Difference between a PCB Evaluation and a Development Board

When describing PCBA’s it is very common to use both evaluation and development interchangeably. Both of these circuit boards may or may not be used in a product as they are. If not for installation in such products then what other purpose could it serve? There are many terminologies used for these boards that make it difficult to determine the actual purpose of why these boards were made. If we define these board types precisely that could also provide some clarity on the differences between both evaluation and development boards. Arduino workshop has some of the best quality development tools.

Non-Production Board Types


For connecting different sized components these protoboards consist of uniform sections of through-holes. By using jumper wires, you can manually test various layouts with the help of these proofs of concept boards.


In order to facilitate easy connection from the main board to other boards or devices, these breakout boards may use headers and connectors. Arduino workshop has an Arduino breakout board which is an example of such devices.

Reference Design

These boards consist of layouts mostly based on schematic boards that have been previously tested for their functionality. You can use or copy these circuits are they are or you can make such development tools a part of a much larger design. In collaborative engineering, use reference design circuits is essential because it improves efficiency. Another type of engineering in which reference board is used are known as concurrent engineering in which they provide easy access to the different designs and also serve as initial points for design improvements.

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Evaluation Board

Evaluation boards help in the evaluation of many components and can often be mistaken with other types of boards. Evaluation boards consist of a semiconductor that is highly complex as a sensor, processor, or MCU. Besides all the major components these evaluation boards may also consist of other things like memory, graphical displays, input and output connectors, and onboard power supply. Arduino workshop has some of the best development devices.

Development Board

All the boards that we described are at some point used for development purposes. So it’s not unusual to confuse them for development boards. The actual development boards are much different than other boards. Except for the reference boards, development boards show a lot of similarities to them such as they are fixed designs, both can be used to portray or demonstrate functionality, and they have the capability to develop into a larger system.

Understanding PCBA Complexity

As we have mentioned before, if the terminologies are used inconsistently then it can lead to mistaking one things for another. But after careful observation, we will get to know that each board type is different and they are made for different purposes and applications. When it comes to relationship between evaluation board and the development board, the following assertions can be made:

  • The component is the main focus pints for an evaluation board.
  • The entire board’s functionality is the main focus of development boards.
  • And it is not necessary that all evaluation boards will go on to become development boards.

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