Explain the difference between a microprocessor & a microcomputer

Written by mark stansberry
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Explain the difference between a microprocessor & a microcomputer
A microprocessor is much larger than a microcontroller (microprocessor image by Pavol Kmeto from Fotolia.com)

To design an electronic system, you need to know the difference between a microcontroller and a microprocessor. Knowing the difference will let you decide which is the best choice to design an electronic system with.

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Price

Microprocessors are much more expensive then microcontrollers. An average microprocessor is priced at about £45.50 and the average microcontroller is priced at about 70p.

Applications

A microprocessor is most often used to design computers, such as laptop and desktop computers, but microcontrollers are most often used in the design of appliances, automotive electronics, and industrial control equipment.

Size

A microprocessor is most often much larger than a microcontroller. A typical microprocessor has width, length and height dimensions of about 30X30X3 millimetres and a typical microcontroller has dimensions of about 7X7X3 millimetres.

Circuitry

A microprocessor only contains digital logic circuitry. A microcontroller contains digital electronics circuitry and analogue electronic circuitry.

Speed

Microprocessors operate at a much higher speed (clock rate) than a microcontroller. A typical microprocessor will have a clock rate of 1 gigahertz, but a typical microcontroller will have a clock rate of only about 20 megahertz.

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