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The Intel® Galileo development board is designed to be hardware and software pin-compatible with shields designed for the Arduino Uno R3.
For more information, please check the product brief.
How can it be hardware pin compatible if the Galileo board IOs only provide 15/25mA instead of 40/50mA like the Arduino?
Also the Galileo can only switch the IO pins with ~230Hz, compared to the original Arduino this is about 40 times slower! (without even considering the hardware PWM of the Arduino), how can you even consider comparing the Galileo with the Arduino?
There are a few places where Galileo is not completely compatible with the Arduino, but consider the following:
- You get a lot more memory with the Galileo. With the Arduino Uno, Mega, etc. you are constantly running out of memory, making it hard to combine many libraries, hard to do things like keep a framebuffer for large displays or logging data, etc.
- You get built-in networking, and it's not bottlenecked by SPI or UART speeds. Also, you have memory to put the data you are transferring.
- You get USB host support (note: you have to boot off SD card to have space for the drivers). This opens up a whole other class of devices to interface with, including cheap webcams.
In other words, the Galileo is different, but has its own strengths (and inevitable weaknesses, which of course Intel will try to address over time).
Regarding the I/O speeds, there is an answer elsewhere on the forum about how to get significantly higher performance. For SPI in particular you can do bulk transfers which avoid the per-transaction overhead, and there are also ways to toggle GPIO pins a lot faster.