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RARS is designed for students and is probably the best thing for students

All serious / professional RISC-V work is done using GNU binutils, and gcc or llvm, gdb and the qemu or spike emulators (or real RISC-V boards). If you are already familiar with how to set up and use the gnu toolchain for other ISAs and/or you've tried RARS and find it too restrictive then sure, try that. Follow the directions at https://github.com/riscv/riscv-gnu-toolchain

However if you're having trouble making RARS work then you're probably going to have even more problems with the standard GNU toolchain. RARS is made to be easy.