The terms microprocessor and microcontroller have always been confused with each other. Both of them have been intended for real-time use. They share several mutual features and also they have important differences. Both the IC’s such as the Microprocessor & microcontroller cannot be well-known by looking at them. They are obtainable in different version starting from 6-pin to as high as 80-100-pins depending on the features.
The overview of a piece of technology named “Microprocessor” has transformed the way in which we observe, examine and control the world nearby us over the past two decades. The microprocessor is considered a creation of mutual developments in the computer architecture and also Integrated Circuit (IC) fabrication fields. It has made the idea of personal computing very possible.
The Microcontroller is frequently considered as a byproduct of the microprocessor development. The assembly process and programming method which is liable in the development of microprocessors has also lead to the microcontroller development. Until a decade ago, these are less popular even though most of the buyer electronics, namely TVs, video cassette recorders, video games, elevators, telephones, etc. Before going into discussing the differences between microprocessor and microcontroller, let’s see the brief introduction of the microprocessor, microcontroller, and its differences.
What are Microprocessor and Microcontroller?
The microcontroller is a small computer on a single integrated circuit. It comprises a processor core, RAM, ROM, and I/O pins dedicated to achieving several tasks. These are generally used to build various electronic projects and applications that need direct control of the user. As it has all the components required in its single chip, it does not require any exterior circuits to complete the task. So these are frequently used in embedded systems and main microcontroller manufacturing companies are creating them to be used in the embedded market. A microcontroller can be named the heart of the embedded system. Some of the popular microcontrollers are 8051, PIC, AVR.
The Microprocessor comprises a CPU inside them in one or few ICs (Integrated Circuits). Similar to the microcontroller, it does not have peripherals like RAM, ROM, etc.
They are reliant on exterior circuits of peripherals to work. But these are not designed for a particular task, but they are essential where tasks are difficult and complicated like software development, games and other applications that need high memory and where input & output are not defined. It may be named heart of a computer system. The best examples of the microprocessor are I3, Pentium, and I5 etc.
Difference Between Microprocessor and Microcontroller
As now we are basically aware of what is a microprocessor and microcontroller, it would be very easy to recognize the main differences between them.
The main difference between both of them is the existence of exterior periphery, where microcontroller have memory (RAM, ROM, EEPROM) embedded in it while we have to utilize external circuits in case of microprocessors.
As all the microcontroller peripherals are on single IC it is compact while the microprocessor is large.
Microcontrollers are prepared by using CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) technology so they are far inexpensive than microprocessors. In addition, the applications made with these are inexpensive because they require less exterior components, while the whole cost of systems finished with microprocessors are high because of the number of external components needed for such systems.
Generally, microcontrollers have a power saving system such as idle mode or power saving mode so complete it uses low power and also since exterior components are low whole consumption of power is less. While in microprocessors usually there is no power saving system and also several external components are used to it, so its power consumption is high indifference with microcontrollers.
Microcontrollers are solid so it makes them a positive and efficient system for minor products and applications while microprocessors are large so they are chosen for larger applications.
The architecture of Microcontroller is based on Harvard architecture where program and data memory are distinct while microprocessors are based on the von-Neumann architecture where both the memories are stored in the equal memory module.
|Micro Controller is a heart of the embedded system.||The microprocessor is the heart of Computer system.|
Microcontroller has an external processor along with internal memory and i/O components
|It is just a processor. Memory and I/O components have to be connected externally|
|Since memory and I/O are present internally, the circuit is small.||Since memory and I/O has to be connected externally, the circuit becomes large.|
|Can be used in compact systems and hence it is an efficient technique||Cannot be used in compact systems and hence inefficient|
|The cost of the entire system is low||Cost of the entire system increases|
|Since components are internal, most of the operations are internal instruction, hence speed is fast.||Since memory and I/O components are all external, each instruction will need an external operation, hence it is relatively slower.|
|The microcontroller has a number of registers, hence the programs are easier to write.||Microprocessor has less number of registers, hence more operations are memory based.|
|Microcontrollers are based on Harvard architecture where program memory and Data memory are separate||Microprocessors are based on von Neumann model/architecture where program and data are stored in the same memory module|
|Used mainly in the washing machine, MP3 players||
Mainly used in personal computers
From the above information, finally, we can conclude that the comparison between microprocessor and microcontroller in terms of price is not justified.Absolutely a microcontroller is inexpensive than a microprocessor. But microcontroller cannot be used instead of the microprocessor and using this is not recommended in place of a microcontroller as it makes the application quite expensive.
The microprocessor cannot be used stand alone. They need additional peripherals such as ROM, RAM, I/O ports buffer, etc and hence a system intended around a microprocessor is quite expensive.Furthermore, any queries regarding this concept or to implement microcontroller based projects please, give your feedback by commenting in the comment section below. Here is a question for you, what is the function of a microcontroller?