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Difference between Microprocessor and Microcontroller

Difference between Microprocessor and Microcontroller

A microprocessor and a microcontroller are both computer chips, but they have different purposes. A microprocessor is the brains of a computer, while a microcontroller controls peripheral devices. Microprocessors are generally used in desktop and laptop computers, while microcontrollers are found in smaller devices like appliances and automobiles. Microcontrollers typically have more memory and input/output pins than microprocessors.

What is Microprocessor?

The microprocessor is an electronic device. It is made using silicon and other materials. Microprocessor combines the functions of CPU, ALU, and Control Unit on a single chip. The microprocessor that we use on our computers or laptops is 3rd generation microprocessor.

  • It was first introduced in 1971 by Intel Corporation. Microprocessors are classified into 8-, 16-, 32- and 64-bit processors, depending on the width of the data bus.
  • The term “bit” is short for “binary digit,” meaning a number that can have only two possible values, such as 0 or 1, on or off. A microprocessor with an 8-bit data bus can process data in groups of 8 bits (1 byte) at a time; a 16-bit microprocessor can handle 16 bits (2 bytes) at a time; and so forth.
  • Newer microprocessors often incorporate two or even four cores, which are processing units that function independently but share certain components, such as cache memory.

As a result, these multi-core processors can handle multiple tasks simultaneously, further improving performance. Microprocessors are also classified according to their clock speed, which is measured in megahertz (MHz) or gigahertz (GHz).

What is a Microcontroller?

A microcontroller is a miniaturized computer that is used to control devices or machines. Microcontrollers are embedded into devices and machines in order to control them automatically. Microcontrollers are usually found in devices that require automation, such as remote controls, automated teller machines, vending machines, etc. Microcontrollers can be programmed to perform specific tasks according to the instructions written in their program code. Microcontrollers are widely used in modern electronics because they are cheap, small, and easy to use.

Difference between Microprocessor and Microcontroller

Microprocessors and Microcontrollers are both types of computer chips.

  • Microprocessors are more powerful than Microcontrollers and are used in devices such as personal computers and laptops.
  • Microcontrollers are less powerful than Microprocessors but are used in smaller devices such as remote controls and digital watches.
  • Microprocessors can be programmed to perform complex tasks, while Microcontrollers are limited to simpler tasks.

Microprocessors contain a central processing unit (CPU), while Microcontrollers also include input/output (I/O) ports and memory. Microcontrollers are cheaper than Microprocessors and consume less power.


Microprocessors and microcontrollers are both integral to electronic devices, but they have different functions. A microprocessor is the main component in a computer, while a microcontroller is used in smaller devices like thermostats or watches. Understanding the difference between these two components can help you choose the right one for your project.

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