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MSP430 vs 8051 | Difference between MSP430 and 8051 Microcontroller

This page compares microcontroller MSP430 vs 8051 and describes difference between MSP430 and 8051 microcontroller. The useful links to difference between various terms are provided here.

MSP430 Microcontroller

MSP430 is the microcontroller developed by Texas Instruments (TI). Following are the features of MSP430 Microcontroller:
• It is 16 bit in size and consists of special features commonly not supported by generic 8051 microcontroller.
• It includes LCD control, ADC, Input / Output ports, RAM, ROM, watchdog timer, basic timer, UART etc.
• It consumes very low power which is about 4.2 nW per instruction.
• It has high speed of operation i.e. it takes about 300 ns per instruction @ clock of 3.3 MHz .
• It is based on RISC architecture.
• It supports 7 addressing modes for source operand and 4 for destination operand.
• MSP430 has three sub-families viz. MSP430C31x, MSP430C32x and MSP430C33x.

MSP430 architecture

The figure-1 depicts MSP430 microcontroller architecture.

MSP430 pin diagram

The figure-2 depicts MSP430 Pin diagram.

8051 Microcontroller

8051 is the microcontroller developed by Intel. Following are the features of 8051 Microcontroller:
• It houses 8 bit CPU.
• 4 KByte ROM used for code or program storage
• 128 Byte RAM to store data or variables used in program
• 32 Input/Output lines with 4 ports ( 8 lines per port)
• 2 Timers used for introducing delay and for setting the baud rate for data communication.
• 1 serial Port with one TxD and one RxD line used for serial communication with external devices.
• 6 Interrupt Sources
• Clock oscillator circuit runs at 12MHz frequency.

8051 architecture

The figure-3 depicts 8051 microcontroller architecture. Refer 8051 Architecture➤

8051 pin diagram

The figure-4 depicts 8051 pin diagram.

Following table summarizes similarities and difference between MSP430 and 8051.


Specifications MSP430 8051
RAM 128/256/512 Bytes RAM/SRAM 256 bytes
Used for data storage
ROM 2/4/8/16 KB ROM 4KB ROM available internally
64KB (max.) can be interfaced external to microcontroller
Used for program storage
CPU (Number of bits in size) 16 bit 8 bit
I/O ports (without interrupt) 0 (MSP430C31x, MSP430C32x)
16 (MSP430C33x)
Four number of I/O ports are available , each with 8 lines
I/O ports (with interrupt) 8 (MSP430C31x, MSP430C32x)
24 (MSP430C33x)
Four number of I/O ports , uses 2 interrupt lines INT0 and INT1
Serial ports Supported One
Timers/Counters Supported Two
Crystal Oscillator frequency Supported 32.768 KHz crystal Supports 4 MHz to 30 MHz
Nominal: 11.0592 MHz
Watchdog timer Supported in all sub-families Not supported
HW multiplier Supported in MSP430C33x sub family Not supported
A to D converter 12 bit and 14 bit modes are available
Supports measurement modes viz. ratiometric and absolute
Not supported
D to A converter supported Not supported
HW/SW UART supported supported
USART Supported Not supported
LCD Supported Not supported, external interfacing circuit to be developed
SPI/I2C interfaces Supported Not Supported
PWM Supported Not Supported

Useful Links

Refer our Page on what a microcontroller does.
Refer our Page on microcontroller programming using C language including example.
Refer our Page on microcontroller development kit manufacturers.
RS232 interface   RS485 interface   RS422 interface   CAN interface   SPI interface   interface types and converters   DigRF interface 

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