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Definition: A microcontroller is a single chip containing at least a CPU, non-volatile memory, volatile memory, a timer and an I/O control unit.
Basically a microcontroller can be described as a computer on a chip. The difference between a microcontroller and a regular PC is that the PC is a general purpose computer while a microcontroller is a computer dedicated to one or just a few tasks.
A microcontroller apart from the above mentioned components usually also include, but not limited to, serial communication capabilities, interrupt controls and analog I/O capabilities. The figure below gives the basic layout of a general AVR microcontroller.
Microcontroller (MCU) vs Microprocessor
What is a microcontroller?
A Microcontroller is basically a computer on a chip. It differs form normal desktop or laptop computers in that a microcontroller is an application specific computer that usually runs a single program performing dedicated task(s) while the the later two are general purpose computers that can run numerous programs depending on a users needs. A microcontroller contains on chip CPU, input/output interface, memory, clock, timer, and an assortment of of other peripherals.
A Microprocessor on the other hand is just a CPU one has to add externally memory, clock, input/output interfaces, timer and all other needed peripheral. This is the reason a microprocessor has so many pins.
Advantages of a similar microcontroller vs microprocessor product
- Product smaller - A microcontroller product has many components on one chip and so is more compact. With a microprocessor product one have to add several other chips and so its bulky.
- Cheaper - All the components on a microcontroller is manufacturer on a single chip and so is mush cheaper than having to manufacture several chips as is the case for a microprocessor system.
- AVR Tutorials hopes that this tutorial on microcontroller vs microprocessor systems was beneficial to you and looks for to your continued visits for all your microcontroller tutorial needs.
ROM & RAM
- ROM (or flash-based MCU) - CPU can only read, can not write, save user program in ROM
- RAM - CPU can write or read data, when power lost data also lose