Understanding Microprocessors & Microcontrollers

Published On July 17, 2018 | By Clare Louise | Tech Updates

We’ve reached the pinnacles of human progress in the last few years and all of that has happened because we’ve never been satisfied with what we have. This relentless pursuit of perfection is what has led us to reach the zenith of human progress. What’s even more encouraging is that this is a projection that is unlikely to ever seize. If anything it will continue to progress and we’ll reach even greater heights.

But this enormous spectacle of progress was achieved by little cogs that work efficiently and effectively. Two of these important cogs are known as microprocessors and microcontrollers. They have been important components of some of the most important scientific inventions of the past few decades. You can still find potent enough processors on sites like digilentinc.com.

But there’s still a bit of confusion about what exactly is the difference between a microprocessor as well as a microcontroller and perhaps most importantly, which one would be the best option to use depending on a number of different factors.

The reason for that is because most laymen tend to use both terms interchangeably with little or no regard for how different these two components are. It makes sense since most laymen are only concerned with using their computers rather than being curious about the components of their PCs. But it’s a piece of information that every use should be aware of in order to understand the complexity of the components that make their PC work.

What Sets Them Apart
First of all, the number of microcontrollers in the devices that we use every day is a lot more than the total number of microprocessors. Though it might come as a surprise but the fact remains that only a few items really have microprocessors in them. There are three distinct ways that a microprocessor is different than a microcontroller. The first is speed; the second is process and thirdly, the application.

Microcontrollers are primarily used for specific tasks. If you were to explain it to a layman, microprocessor is a board that is designed to be good at a particular function. It cannot perform any other task and can only be used for that singular task. Its processing power is incapable of handling even two processes at the same time. In a nutshell, it’s extremely good at one particular process without the capability of even performing a minute secondary role.

On the other hand, a microprocessor is a jack of all trades. It is custom made for multi-tasking. There’s a good chance that the phone or PC you’re using right now depends on the microprocessor’s ability to perform multiple actions. It can perform hundreds of processes in the background depending on the processing speed.

There are specific softwares that are designed to help the microprocessor prioritize which actions to perform first and which action to keep in the backgrounds.

In conclusion, a microprocessor is a board designed exclusively for PC and phone usage as it helps in performing multiple tasks at once. A microcontroller is for other devices that are meant to perform only one particular task.

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