That's my advice: get your LaunchPads direct from TI.
Why? Because in my experience TI doesn't charge for shipping but probably pays more for shipping than the boards cost (my recollection is that most of my TI dev kits have come FedEx 2-day). Also, I'm pretty sure they haven't charged sales tax, either.
@barfoo0: They are charging $7.50 to ship in US. So real cost of part is $8
I hadn't thought about the postage (shipping and handling) -- although that would apply to other boards also -- but if they are changing $7.40 to ship, then wouldn't the full price be $4 + $7:50 = $11.50? (Where did you get $8 from)
The NXP LPCXpresso boards -- which have been around for a number of years -- have that sort of snap-off layout, i.e., a USB-based debugger on the left and a demo MCU on the right with DIP layout for the signals. However, the LPCXpresso board I have isn't set up for "snap off" -- I'd have to "saw off" with my fine-toothed razor saw.
The LPCXpresso boards are priced in the US$20-30 range depending on which demo MCU is on the DIP side. Usually it's a tiny ARM M0/M0+ like an LPC1100 or LPC800. What drives up the price is that the USB debug SoC is an LPC3154, a serious CPU with 180 MHz ARM926EJ-S, 192KB SRAM, 16KB instruction and data caches, and MMU. Way overkill compared to the tiny USB controller on the Cypress boards.
Interesting note on the LPC3154: it doesn't have any on-board flash memory, so LPCXpresso has to boot up over USB each time you plug it in.