Difference between Microprocessor and Microcontroller

The basic electronic components in the organization and architecture of computer are microprocessor and microcontroller. There is a wide range of difference between microprocessor and microcontroller but people hardly know about it, so most of us end up considering both of these as the same thing.

The introduction of both of these components in past two decades has changed our lives up to a great extent. These electronic components were specifically designed for real time application, they may share some common features but there exist many differences between them.

In this article, we will get to know more about microprocessor vs microcontroller, as these cannot be distinguished just by taking a glance over them.

According to the definition of microprocessor, it is an electronic component which works as a computer processor and is present in single or multiple integrated circuits (IC). The function of microprocessor is to perform all the functions of the central processing system. Don’t confuse it with Central Processing Unit (CPU), as this resides on single or multiple integrated circuits and doesn’t occupy much space like CPU.

And, as per the definition of microcontroller, it is an electronic device which contains processing unit along with the other required peripheral components with fixed sized RAM and ROM. It is also referred to as a minicomputer because it contains all the components in it which are required to process and store the data. Most of the embedded software contains microcontrollers.

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Microprocessor vs Microcontroller
Microprocessor vs Microcontroller

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Microprocessor vs Microcontroller

Now, we will discuss the difference between microprocessor and microcontroller in points.

  • Microprocessor is considered to be the heart of the computer system, whereas microcontroller is the embedded system’s heart.
  • Microcontrollers are also used in compact systems and are considered to be an efficient technique, whereas microprocessors can’t be used in compact system and hence, considered inefficient when you compare microprocessor vs microcontroller.
  • You will find the use of microprocessors in your personal computers or laptops, whereas you will see the use of microcontrollers in your home appliances like MP3 player, television, refrigerator, washing machine, etc.
  • The architecture of microcontroller is done using Harvard architecture in which the data and programs are stored in separate memories. Whereas, the architecture of microprocessor is done using Von Neumann architecture in which both the data and program are stored in the same memory.
  • If we see microprocessor vs microcontroller according to the circuit complexity and size, then microprocessor circuits are complex and large, whereas microcontrollers’ circuit is small because all the components are connected internally to one another.
  • The cost of operating microcontroller is much less when compared to the microprocessor.
  • The power consumption of microprocessor is much higher because of the large circuit, whereas the power consumption of microcontroller is less because of the smaller circuit size and it can easily be operated using a battery.
  • The microprocessors which are widely used are core 2 duo, Intel premium series processor, Intel I3 and dual core.
  • And, the microcontrollers which are widely used are manufactured by companies like Philips, ATMEl, etc.

After studying all the major differences between microprocessor and microcontroller, it must be clear to you that both of these can’t replace each other. Both of these electronic components have their usage in wide variety of applications.

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