Difference between 8051 and MSP430

There are two different types of microcontrollers namely, 8051 microcontroller and MSP430 microcontrollers that are widely used in a variety of embedded systems. The fundamental difference between 8051 microcontroller and MSP430 microcontroller is that the 8051 microcontroller is an 8-bit microcontroller, while the MSP430 microcontroller is a 16-bit microcontroller.

In this article, we will discuss the important differences between 8051 and MSP430 microcontrollers. But before that let’s have a look into the basics of 8051 microcontroller and MSP430 microcontroller.

What is 8051 Microcontroller?

The 8051 microcontroller is an 8-bit microcontroller. It was developed by Intel corporation in the year of 1980. The major parts of the 8051 microcontrollers are processor, RAM, ROM, I/O ports, timers, and peripherals. All these components are integrated on a single chip.

The 8051 microcontroller is a low-cost, versatile, and high-performance microcontroller. It is extensively used in several different applications such as robotics, industrial automation, control systems, consumer electronic products, etc.

The 8051 microcontrollers have become a popular choice in several embedded systems due to its simplicity and reliability. The 8051 microcontrollers can be programmed using either assembly language or high-level language like C language.

What is MSP430 Microcontroller?

The MSP430 microcontroller is a type of 16-bit microcontroller. It was developed by Texas Instruments in 1992. The MSP430 microcontroller is an ultra-low power microcontroller, i.e. it consumes very low power, which makes it better suited for battery-power devices or systems.

Similar to the 8051 microcontroller, the MSP430 microcontroller can also be programmed using assembly language or C language. The MSP430 microcontroller provides high processing speed that makes it suitable for real-time applications. It also supports a wide range of peripherals like ADCs, DACs, timers, etc.

The MSP430 microcontrollers are used a wide range of applications like in medical devices, energy management systems, wireless and portable devices, etc.

After getting an overview of 8051 and MSP430 microcontrollers, let us now understand their important differences.

Difference between 8051 and MSP430 Microcontrollers

The following table highlights all the major differences between 8051 microcontroller and MSP430 Microcontroller:


8051 Microcontroller

MSP430 Microcontroller


The 8051 microcontroller is an 8-bit microcontroller, i.e. it uses an 8-bit processor.

The MSP430 microcontroller is a 16-bit microcontroller, i.e. it uses a 16-bit processor.


8051 microcontroller was developed by Intel Corporation.

MSP430 microcontroller was developed by Texas Instruments.

Release date

8051 was introduced in 1980.

MSP430 was introduced in 1992.


8051 microcontroller is based on Harvard architecture.

MSP430 microcontroller is based on Von Neumann architecture.

Supply voltage

In 8051 microcontrollers, the component devices operate at a higher supply voltage.

In MSP430 microcontroller, the component devices operate at a lower supply voltage due to use of CMOS technology.

Clock speed

8051 microcontroller operates at a lower clock speed.

MSP430 microcontroller operates at a higher clock speed.


8051 microcontroller has only a single clock.

MSP430 microcontroller has multiple clocks with different frequencies.


8051 microcontroller is capable for handling digital signals only.

MSP430 microcontroller is capable of handling mixed signals.


8051 microcontroller has more on-chip RAM.

MSP430 microcontroller has smaller on-chip RAM.


8051 microcontroller has a larger ROM.

MSP430 microcontroller has a smaller ROM.

On-chip peripherals

8051 microcontroller has a lesser number of peripherals.

MSP430 has a greater number of peripherals.


8051 microcontroller is comparatively cheaper.

MSP430 microcontroller is expensive than 8051 microcontroller.

Real-time applications

8051 microcontroller is not much suitable for real-time applications due to low clock speed.

MSP430 microcontroller is suitable for real-time applications.

Power consumption

8051 microcontroller consumes more power.

MSP430 microcontroller consumes less power than 8051s.


8051 microcontroller is mainly used in industrial automation systems, control systems, robotics, consumer electronic devices, etc.

MSP430 microcontrollers are primarily used in wireless and portable devices, medical instruments, communication systems, etc.


Both 8051 and MSP430 microcontrollers are widely used in a variety of embedded systems. However, they are absolutely different from each other as described in the above table. The most significant difference between 8051 and MSP430 microcontrollers is in their processor architecture, i.e. the 8051 microcontroller uses an 8-bit processor, whereas the MSP430 microcontroller uses a 16-bit processor.

Updated on: 16-May-2023


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