, 4 UARTs (hardware serial ports). 

Pin NumberArduino UNOArduino Due
A0Analog InAnalog In
A1Analog InAnalog In
A2Analog InAnalog In
A3Analog InAnalog In
A4Analog InSDA1
A5Analog InSCL1
A6Analog InAD6
A7Analog InAD7

4. Which board has more memory, Arduino UNO vs. Arduino Due?

So, different boards have different memories, but Arduino DUE is far ahead and has 256Kb flash memory, and UNO has 32kb.

5. Can I use the same shields on Arduino UNO vs. Arduino Due?

Some shields may be compatible with every other Arduino board, but it is not guaranteed. Because every board has different sets of pins and voltage levels. So, it would be difficult, but there are some of shields that can connect on both Arduino UNO and Arduino DUE. 

ShieldCompatible with Arduino UNOCompatible with Arduino Due
Ethernet ShieldYesYes
Motor ShieldYesNo (different pin layout)
GPS ShieldYesYes
Bluetooth ShieldYesYes
WiFi ShieldYesYes

6. Which board consumes less power, Arduino UNO vs. Arduino Due?

Compared to the Arduino Due, the UNO has a reduced power consumption and is preferable for use with battery-powered applications. UNO runs at 7 volts and also has a sleep mode.

7. How do I decide which board to use for my project, Arduino UNO vs. Arduino Due?

The requirements of the project are going to decide which board to use. If it is a beginner’s project, then UNO is the intelligent choice; otherwise, for more complex programming, Due is the best choice.

Recommended Reading: If you have decided what board you want to use for your project and to make the world controllable. Here’s a crazy Arduino projects you should read about. Also, if you are a completed beginner it won’t be an issue, here’s a beginner Arduino projects you can start off your electrical journey. 

Mataf Khan

An electronics enthusiasts from childhood became an electrical engineer, I've been playing with Arduino and other electronics gadgets like raspberry pi since when I was 14. and have a passion of troubleshooting Arduino problems.

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