Embedded Processor

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What Does Embedded Processor Mean?

An embedded processor is a microprocessor designed especially for handling the needs of an
embedded system. Embedded systems require less power, so these processors are
very small and draw less power from the source. An ordinary microprocessor only
comes with the processor in the chip. The peripherals are separate from the
main chip, resulting in more power consumption.


There are two main types of
embedded processors: ordinary microprocessors and
microcontrollers. Embedded processors are used for those systems which do not
require the processing power of standard devices such as desktops, laptops or workstations.

Techopedia Explains Embedded Processor

An embedded processor can be programmed specifically for the work it is intended to do. Thus, it can have many different CPU architectures. Often the Harvard architecture is used in such processors. RISC and non-RISC type architectures are common amongst them. The most common word length in these processors is in the 8-16 bit range. Embedded processors are even differentiated on the basis of their clock speed, storage size and voltages. Usually, embedded processors have a storage capacity of 4 kB to 64 kB, but some systems require more storage. Microcontrollers are generally considered more useful as they require less support circuitry than microprocessors. For such systems, microcontrollers with storage space up to 320 kB are available. These are used in portable devices like cameras, GPS systems and MP3 players.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.