Choosing between Keil MDK-ARM and DS-5 Development Studio

Keil® MDK-ARM is best suited to commercial, off-the-shelf embedded microcontrollers. DS-5 Development Studio is best suited to ARM® application processors and custom SoC designs. See a full comparison table »

For ARM Cortex®-M series embedded microcontroller software development, we recommend Keil MDK-ARM.

Try Keil MDK-ARM

Get started with an evaluation of MDK-ARM v5, including a 7-day trial of MDK-Professional.

Try MDK-ARM v5

Keil MDK-ARM has a comprehensive set of features for Cortex-M based microcontrollers, including:

Device Database

MDK-ARM links to a device database containing thousands of MCUs and development boards, providing out-of-the-box example projects and device support packs. Flash programming supports easy upload of software.

µVision Debug and Trace


MDK-Professional features middleware such as USB and TCP/IP communication stacks for thousands of microcontrollers, allowing you to develop functioning systems quickly and efficiently.

  • Complete support for Cortex-M, Cortex-R4, ARM7, and ARM9 devices
  • Industry-leading ARM C/C++ Compilation Toolchain
  • Keil RTX deterministic, small footprint real-time operating system (with source code)
  • Complete GUI Library for embedded systems with graphical user interfaces
  • ULINKpro enables on-the-fly analysis of running applications and records every executed Cortex-M instruction
  • CMSIS Cortex Microcontoller Software Interface Standard compliant

Toolchain Compatibility

For projects where both Keil MDK and DS-5 are required, we provide access to ARM Compiler 5, allowing a common C/C++ compilation toolchain to be used for bare-metal software development.