Updated June 2, 2023
Difference Between Microprocessor and Microcontroller
Microprocessor and Microcontrollers are defined as the integrated circuits of small chips that are used to perform the computing and controlling functions; microprocessors incorporate the functions of the CPU and are the brain of the microcontroller, while the microcontroller is a computer that comes in various shape and sizes, along with this there are other differences like device type, a task performed, architecture, efficiency, computation, memory storage, cost, speed, etc., an example of the microprocessor can be a personal computer while microprocessor would be an embedded system(like tv, mobile phone, washing machine, etc.)
Head to Head Comparison between Microprocessor vs Microcontroller (Infographics)
Below are the top 15 differences between Microprocessor vs Microcontroller
Key Differences between Microprocessor and Microcontroller
Let us discuss some of the major differences between Microprocessor vs Microcontroller.
- Microprocessor and Microcontroller are some very basic and key electronic components that are a lot different from each other based on their architecture. The undeniable thing is that both have their own specific purpose and use, which makes them different over a wide aspect that many people often do not know.
- As we can see, the key difference between a microprocessor and a microcontroller is the presence of external and internal components. Microcontrollers have peripherals embedded in a single chip, making them much more compact than the microprocessor.
- The complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor technology used in making a microcontroller is far cheaper than the material used in making microprocessors. The external components that are required by the applications made with microcontrollers are less in number, so the cost is minimal.
- On the contrary, the total cost of applications made with microprocessors is way too high when compared with the microcontrollers as the number of peripheral components required for the systems is much more than those of the microcontroller.
Microprocessor vs Microcontroller Comparison Table
Let us discuss the topmost differences between Microprocessor vs Microcontroller.
|A microprocessor incorporates the functions of a Central Processing Unit (CPU) on a single integrated circuit. It is basically the brain of the microcontroller. A microprocessor is a computation engine in a single chip. It is impossible to perform any computations without a microprocessor.
|In the simplest of terms, a microcontroller is basically a computer that comes in a variety of packages and sizes. Consider an example of a personal computer that can perform a number of tasks or run a variety of programs simultaneously such that you can listen to music while typing in a word processor all at the same time.
|A microprocessor is a programmable device that takes some input, performs some logical and arithmetic operations on it and produce some desired output.
|A microcontroller is a computer that is typically dedicated to a single task. Just like any other computer, a microcontroller has a Central Processing Unit that allows it to perform all the calculations and logic operations in the background.
|A Microprocessor will take instructions in machine language, execute them and then command the processor what it has to do. The microprocessor performs the given three things while doing so:
It does operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and logical operations with the help of an Arithmetic and Logical Unit (ALU).
The data in this is capable of moving from one location to another.
A Program Counter register stores the reference of the next instruction. The microprocessor will jump from one location to another and thus take a decision after each jump.
|It has a memory used by the microcontroller to store programs that are specific to one single task it is dedicated to. The most important component in a microcontroller is the clock, as it determines how fast a microcontroller will run, which could impact certain aspect of your applications such as resolution, response, power consumption, etc.
|It uses Von Neumann architecture in which data and programs are present in the same memory module.
|The microcontroller uses Harvard architecture, where data and program are stored in a separate memory module.
|It is a chip with only a processor/CPU incorporated in it. External memory and I/O components are required.
|A Microcontroller comes with internal memory and peripherals or I/O components and an external processor.
|It has a large circuit because of the external i/o components attached externally.
|Because of the internal memory and i/o components, a microcontroller has a small size of the circuit.
|Microprocessors are inefficient when it comes to their use in compact systems.
|Microcontroller, however, is an efficient technique as they can be used in compact systems.
|System cost is high
|System cost is low
|The external components consume much amount of power which increases the power consumption rate resulting in high power consumption. This makes it less suitable for devices that run on batteries with power that can be exhausted easily.
|The lower the number of external components, the lesser the total power consumption, thus making it more suitable for devices exhausting stored power like the power in the batteries.
|When it comes to being power efficient, the major number of microprocessors are not efficient enough to save power on their own as they do not have any such features.
|When it comes to being power efficient, the major number of microcontrollers is efficient enough to save power as they have many features or modes of saving power like the idle mode or the power-saving mode. The result is a reduction in the consumption of more power than usual.
|Each instruction in a microprocessor needs an operation externally due to the external memory and i/o components. This makes it relatively slower than the microprocessor.
|Each instruction in a microcontroller needs an internal operation due to the internal memory and i/o components. This makes it comparatively faster.
|Most of the operations in a microprocessor are based on memory, as the number of registers in a microprocessor is less.
|Most of the programs in a microcontroller are easier to write and code as the number of registers in a microcontroller is much greater than that of the microprocessor.
|Microprocessor holds many instructions consisting of several steps such as decode, fetch, execute, store, etc.
|Microcontrollers have a CPU with fixed size ROM and RAM and all the other necessary peripheral components embedded, due to which it is also called a minicomputer.
|Many hardware manufacturer companies produce microprocessors such as – microchips, Motorola, Philips, etc.
|Microprocessor such as Intel Pentium series processor, core 2 duo, dual-core, Intel i3, i5, i7, etc
|Examples of usage can be personal computers.
|An example of usage can be in an embedded system such as in a washing machine, tv, etc.
The fundamental part of a computer is formed by the microprocessor, whereas the Microcontroller forms a key component of an embedded system. A microprocessor is capable of performing operations for various tasks compared to a microcontroller dedicated to performing the same task for its entire life. Having an understanding of the differences, we realize that a microprocessor can never be replaced with a microcontroller.
This has been a guide to Microprocessor vs Microcontroller. Here we also discuss the key differences with infographics and comparison table. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –