Difference between microcontroller and microprocessor

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Joined Jan 28, 2005
Hi Members,
Who can tell me the difference between the microcontroller and microprocessor?
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.



Joined Nov 17, 2003
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.



Joined Mar 17, 2008
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
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. :)
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