Computer Hardware
The Difference Between

What is the difference between a microprocessor and a microcontroller?

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2014-05-20 22:22:43

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 Differences:

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.

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