Difference between Microprocessor and Microcontroller

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Integrated circuits or ICs are the electronic circuits used to construct the circuits which are smaller, compact, quicker, and cheaper. The microprocessor and microcontroller are integrated circuits. The major difference between microprocessor and microcontroller is that the microprocessor is used to perform the functions of the CPU and the microcontroller is used as the brain of the circuit.

The microprocessor and microcontroller are basically used to optimize the computing unit as per the central processing unit. After learning about the difference between microprocessor and microcontroller in the various aspects, we will discuss what are microprocessors and microcontrollers in the coming sections in brief.

Externally connected with input-output components.input-output components are embedded. 
The circuit may be large depending upon usage.The circuit is very small.
Not cost-effective.Cost-effective.
The total consumption of power is high.Total consumption of power is less.
Power saving mode is not generally available.Power saving mode is generally offered.
Used in PC.Used in MP3 players, washing machines, etc.
Memories like RAM and ROM are absent.Carries RAM, ROM, etc.
Runs at a very high speed.Runs at a relatively lower speed.
It is complex and costly.Simple and cheap.
Example: DEC Alpha 21164, IBM RS6000, etcExample:  Intel 8031/8051, PIC1x, etc.


The MCU or Microcontroller Unit is another name for the microcontroller. It is an integrated circuit made of metal-oxide semiconductors, or MOS, and it has a single specific function. They are utilised in a variety of automatically controlled items, including toys, remote controls, mobile phones, cars, cameras, microwaves, and more. Even self-contained devices with a CPU and memory can be called by the microcontrollers.

8051 microcontroller, PIC microcontroller, MSP microcontroller, AVR microcontroller

Introduction to Microcontrollers - Circuit Basics


The microprocessors in any microcomputer act as a CPU. The CPU can be made up of ALU + CU + Registers. Where ALU is the group of circuits that performs arithmetic and logical operations. Control Unit (CU) is a group of circuits that provide timings and signals to all the operations in the computer and controls the data flow.

The microprocessor is known as the heart of the computer system. It is a simple or sometimes singular integrated circuit that is used to perform the function of a CPU or central processing unit. They carry arithmetic, logic, and control circuitry. They can perform various tasks on digital computers.

Microprocessors helped in creating microcomputers. The use of microprocessors in computing helped in microprocessing many businesses, scientific and industrial tasks. There are various types of microprocessors which are listed below:

  • CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer): Example: Intel 386, Pentium II, Pentium, Pentium Pro, Intel 486, etc.
  • RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer): Example: DEC Alpha 21164, IBM RS6000, DEC Alpha 21064, etc.
  • EPIC (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing): Example: Intel Architecture-64, etc.
What is Microprocessor: Block Diagram, Evolution, Working, Features -  javatpoint

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