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Microcontroller vs microprocessor

by Mehwish Agha
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Microcontroller vs microprocessor

They almost look very identical but they are different in many aspects.

The application is different in which they are used, in term of cost, processing power which they possess and different in terms of the power consumption.


The classic example of microprocessor application is a P.C or laptop so using the laptop we can do lots of stuff we can use it for:

  • Gaming
  • Web browsing
  • Photo editing
  • Mathematical calculation
  • Creating documents
  • Simulation
  • Media streaming

The microprocessor is used in the various application where the task has not defined its depend on the user or its used In applications where intensive processing is required.

In the microcontroller, they are used in the specific task. it’s based in input which is given to the microcontroller it does some processing and gives the result as output

The classic example of applications are:

  • Digital camera
  • Washing machine
  • Microwave
  • Oven

The microcontroller is used in the various application where the task has defined.

Internal structure

If you see microcontroller chip it only contains CPU and all the memory elements and in I/O interfaces are connected to it externally.

Microprocessor elements like RAM, ROM, I/O ports, serial interface and timers all are connected externally.

In case of Microcontroller, all the memory elements and I/O ports are integrated along with CPU along with chip and the size of a system is much smaller.

Processing power and Memory

The microprocessor is operated at much higher speed, the clock speed of the microprocessor is in range of GigaHertz, speed varies from 1GHZ to 4GHZ for the high-end processor.

The microprocessor has to run the operating system the amount of memory that is RAM and ROM which is required quite high and the common peripheral interfaces which you see in the microprocessor are like USB, High-speed Ethernet, and the UART.

In Microcontroller the clock speed is the range of Megahertz, the speed of microcontroller goes to 1MHz to 300MHz in high-end microcontrollers and amount of memory is quite less.

Random access memory inside the microcontroller it is in the range of kilobytes. It goes from 2KB to 265KB the common peripheral interfaces which you find in microcontroller are I2C, SPI, and UART.


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