ARM microcontrollers are no longer a mystery to electronics hobbyists. There are plenty of free tools, tutorials and libraries available. With ARM Cortex we also have an ARM in DIP packages. You may start scratching a head while choosing next micro for your projects. 8-bit micros seemed to be long staying standard for small applications, but when cheap small ARM Cortex-M0 arrived the choice of high performance for even lower price made us think twice. One off great things about ARM processors is that they don’t need a special programming adapter to upload firmware. As rule of thumb, all ARMs are shipped with factory burned bootloader that at least talks to outside world using serial interface. Think of AVR and PIC micros – they need at least ISP programmer at for instance to flash a bootloader to get rid of need for adapter (classical chicken-egg problem). I think LPC810M021FN8 is one of the greatest ARM chips to gets started if you are new to ARM micros. They are housed in 8 pin DIP package suitable for breadboard prototyping. This particular microcontroller is 32-bit Arm Cortex-M0+ that has 4KB of Flash and 1KB of SRAM on chip. It may be clocked to up to 30MHz and, knowing its performance, there is already quite some power packed in.
vilaca have made a short tutorial on how to flash these chips using any UART/USB adapter and Flashmagic program. Using couple external components you can have your first blinking LED program running in no time.