How does an arduino microprocessor compare to some of the older computers in RAM, and computational speed? Like how does it compare to the Intel 400 or the original IBM PC. I'm interested in both the Atmega328 and the 2560. Just how much better/worse is the arduino compared to an old computer?

  • Compared to an 8088 IBM PC, faster CPU clock, 2-3 orders of magnitude less RAM, and half the ALU width. Ultimately, you have to make such comparisons in terms of applications (especially, speed to accomplish what?) and they are targeted at quite different roles. Jan 2, 2015 at 1:02
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    Comparing an MCU with a CPU seems like comparing apples and oranges... Comparing an Arduino to a computer is also plain wrong as it is NOT a computer.
    – jfpoilpret
    Jan 2, 2015 at 1:04
  • Of course it is a computer! It is just not one with much of a human interface. Jan 2, 2015 at 1:05
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    @jfpoilpret According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a computer is "an electronic machine that can store and work with large amounts of information." An Arduino would fit this definition. You need to be more specific.
    – tstew
    Jan 2, 2015 at 3:30
  • Please be more precise in terms of what features you want to compare. Think of RAM, memory architecture (Harvard vs. v. Neumann), instruction pipelines, caches etc. There literally are as many differences as transistors inside the CPUs, an exhausting answer is impossible and any other try won't meet what you want to read.
    – Ariser
    Jan 2, 2015 at 13:11

2 Answers 2


Similar capability in turns of processing power if you compare back 10 -20 years.

arduino is a micrcontroller not a microprocessor.

A good example is the pdp11 minicomputer and the ti msp430 micro controllers. They share the same instruction set (approx 90%) . Both can (or could) do realtime event handling but pdp11 was more for data processing. Though pdp11 didn't have integrated peripherals

see bottom of this page http://www.cpushack.com/CPU/cpu4.html


The Arduino chip (usually Atmega328p-pu) is an AVR (Advanced Virtual RISC*)!!! It doesn't processor but a "full functional nano computer" a Microcontroller! The characteristics of Atmega328P-PU is an 8bit CPU with 2Kb RAM**, 1Kb ROM*** and 32Kb Flash. The CPU's max speed is 20 MIPS @ 20 ΜHz, double of Motorola 68020 (1988) and the half of ARM7 (1994) more fast than Intel i486DX (1991). ***electrically erasable Programmable ROM **synchronous RAM or SRAM yes! is a type of RAM *RISC=Reduced instruction set computer https://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/en/ATmega328P https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instructions_per_second

  • There is no ROM on the ATmega328P. Both the bootloader and the Arduino core are in flash. Feb 2, 2021 at 19:37
  • The top of the flash is not a ROM, it's flash. The EEPROM is not a ROM, it's EEPROM. There is no “HEF” in this chip. Please, check the datasheet. Feb 3, 2021 at 8:40
  • I Completely disagree the EEPROM, PROM, EPROM, UVEPROM, FLASH ROM, even the CD ROM or core rope memory is type of an READ ONLY MEMORY this is the meaning of ROM. READ ONLY MEMORY... If we must be so specific then don't say my computer just say my pcbs with couple of resistors ,capacitors,transistors ,inductors ,diodes..........etc...etc....where is programed with 23176173647812 lines o code thing... About the HEF i was confused from your comment and the table here
    – user72122
    Feb 3, 2021 at 19:32
  • Despite its name, the EEPROM is not read-only memory. Calling it “EEPROM” is not as silly as you imply in your comment, and calling it “ROM” is very misleading, as in the context of old computers, “ROM” is where the built-in firmware is stored, whereas the ATmega328P cannot execute instructions from the EEPROM. Also, by your criteria, the Flash is also a ROM. In fact, it's closer to being read-only than the EEPROM: it's harder to write to from the running program. Thus you could just say “33 KB ROM”. Feb 4, 2021 at 7:05
  • Yep... practically 33kb ROM but they doesn't on the same part of the structure... You prefer to say stack of gates made from field effect transistors to make a memory where is read-only programable and electrically erasable?? Also there is flash memories made from static RAM. I believe this is clear philosophical not electronics. Is just the name of an EEPROM electronic component, ROM is the name of a memory type and also if you Call EEPROM which EEPROM you mean there is a ton of memory structures and all them called EEPROM and they are didn't completely the same.
    – user72122
    Feb 4, 2021 at 10:01

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