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Microcontroller vs Microprocessor

Tutorial Objectives


After completing this AVR microcontroller tutorial readers should be able to:
  • Give a technical definition for the term microcontroller.
  • Explain the major differences between a microcontroller and a microprocessor.
  • Discuss the advantages of a similar microcontroller vs microprocessor product.


Microcontroller vs Microprocessor



What is a microcontroller?

A Microcontroller is basically a computer on a chip. It differs form normal desktop or laptop computers in that a microcontroller is an application specific computer that usually runs a single program performing dedicated task(s) while the the later two are general purpose computers that can run numerous programs depending on a users needs. A microcontroller contains on chip CPU, input/output interface, memory, clock, timer, and an assortment of of other peripherals.


A Microprocessor on the other hand is just a CPU one has to add externally memory, clock, input/output interfaces, timer and all other needed peripheral. This is the reason a microprocessor has so many pins.


Microcontroller vs Microprocessor


Advantages of a similar microcontroller vs microprocessor product


  1. Product smaller - A microcontroller product has many components on one chip and so is more compact. With a microprocessor product one have to add several other chips and so its bulky.
  2. Cheaper - All the components on a microcontroller is manufacturer on a single chip and so is mush cheaper than having to manufacture several chips as is the case for a microprocessor system.

AVR Tutorials hopes that this tutorial on microcontroller vs microprocessor systems was beneficial to you and looks for to your continued visits for all your microcontroller tutorial needs.