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Devontae Reid
Devontae Reid

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Exploring SoC and MPSoC: Understanding Integrated Circuit Architectures


Welcome back to those who have read my previous posts, and a warm welcome to those who are new! As I continue to work as an embedded developer, navigating through the intricacies of SoC and MPSoC architectures, I often find myself grappling with imposter syndrome, wondering if I truly grasp the concepts as well as my peers. My aspiration is to enhance my comprehension and overcome numerous challenges that may arise.

In the world of integrated circuits(ICs), the terms 'system-on-chip(SoC)' and'multi-processor system-on-chip(MPSoC)' are common. We'll explore the fundamentals of SoC and MPSoC, explore their key features, and highlight the differences between them.

Understanding System-on-Chip (SoC)

A system-on-chip (SoC) is an integrated circuit (IC) that unites all the parts of a computer or electronic device onto a single chip. The SoC usually has a central processing unit (CPU), memory, input/output (I/O) interfaces, and peripherals.

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This makes them suitable for a wide range of applications, including smartphones, tablets, IoT devices, and other embedded systems.

The best feature of SoCs is their consolidation of multiple hardware components onto a single chip, which allows for reducing system complexity, size, and power consumption vs. traditional multi-chip solutions.

Some of the leading vendors in the SoC market include:

  • Qualcomm
  • MediaTek
  • Samsung Electronics
  • Broadcom

Exploring Multi-Processor System-on-Chip (MPSoC)

The multiprocessor system of computers (MPSoCs) is designed to integrate multiple processing units (CPUs or cores) into a single chip, along with other components such as memory, I/O interfaces, and accelerators.

MPSoCs achieve better performance and efficiency, as well as superior scalability compared to traditional SoCs. Multiple tasks, enhanced throughput, and adeptly handle intricate workloads are some of the applications where MPSoCs are used. MPSoCs are deployed in applications such as data centers, networking equipment, automotive systems, industrial automation, and consumer electronics.

Some of the leading vendors in the MPSoC market include:

  • Xilinx
  • Intel

Distinguishing Between SoC and MPSoC

Though SoC and MPSoC share resemblances in consolidating multiple components onto a single chip, their primary disparities lie in the number of processing units and their emphasis on parallel processing capabilities.


Wait what? I thought SoC has only one processing unit with many peripherals. How come there can be a CPU and a graphics processing unit (GPU) on the same chip?

That is true, while SoCs often integrate a CPU and GPU along with other components onto a single chip, the distinction lies in the emphasis on parallel processing capabilities and the integration of multiple types of processing units specifically for that purpose.

Another disparity lies in the versatility and customization options presented by MPSoCs, enabling developers to tailor the hardware architecture to meet precise application requisites, whereas SoCs are often optimized for specific applications or use cases.


The difference between SoC and MPSoC is important for choosing the appropriate architecture for diverse applications and fully using the potential of ICs. SoC furnishes complete computing functionality within a singular chip, while MPSoC extends this concept by combining multiple processing units for enhanced performance.  Discerning the disparities between SoC and MPSoC is imperative for electing the appropriate architecture for diverse applications and fully harnessing the potential of IC technologies in the swiftly evolving computing landscape.

Let's embark on an enlightening journey together, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn or send a DM on Twitter.


Cover Photo from Android Authority

Soli Deo Gloria!

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