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Microprocessor vs. Microcomputer: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A microprocessor is a single chip containing a CPU, while a microcomputer is a complete computer system built around a microprocessor.
Microprocessor vs. Microcomputer

Key Differences

A microprocessor is the central processing unit (CPU) on a single integrated circuit (IC), containing the computational capabilities of a computer. It executes a series of instructions to perform operations like arithmetic, logic, control, and input/output (I/O) operations as dictated by the software.
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A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer with a microprocessor as its central processing unit. It includes memory, I/O, and a means of interacting with a human operator (peripherals), all connected and interacting through buses.
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The microprocessor is the brain of the microcomputer, responsible for interpreting and executing instructions. This single chip is the most vital component of the microcomputer, without which the system cannot function.
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Microcomputers are designed to serve a single user and are often used as personal computers. They can run application software and operating systems, which the microprocessor in itself cannot do without the additional components of a microcomputer.
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While a microprocessor performs calculations and tasks essential to the operation of computers, it is only a part of the whole system. A microcomputer uses the microprocessor to perform its computing tasks and provides the user interface and data storage necessary to be a fully functional computing device.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

A single chip that functions as the CPU
A complete computing system
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Components

CPU only
CPU, memory, I/O, storage, peripherals
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Function

Executes instructions
Performs specific tasks using software
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Usage

Part of computers and other electronics
Used as personal or dedicated computers
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Necessity for Operation

Requires other components to function
Self-contained, operational system
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Microprocessor and Microcomputer Definitions

Microprocessor

The computational heart of a computer.
The latest microprocessor can perform billions of calculations per second.
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Microcomputer

Used widely in education.
Schools have introduced microcomputers to aid with learning.
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Microprocessor

A complex integrated circuit with processing capabilities.
The computer's speed is largely due to its fast microprocessor.
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Microcomputer

An affordable computing solution for small businesses.
He used a microcomputer to keep track of his store's inventory.
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Microprocessor

A product driving innovation in technology.
Tech companies compete to develop the most powerful microprocessor.
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Microcomputer

A compact computer for individual use.
She bought a microcomputer to manage her home-based business.
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Microprocessor

Executes program instructions.
This microprocessor supports advanced multitasking capabilities.
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Microcomputer

Common in domestic settings.
Almost every household has a microcomputer these days.
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Microprocessor

A silicon chip that processes data.
Smartphones contain a microprocessor to manage their operations.
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Microcomputer

A small form-factor desktop computing device.
The office desks were each equipped with a new microcomputer.
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Microprocessor

An integrated circuit that contains a major processing unit of a computer on a single microchip, such as the central processor or the graphics processor.
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Oct 19, 2023

Microcomputer

A personal computer.
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Microprocessor

(computer hardware) the entire CPU of a computer on a single integrated circuit (chip).
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Microcomputer

(computer hardware) A computer designed around a microprocessor, smaller than a minicomputer or a mainframe.
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Microprocessor

Integrated circuit semiconductor chip that performs the bulk of the processing and controls the parts of a system;
A microprocessor functions as the central processing unit of a microcomputer
A disk drive contains a microprocessor to handle the internal functions of the drive
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Microcomputer

A small computer based on a microprocessor; in practise, at any given time in the technology of computer development, a microcomputer will be one that is less powerful than a minicomputer.
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Microcomputer

A small digital computer based on a microprocessor and designed to be used by one person at a time
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is a microprocessor?

A microprocessor is a single integrated circuit that contains the functions of a computer's central processing unit (CPU).
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Can a microprocessor run software?

A microprocessor can execute instructions but needs to be part of a microcomputer to run software applications.
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Is a microprocessor replaceable?

In many systems, a microprocessor can be replaced or upgraded if the computer's motherboard supports it.
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What devices use microprocessors?

Microprocessors are used in a variety of devices, from computers to cars and smartphones.
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Can a microcomputer work without a microprocessor?

No, a microprocessor is an essential component of a microcomputer.
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How has the microprocessor evolved over the years?

Microprocessors have become significantly faster, more powerful, and more energy-efficient.
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How do microprocessors affect a microcomputer's performance?

The speed and efficiency of a microprocessor directly impact the performance of a microcomputer.
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Are microcomputers portable?

Some microcomputers, like laptops, are portable, while others, like desktops, are not.
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Can microcomputers be customized?

Yes, many microcomputers allow for components like RAM and storage to be upgraded.
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What is a microcomputer?

A microcomputer is a small computer built around a microprocessor, intended for use by an individual.
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What are the main uses of a microcomputer?

A microcomputer is used for personal computing tasks like word processing, internet browsing, and running software.
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Do microcomputers come with operating systems?

Yes, microcomputers typically come with an operating system installed.
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How do I know if a microcomputer's microprocessor is good?

Look at the processor's clock speed, core count, and performance benchmarks.
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What factors affect the performance of a microcomputer?

Factors include the microprocessor's speed, the amount of memory, and the storage type.
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Can a microprocessor handle graphics processing?

Some microprocessors have integrated graphics, but dedicated graphics processing units (GPUs) are often better for intense graphics tasks.
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Are microprocessors specific to microcomputers?

No, microprocessors are also used in other types of electronic devices, not just microcomputers.
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What's the role of a microprocessor in a smartphone?

A microprocessor in a smartphone manages the phone's functions and processes data.
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How do I choose a microcomputer?

Choose based on the intended use, software requirements, and budget.
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Are microprocessors made by different companies?

Yes, companies like Intel and AMD are major microprocessor manufacturers.
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Are microcomputers good for gaming?

Microcomputers with powerful processors and GPUs can be excellent for gaming.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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