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Difference Between 8 Bit and 16 Bit Microcontroller

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Introduction :

Microcontrollers are small, low-power computers designed for specific tasks. They are widely used in embedded systems such as household appliances, automotive systems, medical devices, and industrial control systems. Microcontrollers are available in various configurations and architectures, and they differ in terms of processing power, memory, and I/O capabilities.

8-bit and 16-bit microcontrollers are two common types of microcontrollers that differ in terms of the number of bits they can process at once. An 8-bit microcontroller can process 8 bits of data at a time, while a 16-bit microcontroller can process 16 bits of data at a time.

8-bit microcontrollers are commonly used in low-end applications that do not require a lot of processing power, such as remote controls, toys, and simple sensors. They typically have limited memory and I/O capabilities, and they are relatively inexpensive.

On the other hand, 16-bit microcontrollers are used in more complex applications that require more processing power, such as motor control, data logging, and advanced sensors. They typically have larger memory and I/O capabilities, and they are more expensive than 8-bit microcontrollers.

Microcontroller is a chip with a processor on it. It essentially provides something for the processor to read from. A processor is basically useless without a microcontroller. So an 8-bit microcontroller can read 8 bits of information. A 16-bit microcontroller is 16 bits, a 32-bit microcontroller is 32 bits, and so on.

8-bit Microcontroller: An 8-bit microcontroller is one with a data word length of 8 bits. The number of bits that a microprocessor can process at once is referred to as its word length or word size.

16-bit Microcontroller: A 16-bit microcontroller is one that can handle data with 16 bits, allowing it to manage a bigger quantity of data and calculations at once. It also consumes less power and has a faster clock speed than an 8-bit microcontroller. It is now the most widely used microcontroller.

Difference Between 8 Bit and 16 Bit Microcontrollers:

8-bit Microcontroller16-bit Microcontroller

An 8-bit microcontroller is capable of handling 8-bit data and program memory.

A 16-bit microcontroller is capable of handling 16-bit data and program memory.

An 8-bit reading bus is present on 8-bit microcontrollers.

A 16-bit reading bus is present on 16-bit microcontrollers.

8-bit microcontrollers have lower clock speeds but are more reliable.

16-bit microcontrollers offer double the clock speed but are less reliable.

8-bit microcontrollers are less efficient than 16-bit microcontrollers.

Compared to 8-bit microcontrollers, 16-bit microcontrollers are more efficient.

8-bit microcontrollers require more ROM.

16-bit microcontrollers require less ROM.

Microcontrollers with 8 bits take up less space than microcontrollers with 16 bits.

Microcontrollers with 16 bits take up more space than microcontrollers with 8 bits.

The 8-bit microcontroller is cheaper.

A 16 bit microcontroller is costly compared to an 8-bit microcontroller.

The 8-bit range for each instruction cycle is 0 to 255.

The 16- bit range for each instruction cycle is 0 to 65535.

An 8-bit microcontroller takes 20 mA of electricity to operate, which is twice as much as a 16-bit microcontroller’s current consumption.

16 bit microcontroller takes 10 mA of current.

8-bit input and output peripherals are less advanced than 16 bit microcontroller input and output peripherals.

16 bit input and output peripherals are more advanced than 8-bit microcontroller input and output peripherals.

At 48 MHz, an 8-bit microcontroller shows a speed of 12 MIPS.

At 32 MHz, a 16-bit microcontroller shows a speed of 16 MIPS.

Microcontroller with 8 bits have 8-bit reading bus.Microcontroller with 16 bits have 16-bit reading bus.
Feature 8-bit Microcontroller 16-bit Microcontroller
Data bus width 8 bits 16 bits
Memory address width Up to 64 KB Up to 4 GB
Processing power Limited Higher
I/O capabilities LimitedHigher
Cost Inexpensive More expensive
Applications Simple sensors, toys, remote controls Motor control, data logging, advanced sensors
Examples of microcontrollers Atmel AVR, PIC Microcontroller, 8051 Freescale HCS12, ARM Cortex-M0, Renesas RX
Last Updated : 24 Apr, 2023
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