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Written By:
Sonali7
5 minute read
MicroControllerMicroProcessorComputerCPU

Difference Between Microprocessor and Microcontroller

Posted in Facts   LAST UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 1, 2021

Are you also confused between Microprocessor and Microcontroller and are wondering what is the difference between them? If yes, then don't worry because this article is for you. In this article, we will discuss what is a microcontroller, what is a microprocessor, and what is the difference between these two.

So, let's get started.

What is Microprocessor?

As the name suggests, Microprocessor is a computer processor where the data processing logic and control are included in a single IC. In simple terms, it can be defined as a controlling unit of a micro-computer where everything is wrapped inside a single chip or IC. A microprocessor is often termed as a central processing unit in which the number of peripherals is fabricated on a single chip. It is often considered as the heart of the Computer system.

History of Microprocessor

This is the evolution of microprocessor according to the generations:

  • The first generation Microprocessor 4004 was first invented by Intel in 1971. It has the ability to run at a clock speed of 108 kHz.
  • The second-generation 8-bit microprocessors came from 1973 to 1978. INTEL-8085 and Zilog's-Z80 are some of the examples of the second-generation 8-bit microprocessor.
  • In 1978, Intel released 8086, the first 16-bit microprocessor.
  • In the early 80s, the fourth-generation 32-bit processors were released by Intel.
  • The fifth-generation 64-bit processors were released by Intel in 1995. From 1995 until now these 64-bit processors are used for high-performance and high-speed processors.

Block Diagram of Microprocessor:

Block diagram of Microprocessor

Features of Microprocessor:

These are the following important features of a Microprocessor:

  • High Speed: A microprocessor has the ability to execute millions of instructions per second. As a result, they can work at a very high speed.
  • Low Cost: Because of the integrated circuit technology, the overall cost of the microprocessors is reduced.
  • Reliable: As the microprocessors use semiconductor technology, so the chances of failure are very less. Hence, the microprocessors are very reliable.
  • Portable: Because of the small size and low power consumption, the microprocessors are portable.
  • Versatile: As the microprocessors can be used for various purposes, so it is considered as versatile.
  • Small size: Because of very large scale and ultra large scale integration technology, the size is reduced.

Application of Microprocessor:

These are the following application of microprocessor:

  • Calculators
  • Traffic light
  • Control data
  • Accounting system
  • Games machine

What is a Microcontroller?

As the name suggests, a Microcontroller is a small computer on a single MOS or IC. It consists of multiple CPUs with programmable input/output peripherals. A microcontroller is often considered the heart of an embedded system.

History of MicroController:

This is the evolution of the microcontroller:

  • The first microcontroller Intel 8048 was invented by Intel Corporation in 1975.
  • In 1993, EEPROM was first introduced.
  • Again in 1993, Atmel introduced the first microcontroller using Flash memory.

Block Diagram of Microcontroller:

Block diagram of Microcontroller

Features of MicroController:

These are the following important features of a microcontroller:

  • Small Size: A microcontroller is more compact in size.
  • Efficiency: A microcontroller is more efficient because of its compact size.
  • Clock speed: The clock speed of the microcontroller is less.
  • Structure: The structure of a microcontroller is fixed.
  • Power Consumption: The power consumption for the microcontroller is less.

Application of MicroController:

These are the following application of microcontroller:

  • Keyboard controllers
  • Mobile phones
  • Microwave oven
  • Automobiles
  • Watches
  • Cameras

Key Difference Between Microprocessor and Microcontroller:

Microprocessor vs Microcontroller

These are the following key difference between microprocessor and microcontroller:

  • A microprocessor consists of a Central Processing Unit only, whereas a Micro Controller contains a CPU, Memory, I/O all integrated into one chip.
  • A microprocessor is used in personal computers whereas a microcontroller is used in an embedded system.
  • A microcontroller is more compact in size when compared to a microprocessor.
  • Because of the compact size, a microcontroller is more efficient than a microprocessor.
  • A microprocessor has a fewer number of registers when compared to a microcontroller.
  • A microcontroller is inexpensive and straightforward with fewer instructions to process whereas a microprocessor is complicated and expensive, with a large number of instructions to process.
  • The microprocessor uses an external bus to interface to RAM, ROM, and other peripherals, whereas, Microcontroller uses an internal controlling bus.
  • A microcontroller has no zero flags whereas a microprocessor has a zero status flag.
  • Microprocessors are based on the Von Neumann model whereas Microcontrollers are based on Harvard architecture.
  • A microprocessor is a processor in which memory and I/O output component is connected externally whereas a microcontroller is a controlling device in which memory and I/O output component are present internally.
  • The circuit of a microprocessor is more complex when compared to a microcontroller.
  • The cost of the microprocessor is high compared to the microcontroller.
  • The overall size of the microprocessor is large when compared to a microcontroller.
  • The power consumption for the microprocessor is high whereas the power consumption for the microcontroller is less.
  • A microprocessor is available in 32-Bit and 64-bit whereas a microcontroller is available in 8-bit, 16-bit, and 36-bit.
  • The program for the microprocessor can be changed for different applications whereas the program for the microcontroller is fixed once it is designed.
  • The clock speed of the microprocessor is high whereas the clock speed of the microcontroller is less.
  • Microprocessors used where intensive processing is required whereas microcontrollers are used where the task is fixed and predefined.
  • The structure of the microprocessor is flexible whereas the structure of a microcontroller is fixed.
  • The volatile memory (RAM) for the microprocessor is in the range of 512 MB to 32 GB whereas the volatile memory (RAM) for the microcontroller is in the range of 2 KB to 256 KB.
  • The hard disk (ROM) for the microprocessor is in the range of 128 GB to 2 TB whereas the hard drive or flash memory (ROM) is in the range of 32 KB to 2 MB.

Comparison Table

Let us summarize the above-discussed points into a tabular form for a better understanding:

Microprocessor Microcontroller
A microprocessor consists of a Central Processing Unit only. A Micro Controller contains a CPU, Memory, I/O all integrated into one chip.
A microprocessor is used in personal computers. A microcontroller is used in an embedded system.
A microprocessor is less compact in size. A microcontroller is more compact in size.
The structure of the microprocessor is flexible. The structure of a microcontroller is fixed.
The volatile memory (RAM) for the microprocessor is in the range of 512 MB to 32 GB. The volatile memory (RAM) for the microcontroller is in the range of 2 KB to 256 KB.
The hard disk (ROM) for the microprocessor is in the range of 128 GB to 2 TB. The hard drive or flash memory (ROM) is in the range of 32 KB to 2 MB.
The clock speed of the microprocessor is high. The clock speed of the microcontroller is less.
A microprocessor is a processor in which memory and I/O output component is connected externally. A microcontroller is a controlling device in which memory and I/O output component are present internally.
A microprocessor is less efficient. A microcontroller is more efficient.
A microprocessor has a fewer number of registers. A microcontroller has a larger number of registers.
Microprocessors are based on the Von Neumann model. Microcontrollers are based on Harvard architecture.
The power consumption for the microprocessor is high. The power consumption for the microcontroller is less.
The program for the microprocessor can be changed for different applications. The program for the microcontroller is fixed once it is designed.
A microprocessor is available in 32-Bit and 64-bit. A microcontroller is available in 8-bit, 16-bit, and 36-bit.
The overall size of the microprocessor is large. The overall size of the microcontroller is small.
The cost of the microprocessor is high. The cost of the microcontroller is low.
The circuit of a microprocessor is more complex. The circuit of a microcontroller is less complex.
A microprocessor is complicated and expensive, with a large number of instructions to process. A microcontroller is inexpensive and straightforward with fewer instructions to process.
A microprocessor has a zero status flag. A microcontroller has no zero flags.
The microprocessor uses an external bus to interface to RAM, ROM, and other peripherals. The microcontroller uses an internal controlling bus.
It is used where intensive processing is required. It is used where the task is fixed and predefined.

Conclusion:

I hope from the above discussion it is clear what a microprocessor is, its history, features, application, what a microcontroller is, its history, features, application, and what is the difference between them.

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