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Difference Between Embedded System and VLSI

vlsiEmbedded System vs VLSI

Embedded system is the term used to any computing system that is used to perform a limited or specialized task. Unlike a general purpose computer that can perform a wide variety of tasks and is very complex, an embedded system is rather simplistic and does not have unnecessary hardware. ATMs, routers, calculators, and mobile phones are a few examples of devices that have embedded systems in them. On the other hand, VLSI stand for Very Large Scale Integration, which is a term used to describe the complexity of an integrated circuit by giving a generalized idea of how many transistors are within the circuit. Integrated circuits that contain thousands of transistors in a single package are classified as VLSI with other terms like MSI or ULSI among others, used to describe other integrated circuits with fewer or more transistors.

With improvements in technology and the manufacturing processes of integrated circuits, it is now relatively easy to produce VLSI IC’s at a very minimal cost. It then makes sense for manufacturers to take advantage of this fact and use VLSI IC’s to reduce the complexity of their circuit boards. Manufacturers have even developed VLSI integrated circuits that combine multiple functions into a single chip instead of being discrete parts to reduce their costs even further as it is cheaper and more energy efficient than having discrete components. A couple of examples of devices that have been combined would be Wi-Fi and Bluetooth transmitters in a single card and routers that now have switches embedded in them.

Due to the age of the term and the advancement of technology, the term VLSI has almost become obsolete. Most computing systems, embedded or general purpose, have integrated circuits that contain thousands, millions, and even billions of transistors within a single package. You would be hard pressed to find integrated circuits that contain less than a thousand transistors. There is really no point in distinguishing whether and embedded system uses VLSI chips or not as chances are they do.

1. An embedded system is a computing platform that performs a specialized task while VLSI is a measure of the complexity of an integrated circuit
2. VLSI integrated circuits are very commonplace in embedded systems
3. A huge majority of integrated circuits used in embedded systems and general purpose computers are VLSI and there is really no point in using the term

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