Difference between microcontroller and microprocessor

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by richardyue, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. richardyue

    richardyue Thread Starter New Member

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    Hi Members,
    Who can tell me the difference between the microcontroller and microprocessor?
  2. hgmjr

    hgmjr Moderator Staff Member

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    Microprocessors generally require external components to implement program memory, ram memory and Input/output. Intel's 80186, 80188, and 80386 are examples of microprocessors.

    Microcontrollers incorporate program memory, ram memory and input/output resources internal to the chip. Microchip's pic series and Atmel's AVR series are examples of microcontrollers.

    It is not unusual to see these terms used interchangeably.

    hgmjr.
  3. Dave

    Dave Senior Member Staff Member

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    One of the main differences is that microcontrollers are usually designed to perform a small set of specific functions, for example as in the case of a Digital Signal Processor which performs a small set of signal processing functions, whereas microprocessors tend to be designed to perform a wider set of general purpose functions.

    For example, microcontrollers are widely used in modern cars where they will each perform a dedicated task, i.e. a microcontroller to regulate the brakes on all four wheels, or a microcontroller to regulate the car air conditioning, or a microcontroller responsible for the cruise control. These microcontrollers will perform few other tasks (if any) other than those specified. Compare this on the other hand to a microprocessor in a PC which performs a wide range of tasks related to the general requirements of a PC, i.e. performing the necessary calculations for a very wide set of software applications, peforming I/O for the main sub-systems, peripheral control etc.

    Dave
    aaradhana likes this.
  4. richardyue

    richardyue Thread Starter New Member

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    Thanks for your two answers. Now I have a better understanding of the difference.
  5. swathi2krissh

    swathi2krissh New Member

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    both of u have given such a wonderful answer...........
    thanks a lot....................
  6. devaece

    devaece New Member

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    the main difference between microcontroller and microprocessors are:microcontroller is able to control a variety of processes and devices independently or by means of I/O instruments such as switches ,buttons,sensors microcontrollers are cheap writing program in microcontroller does not requires any previous schooling microcontrollers are same in many ways and share alot in common between them so that it is easy to handle all microcontrollers after being master of one
  7. ingridseynhaeve

    ingridseynhaeve New Member

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    Hi richardyue,

    I'm giving you the simple difference between Microprocessor and Microcontroller. See the notes below. They are easy to understand.

    Microprocessor = cpu
    Microcontroller = cpu + peripherals + memory
    Peripherals = ports + clock + timers + uarts + adc converters +lcd drivers + dac + other stuff
    Memory = eeprom + sram + eprom + flash

    A microcontroller has a combination of all this stuff.
    A microprocessor is just a CPU .

    Some of them are 8051, 8255, 8253/8454(timer), 8279(keyboard/display controller).

    Hope, this information may be sufficient to you. :)
    tracker and aaradhana like this.
  8. beenthere

    beenthere AAC Fanatic!

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    The original thread was started three years ago.
  9. CircuitsvilleEngineer

    CircuitsvilleEngineer New Member

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    Another way of considering this is:
    If you want to run a video game you probably need a microprocessor.
    If you want to run a microwave oven you probably need a microcontroller.
  10. smkasm

    smkasm New Member

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    thank you toooooooooooo
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