Microprocessor Vs Microcontroller

Microprocessor and MicrocontrollerMicroprocessor and microcontroller are two different kinds of processors designed for different systems. A microprocessor is specially designed to fit into the computer systems. However, if we talk about the microcontroller, it is specially designed to fit into the embedded systems.

Microprocessors only have the processor circuity on a single chip. On the other hand, the microcontroller, along with the processor circuitry, has some amount of memory, input/output interfaces, timer circuits, and some other essential features.

Let’s discuss some more differences between the microprocessor and microcontroller.

Microprocessor Vs Microcontroller

  1. Difference Chart
  2. What is Microprocessor?
  3. Architecture of Microprocessor
  4. What is Microcontroller?
  5. Architecture of Microcontroller
  6. Summary

Difference Chart

Points of ComparisonMicroprocessor Microcontroller
Architecture Microprocessor only contains the processor circuitry on a single chip that includes ALU, Control unit, and registers. Microprocessor along with the processor circuitry also includes some memory, I/O interfaces, timer circuits, and some other features on a single chip to implement complete computer control system.
Op-codeIt has many operational codes to operate on dataIt has one or two opcodes.
Bit-handling InstructionsIt has one or two bits handling instructionIt has many bits handling instructions
Execution Time Takes more time to complete a processTakes comparatively less time to complete a process
Hardware RequirementMicroprocessor based system requires more hardwareMicrocontroller based system requires less hardware
DesigningIt is more flexible from designing point of view It is less flexible from designing point of view.
Boolean FunctionNot capable of handling Boolean functionCapable of handling boolean function
Bit-handlingMicroprocessor is capable handling 8-bit to 64-bit numbers Microprocessor is capable of handling 4-bit to 32-bit numbers
No. of PinsLess number of pins of the processor chip are multifunctionalMore number of pins of the processor chip are multifunctional
Memory MapIt has single memory map for data and code It has separate memory map for data and code
ComponentsIt has CPU, memory addressing circuits and interrupt handling circuits It has CPU with timers parallel and serial input/output and internal RAM and ROM.

What is Microprocessor?

Right from the moment the first computer was developed, continuous efforts were made to optimize its size. As time passed, the density of elements on the processor chip continued to rise. So fewer and fewer chips were required to construct a processor for a single computer.

In 1971, Intel launched its first processor, 4004, which contained all the CPU components on a single chip. Thus, we refer to it as a microprocessor.

The microprocessor 4004 was featured to add two 4-bit numbers, and it could perform multiplication only by performing repeated addition. If we compare 4004 with today’s microprocessor, it is hopelessly primitive. However, it marked the beginning of the continuous evolution of microprocessors in terms of their capability and power.

As the microprocessor evolved, the number of bits it could deal with kept on increasing. As of now, the latest microprocessor is able to deal with 64 bits numbers which is far more than the first microprocessor that could only deal with 4-bits numbers.


We can measure the number of bits, a processor can deal with at a time by the width of the data bus. The data bus’s width specifies how many bits the processor can send or receive at a time.

Evolution of Microprocessor

Intel launched the next updated microprocessor 8008 in the year 1972. The microprocessor 8008 was the first to deal with 8-bit numbers, and its complexity was twice that of the processor 4004.

After 4004 and 8008, designed for specific applications, Intel launched its first general-purpose microprocessor, 8080, in 1974, which became the CPU of general-purpose microcomputers.

Although 8080 could only deal with 8-bit numbers at a time like 8008, it was faster, with a richer instruction set and had large addressing capabilities.

By the end of the 1970s, powerful general-purpose 16-bit microprocessors began to appear. One of these was 8086. In 1985 Intel launched the 32-bit microprocessor 80386, and the latest 64-bit microprocessor that Intel launched is Core i9.

Architecture of Microprocessor

A microprocessor is a single processor chip that contains arithmetic logic unit (ALU), registers, and control unit. The microprocessor chip includes all the processing elements; however, it executes the programs stored in the main memory, which is not part of the microprocessor.

The image below describes the architecture of a microprocessor.

Architecture of Microprocessor

  • Address bus: The width of the address bus decides the address of how many bits the microprocessor can send to the memory at a time.
  • Data bus: The data bus width decides data of how many bits it can send to memory.
  • The read (RD) and Write (WR) line indicates whether the memory wants to read or write the data to address the location.
  • The reset line resets the program counter and restarts the program execution.

What is Microcontroller?

Microcontroller is a type of microprocessor when only the processor circuitry but also some amount of memory, input/output interfaces, timer circuits, and some other features essential to achieve a complete computer control system using very few chips. We also refer to it as a system-on-chip.

In 1980 Intel developed the 8-bit microcontroller 8051. The core feature of the 8051 microprocessor is that it includes a Boolean processing engine. Thus, the controller could perform bit-level Boolean logic operations on the internal register and RAM.


This feature made the microcontroller popular in industrial control applications. Along with this, the microcontroller designer has also added a separate register set that greatly reduces interrupt context in a stack.

Nowadays, several products carry hidden microcontrollers such as remote control, kitchen appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and office machines. Anything with which the user can interact has a microprocessor buried inside.

With the reduced size, cost, and lower power consumption, microcontrollers economically and electronically control many more processes.

Architecture of Microcontroller

The figure below explains the architecture of a microcontroller.

Architecture of Microcontroller

  • It has a CPU Boolean processor
  • The processor has 5 or 6 interrupts, two are external, and two are priority level.
  • The programmable full duplex serial port is provided by one of the timers.
  • 32 input-output lines, including four 8-bit ports.
  • RAM memory to store the executable program.
  • ROM memory that stores the specific program for which the microprocessor is specially designed. And the program generally does not change.


The microprocessor and microcontroller are electronic devices fabricated as integrated chips designed to perform special tasks, on the one hand, where the microprocessor is specially designed to fit into general-purpose computer systems. On the other hand, microcontrollers are specially designed to fit into the embedded system that is usually dedicated to performing one or two tasks only.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *