Difference between microprocessor and microcontroller

There has always been confusion between microprocessor and microcontroller. Both of them have been used for real-time applications. They also share many common features and at the same time have significant differences. Both are integrated circuits are available in different versions starting from 6 pins to as high as 80 to 100 pins depending on the features. A significant discussion at this stage is the difference between microprocessor and microcontroller.


Primary difference :


  • The microcontroller uses on-chip embedded flash memory in which store and execute its program. Most of the devices available in the market have a maximum of 2 Mbytes of program memory is the only limitation that the total available memory space is finite. 
  • The microprocessor does not have memory constraints use external memory to provide program and data storage. You can connect to the processor is in the range of hundreds of Mbytes and even Gbytes also. 

Difference :
  • Microcontroller just needs one single voltage power rail whereas microprocessor required several different voltage rails for core and DDR. 
  • The microprocessor is the heart of a computer system on the other hand microcontroller is the heart of the embedded system. 
  • The microprocessor cannot be used in a compact system and hence inefficient and the microprocessor can be used in a compact system and hence it is an efficient technique. 
  • In the microprocessor memory and components have to be connected externally thus the circuit becomes large whereas memory and components have to be connected internally thus the circuit becomes small. 
  • Due to external components, the entire power consumption is high in the case of a microprocessor hence, it is not suitable to use with devices running on stored power like batteries and vice versa because entire power consumption is less in the microcontroller. 
  • Most of the microprocessors do not have power saving features while the microcontroller has idle mode and power saving mode this helps to reduce power consumption even further. 
  • Compared to the microcontroller, the clock speed of the microprocessor is quite high.
  • The microcontrollers have more registers, which makes the program simpler to write than the microprocessor due to fewer registers.
  • Microprocessor mainly used in personal computers and microcontroller mainly used in a washing machine, MP3 player. 
  • The microprocessor has zero status flag, whereas microcontroller has no zero flags. 
  • The instruction in the microprocessor is bits or bytes whereas in the microcontroller instruction are both bits and bytes addressable. 

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