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.
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.
|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.|