Difference Between Microprocessor and Microcontroller


Main Difference

Both these terms related to computer and are frequently being used in the world of technology. However, these terms confuse the users of technology across the world and are taken to be the same by many. In order to address the similarities and differences between these two, we have detailed the explanation of microcontroller and microprocessor here. First of all, Microcontroller is basically a tiny micro computer designed to incorporate every characteristics expected in a micro-processor CPU: ALU, PC, SP and registers. Microprocessor on the other hand, is a digital computer central processing unit with primary purpose to reading data and to perform detailed calculations on the data and finally preserving the outcomes in a mass storage device or manifest the findings. Microcontroller comes as a device with general-purpose aims to read data and to carry out limited measurements on that data and to monitor its aura basing on those evaluations. The layout of microprocessor is formed with having aspiration to develop it as expandable and pliant as possible. The microcontroller aims at fetching data from its own pins where the design and command set are functionalized to control data in bit and byte size. Moreover, both of them are framed for real time application and they come with many such features and attributes which are common in both of these. As far the prices of both these entities are concerned, microcontroller has an edge as it is cheaper than a microprocessor. But microcontroller does not include the potential to be replaced with microprocessor.

Comparison Chart

A microprocessor incorporates the functions of a CPU on a single IC.A small computer on a single IC containing a processor core, memory, and programmable input/output peripherals.
Multi-tasking purposesSingle tasking purposes
It is solely used in personal computersIt is mainly used in devices such as MP3 players.

What is Microprocessor?

A microprocessor is basically a computer processor that integrates the working of a computer’s central processing unit (CPU) on a single integrated circuit (IC), or at most a few incorporated circuits. With its multiplicity functionality, microprocessor’s programmable device supports digital data as input. Processing in accordance with the commands from the memory, the microprocessor gives outcomes as outputs. The entity contains both combinational logic and sequential digital logic and it works on numbers and symbols which are represented in the binary numeral system.

What is Microcontroller?

A microcontroller is considered as a tiny and small computer designed on a single integrated circuit having processor core, memory and programmable input/output side lines. Microcontroller is employed in automatically handled artifacts and tools and embedded systems. Microcontrollers work to control other devices and processes digital. A microcontroller can be taken as an auto-contained system having a processor memory and marginals and can even be used as an embedded system. Mostly, the microcontrollers being utilized in modern days are embedded in other machinery including automobiles, telephones, appliances, and peripherals for computer systems.


Key Differences

  1. Microprocessor is the core of computer system, while Microcontroller is simply a core of embedded system.
  2. Microprocessor is not capable to be used in compact system, while Microcontroller has the potential to be used in compact system.
  3. Microprocessor is inefficient having less potential, while Microcontroller has sufficient technique.
  4. Microprocessor’s functionality is memory based, while programs are easier to write on Microcontroller.
  5. Microprocessor is solely used in personal computers, Microcontroller, on the other hand, is mainly used in cleaning machine like MP3 players.

Comparison Video

YouTube video


Overall, micro devices are the way forward for human beings. The developments taking place in the technology have made sure more things are now in the knowledge of people who want to explore the things and get to know about stuff they do not know. Microcontrollers and Microprocessors and the two hardcore items which have been explained in this space.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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