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Difference between CPU, Microprocessor and Microcontroller

Traditional computer CPUs was designed with components on various boards. With IC technology, it became possible to build the CPU on a single chip. A microprocessor is a CPU that happens to be on a single chip.

cpu architecture
Computer Architecture
microprocessor based system
Microprocessor-Based System

A computer with a microprocessor as a CPU is known as a microcomputer. A microcontroller is an entire computer on a single chip (MPU + Memory + I/O Interfacing circuits).

The key difference between a microprocessor and a microcontroller is described in the following table.

Microprocessor Microcontroller
Consists of only a Central Processing Unit. Contains a CPU, Memory, I/O all integrated into one chip.
It is mainly used in personal computers. It is used mainly in embedded systems.
Microprocessor is complicated and expensive,with a large number of instructions to process. Microcontroller is inexpensive and straightforward with fewer instructions to process.
It has no RAM, ROM, Input-Output units, timers, and other peripherals on the chip. It has a CPU along with RAM, ROM, and other peripherals embedded on a single chip.
It uses an external bus to interface to RAM, ROM, and other peripherals. Microcontroller uses an internal controlling bus.
It’s used for general purpose applications that allow you to handle loads of data. It’s used for application-specific systems.
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