In the realm of microcontrollers, eight-bit MCUs remain a viable choice despite the increasing affordability of 32-bit counterparts. Their architecture, specifically tailored for "learning or instructional ISA" purposes, makes them highly suitable for certain applications. 

When faced with the decision of selecting an eight-bit microcontroller, the AVR vs PIC debate often arises. Microchip's acquisition of Atmel a few years ago has somewhat blurred the lines between the two. However, the consensus remains that PIC microcontrollers excel in assembly programming, while AVRs were originally designed to facilitate the development of C compilers.  

Arduino ensures ATmega32’s popularity.

The competition between AVR and PIC gained additional intensity when the Arduino team decided to base their popular product on an Atmel microcontroller. One motivating factor behind this choice was the availability of a superior, free C compiler. The ATmega32 has gained popularity within the Arduino community due to the extensive support and familiarity of the Arduino core. Consequently, it is easier to adapt sketches to the standalone version of the ATmega32, and there is a larger pool of experienced developers for this chip. 

Another advantage of the ATmega32 is its full compatibility with 5V systems. This feature makes it an excellent choice for interfacing with legacy systems and driving industrial applications that have yet to transition to lower signalling voltages like 3.3V or 1.8V. 

ATmega32 availability and ATmega32 alternatives

While the ATmega32 is still available, Microchip follows a customer-driven obsolescence policy, leading to relatively high prices, around $6 USD for quantities of 100. However, its successor, the ATmega32A, can be obtained for approximately $4 USD. If certification permits, it is advisable to consider transitioning to the newer version. The application note found at provides detailed information about the minimal changes involved. 

ATmega32 – eight-bit AVR microcontroller

In recent times, several prominent semiconductor manufacturers, including Renesas, STMicroelectronics, TI, and GigaDevice, have introduced affordable 32-bit microcontrollers with significantly higher computational capabilities. While the discontinuation of the ATmega32 is not expected, circuit designers should keep an eye out for upcoming alternatives. 


Although the ATmega32 is a widely recognized and familiar microcontroller, recent advancements have rendered it somewhat obsolete. In today's environment, it is advisable to explore ATmega32 alternatives before committing to an eight-bit microcontroller solution.