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Difference Between FPGA and Microcontroller

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  • Last Updated : 18 Jan, 2023
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FPGA stands for Field Programmable Gate Array. It is a reprogrammable chip which is a collection of hundreds of thousands of logic gates that connects internally together to build a complex digital circuit. Basically, FPGA is an integrated circuit that can be programmed by the user to capture the logic.




  • It is capable of capturing 100,000+ designed gates.
  • It provides standard interfaces.
  • It also provides built-in memories, processor cores, and many more.
  • It is cheap for small volumes because one does not need to pay for fabrication.
  • It is flexible.


  • For large volumes, FPGA is quite expensive.
  • It has limited size options.
  • Limited performance.

A microcontroller is a low-cost computer, designed specifically to perform tasks of embedded systems. It has RAM, ROM, I/O ports, and other peripheral devices integrated as one. It is programmed using assembly language.

Components of Microcontroller



  • They are simple to program.
  • They are affordable.
  • Microcontrollers are cost-effective.


  • They are not ideal for complex applications and can work on only simple applications.
  • Hardware is limited.
  • The processing power of microcontrollers is slow.

For more about microcontrollers, please refer Advantages and Disadvantages of the microcontroller article.

Difference between FPGA and Microcontroller

FPGA Microcontroller
It is based on hardware connection or wiring through programming. It is based on software programming to execute the instruction.
It does not have a fixed hardware structure. It has a fixed hardware structure.
It supports Hardware Description Language. It supports C, C++, C#, and many more.
No portability across tools. Open-source tools are available.
Processing power is high. Processing power is low.
It require more skill to use. Easy to use.
Ideal for more complex applications. Not always ideal for complex applications.
It is costly. They are affordable.
It focuses on parallel execution. It focuses on serial execution.
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