Difference Between Multiprocessor and Multicomputer

In this tutorial, we will discuss the difference between a multiprocessor and a multicomputer. A computer system that has more than two processors built inside of it for simultaneous processing of all processors is a multiprocessor. A multicomputer is built by connecting two or more processors in order to work together to solve problems. Computers with any of these two types of processors have their own pros and cons that we will briefly discuss here. Multiprocessors are fast and easier to process, while multicomputers are less easy to program. Multiprocessors perform parallel computing, while multicomputers perform distributed computing. It is more complex and costly to build a multiprocessor, whereas it is less costly to build a multicomputer.

Comparison Between Multicomputer and Multiprocessors

DefinitionA multicomputer is a kind of system that is a collection of several computers that connect together through a network.When in a single computer, the enclosure of two or more CPUs is in such a way that they share the same system buses and other I/O devices, it becomes a multiprocessor computer.
Programming of processorsProgramming a multicomputer is pretty difficult in comparison to multiprocessors. This is because multicomputers use distributive computing in this type of system.Programming such systems is pretty easy in comparison to that of a multicomputer.
Types of computingMulticomputers use distributive computing.Parallel computing is used in multiprocessor systems.
CostThe cost of such systems is lower in comparison to that of multiprocessor systems.The cost of such systems is high as they use parallel computing techniques.
DisadvantagesProgramming such systems takes more time and effort in comparison to multiprocessor systems.Multiprocessors have a complex structure; hence, their setup is difficult in comparison to multicomputers.

Now we will discuss the multiprocessors and multicomputers in the section below:

Multiprocessors Introduction 

When in a single computer there is an enclosure of two or more than two CPUs in such a way that they share the same system buses and other I/O devices, then it becomes a multiprocessor computer.

Sometimes there is a lot of burden or load on the computer’s CPU because only one CPU is handling that load. So, to resolve this problem, we have to build multiprocessor computers in order for the computer to work smoothly even with a heavy load on it. On the whole architecture of the computer, only the number of CPUs increases, and the rest of the structure, such as computer buses, memory, and other I/O devices, remains the same in number, so we can achieve more speed and power.

Types of Multiprocessors

There are two types of multiprocessors: symmetric and asymmetric multiprocessors.

Symmetric Multiprocessing

When a single OS controls all the processors and there is no master and no slaves, this is symetric multiprocessing. In this type of processing, all kinds of buses, peripheral devices, and I/O devices are accessible by all the CPUs. In other words, we can say that all CPUs have equal rights to access anything in computer architecture.

Asymmetric Multi-Processing:

On the other hand, with symmetric multiprocessing, we may design a system architecture in such a way that one processor is the master while the rest are the slaves. The master will decide which processors will perform which tasks. For example, it may decide to handle the system tasks by one processor and the remaining application tasks by the other processors. This type of architecture is easy to design but less efficient.

Pros/Advantages of Multiprocessing

In this section we will discuss the pros or advantages of multiprocessors. Although they are less efficient, but there are many pros of asymmetric multiprocessing. It helps in getting

Increased Throughput

Throughput defines the handling of the number of processes by the processor per unit time. An increase in throughput is certainly achievable, as there are multiple processors and every processor has different processes to handle. Hence, the process handling is quick and increases the throughput.

Increased Reliability

The increase in reliability is also referred to as graceful degradation. It means that if the number of working processors degrades, other processors are free to take their place and continue the task as usual. Hence, in this way, we achieve an increase in reliability. This example can be understood in the sense that if we assume that a room has four bulbs and one of them stops working, then there would be three more bulbs left to give light. Hence, there would not be darkness in the room unless all four bulbs stopped working.

Less Costly

Another advantage of asymmetric multiprocessing is cost-effectiveness. As it has already been discussed, in multiprocessing, only the number of CPUs is increased while the remaining architecture of the computer remains the same. Hence, it is cost-effective, as there is no need for the installation of additional buses or I/O devices in the system to achieve multiprocessing.

Battery efficiency

This is also another big advantage of multiprocessing. It is because there are many numbers of CPUs, and at a time, if there is less load, only one or a few numbers of CPUs will be working, not all. Hence, in this way, batteries are not consumed unnecessarily.

Parallel processing

Thisis also achieved in multiprocessing. As there are a greater number of CPUs, the processes can be handled in parallel with each other. Processes do not usually have to wait to get processor space when there are a greater number of CPUs present in a computer architecture.

Programming such systems is pretty easy in comparison to that of a multicomputer.

Cons/Disadvantages of Multiprocessing

Although there are many advantages to multiprocessing, there are still many disadvantages to it as well. Some of these disadvantages are discussed here:

In multiprocessing, the architecture of the system gets more complex, making it more difficult to build. Another disadvantage is that it requires more main memory space as multiple CPUs have to share the memory space. Due to overhead or coupling, throughput may reduce. That is another disadvantage.

Multicomputer Introduction 

Multicomputers are a kind of system that is a collection of several computers that connect together through a network. These autonomous computers may or may not communicate with each other. All the autonomous components have their own operating systems installed in them, for example, Intel, XP, etc. Distributive computing is implemented in such systems.

This is like picking up many computers and putting them on a single computer. That makes a multicomputer. These computers are less easy to program in comparison to multiprocessors because distributive computing techniques apply to this kind of structure. This is more cost-effective to build.

Pros/Advantages of Multicomputer

It is easy to set up and very cost-effective as well.

Cons/Disadvantages of Multicomputer

Programming a multicomputer is pretty difficult, as distributed computing is used in this type of system.


Concluding the discussion, we can say that multiprocessors are more efficient in comparison to multicomputer. Multicomputer are more difficult to program and easy to setup in comparison to multiprocessors, whereas multiprocessors are easy to program but difficult to setup. If one talks about lesser cost, then multicomputer are a good option because they are cheaper than multiprocessors. Multiprocessor systems use parallel computing while multicomputer use distributive computing technique. In parallel processing, processes do not have to wait for execution as multiple processors are working in parallel and if one processor is busy completing one work, other processes/tasks can be handled by remaining processors that are not working at that time. This type of technique is not used in distributive computing.

You may also like to read:

This concludes today’s article. If you face any issues or difficulties, let us know in the comment section below.

Leave a Comment