Microcontrollers vs. Single-Board Computers: What’s the Difference?

Single-board computers and microcontrollers are two of the hottest topics in the DIY world. And, if you’re new to this field, the distinctions between them can be perplexing. So, what makes a single-board computer different from a microcontroller?

Let’s have a look at what we’ve got.

What is the difference between a single-board computer and a dual-board computer?

A single-board computer (SBC) is exactly what its name implies: a computer with only one board. A single-board computer (SBC) is a full-featured computer with RAM, storage, input/output, and peripherals such as USBs, all housed on a single motherboard. An SBC also has an operating system and can execute multiple programs at once. To put it another way, an SBC merely need power to begin operating. Smartphones, laptops, and Raspberry Pi computers are all examples of SBCs. All of these don’t require any additional PCBs to work. What is the difference between a microcontroller and a microprocessor? An SBC and a microcontroller have a lot in common. Both have a processor, storage, and peripherals for input and output. But that’s where the resemblances end. SBCs have significantly more resources than microcontrollers.

For example, instead of MBs or GBs of SBCs, a microcontroller may have KBs of storage. In the same way, their processing power is severely constrained. In most circumstances, breakout boards are required to make programming a microcontroller easier. A microcontroller with a breakout board, such as an Arduino Uno, is an excellent example. It allows you to link the microcontroller, which is an Atmel ATmega328P in this case, to input/output devices, power, and peripherals.

Microcontrollers can’t run more than one program at a time because they’re designed to run a single loop. Controllers inside smoke detectors and infrared TV remotes are examples of microcontrollers. Microcontrollers and Single-Board Computers: What’s the Difference? The most significant distinction between an SBC and a microcontroller is that the former is a self-contained computer capable of running an operating system, whilst the latter is simply a chip with significantly fewer resources.

Microcontrollers, unlike SBCs, are designed to run just one program at a time. SBCs such as the Raspberry Pi, for example, run Linux, whereas boards such as the Arduino Uno do not. You now understand the distinction between SBCs and microcontrollers. Because single-board computers and microcontrollers have a lot in common, it can be difficult for newcomers to tell them apart. Just keep in mind that microcontrollers are designed to do simple, repetitive tasks like as turning a button on and off in response to an input. Because these jobs do not require a lot of resources, microcontrollers aren’t as powerful as SBCs. Computers, on the other side, are SBCs. They have their own operating system and can be utilized to perform numerous jobs at the same time. All you have to do to choose the ideal one for you is think about your specific requirements.