The controlling centre of a microelectronic system is its central processing unit or CPU. A typical microcontroller, the Atmel AT90S1200, and a typical microprocessor, the Zilog Z80, are examined in detail, and compared with other popular units of the same type. The architecture of microcontroller systems is compared with that of microprocessor systems. The bus of microprocessor systems is seen to comprise a data bus, an address bus and a control bus. The functions of each are described. In connection with the data bus, the purpose of three-state outputs is described. Discussion of the address bus centres on address decoding. The functions of the signals on the control bus of the Z80 are explained. The system clock co-ordinates ...

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