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I'm looking for a SBC/µC board for an university lab course. The objective of the course is to teach various levels of hardware-related programming, from simple bare-metal ISR in assembler, till complex OS mechanisms in some more high-level language (C, Rust).

My requirements are:

  1. A hardware base with a well structured and possibly not to complex design (no i64; RISC-V would be nice, but also ARM, or even Z80)
  2. Fine-grained documentation of the whole board without any hidden parts (that excludes the RasPi)
  3. A good emulator (of the board, not only of the processor) to allow to do a big deal of programming offline
  4. Sufficient memory for an OS (i.e., the most AVR-based systems are knocked out)
  5. JTAG and some video (VGA/DVI/HDMI...) would be nice
  6. Performance is not an issue at all

What systems should I consider?

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A quick search shows you might have some luck with Beaglebone or Beagleboard with regards to emulation. OTOH those boards are cheaper then most JTAG debuggers.

I know of three companies manufacturing Cortex-A processors which have openly downloadable documentation:

  • Texas Instruments (theirs are in the Beaglebone)
  • NXP
  • ST Microelectronics
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