I've dumped AVR and moved to the #Teensy
3.1 for my hacker projects. I thought I'd briefly post about why. A combination of me not being a great coder and my projects tending towards the complicated end of the spectrum means that I've run into the severe limitations of the 8-bit MCUs in Arduinos. Mostly RAM, then speed.
That said, I like the Arduino IDE in so far as it's just C. I paste it into the window and hit upload and it just works. There have been various boards out there which have tried to cash in on the Arduino popularity but implementing more modern MCUs. ChipKit was the first I came across. I tried this out but almost nothing in the way of code I wanted to run actually ran on the board.
Then I stumbled across the Teensy 3.1. This is in a long line of Arduino-nano-a-likes. The first ones were AVRs but since 3.0 it's been an ARM Cortex M4 based. The 3.1 is the first I tried. It's got 64k of RAM and runs at 96Mhz. It has a really solid dev community mostly based in the US since distribution worldwide is presently shithouse.
Having used it to implement the Funky Plank, I can say I'm a fan. It's a lot of power for a US$20 board and the level of support from the PJRC forums is astonishing. There's also exciting stuff happening with regards to real audio processing (and an audio adaptor board), just the sort of thing I like to do. There's also the possibility of emulating different types of USB devices so I have project plans based along MIDI in the pipeline.
The only small niggle I've had so far is that it has proven to be unreliable starting up on external power and the reset pin is tucked away on a pad on the underside which is piss all use. Other than that it's totally gold and I unreservedly recommend it for anyone looking to upgrade from Arduino while staying firmly in microcontroller territory rather than full Pi-like full OS.