What is the difference between a microprocessor and a microcontroller?
The main differences are:
- A micro processor and microcotrollers are the same, however,
microcontroller is refered to a microprocessor that contains other
functions and other extra hardware.
- For example, a microprocessor chip that also has PWM and on
board serial com chips is considered to be a micro controller.
- And microcomputer, is computing units that are smaller in size,
such as your cell phone.
- A microprocessor is a hardware that can processes logical
More Detail: A microcontroller is a specialized form of
microprocessor that is designed to be self-sufficient and
cost-effective, where a microprocessor is typically designed to be
general purpose (the kind used in a PC). Microcontrollers are
frequently found in automobiles, office machines, toys, and
The microcontroller is the integration of a number of useful
functions into a single IC package. These functions are:
The ability to execute a stored set of instructions to carry out
user defined tasks.
The ability to be able to access external memory chips to both
read and write data from and to the memory.
Basically, a microcontroller is a device which integrates a
number of the components of a microprocessor system onto a single
So a microcontroller combines onto the same microchip :
The CPU core (microprocessor)
Memory (both ROM and RAM)
Some parallel digital I/O
Also, a microcontroller is part of an embedded system, which is
essentially the whole circuit board. Look up "embedded system" on
The difference is that microcontroller incorporates features of
microprocessor(CPU,ALU,Registers)along with the presence of added
features like presence of RAM,ROM,I\O ports,counter etc.Here
microcontroller control the operation of machine using fixed
programme stored in Rom that doesn't change with lifetime.
The main difference between a typical microprocessor and a micro
controller living there architectural specifications is the
application area of both the devices. A typical microprocessor like
Intel Core family or Pentium family processors or similar
processors is in computers as a general purpose programmable
device. In its life period it has to handle many different tasks
and programs given to it.
On the other hand, a micro controller from 8051 family or PIC
family or any other have found there applications in small embedded
systems like some kind of robotic system or a traffic signal
control system. Also these devices handle same task or same program
during there complete life cycle.
The other difference is that the micro controller usually has to
handle real time tasks while on the contrary the microprocessors in
a computer system may not handle a real time task at all times.