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What is the difference between a microprocessor and a microcontroller?


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Answered 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 codes.

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 appliances.

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 microchip.

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 Wikipedia.

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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