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Differences Between Microcontroller and Microprocessor

What are the Differences Between Microcontroller Vs Microprocessor

The microcontroller & microprocessor are two like terms that are confused by so many people when they are asked about it. They seem to be one same thing yet they are both quite different. Before going any further, let’s discuss what is a microcontroller and microprocessor.

What are the Differences Between Microcontroller Vs Microprocessor



The microcontroller is an Integrated Chip (IC) which comprises of a processor, with a fixed amount of RAM, ROM, I/O pins etc. It comes with a fixed amount of these peripheral which depends on its designing and its manufacturer. It is basically a small computer capable of doing a specific task. It does not need any external circuit.


A microcontroller is able to do a single task at a time. That is why they are used for special purposes like in mouse, keyboard, cellphone, calculator, etc.


A microprocessor is also available in an integrated chip (IC) which is only a processor (CPU) &it has no built-in peripherals. These peripherals are added according to the need and requirement of the task which is to be done. The size and amount of the peripheral can be changed according to the user requirement.


A microprocessor only has the power of processing but that is not limited by the number of peripherals you can attach with it. The amount of RAM, ROM can be modified for a high-end task. That is why they are used for development purpose and multitasking like developing games, websites, documents, etc.

Comparisons Of Microcontroller & Microprocessor

Now that you have an idea about what a microcontroller and microprocessor is. let’s look into their differences.

                         Microcontroller         Microprocessor 
It contains an embedded processor (CPU), RAM, ROM) And other peripherals It contains only a processor (CPU)
It does not need external Peripherals or circuits It needs external peripheral or circuits to work
They are compact in size due to embedded systems They are bulkier due to external circuits.
They are cheaper when used in any application because they don’t need external circuits and thus reduce the size of the product. Expensive and consume large size as compared to the microcontroller when used for the same application
Their small size & power saving system ensures low energy consumption. No energy saving feature cause huge power loss.
They can do simple & a single specific task at a time. They can do multiple and high-end developing task at a time.
Their applications are limited because of their low specifications like RAM, ROM etc. Their applications are unlimited due to its multitasking capabilities, high Speed and memory
It has low clock speed ranging in few MHz to roughly 40 Mhz Modern day microprocessors are very fast. They operate on frequency over 4GHz

Generally, you cannot say that a microcontroller or a microprocessor is better than the other because, over the course of a few decades, they have proved to be quite good at what they do. You cannot replace a microprocessor with a microcontroller or vice versa.

 If you want to do a simple task in a cheap budget, the microcontroller is a good option for you. For developing purposes, you will need a microprocessor used with its external peripherals. A simple example of a complete microprocessor setup is your personal computer, which can handle a lot of complex tasks simultaneously.

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