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What is a GPU?

Evgeny Lukashenko
Evgeny Lukashenko
April 12, 2012
What is a GPU?

You decided to buy a computer. Walk along the malls, look at the price tags, get acquainted with the characteristics. And the question arises: what is a GPU? Often you see this combination of letters, but you see no point. Let's try to explain.

GPU - what is it and what is the difference from CPU

GPU stands for "graphics processing unit", or a graphics processor. It is a separate device game console, computer, camera. Responsible for rendering graphics, executes it. The GPU copes with this task remarkably, due to the specially designed conveyor architecture for these purposes. Modern GPUs handle graphics much better than similar classical central processing units (CPUs).

At present, the GPU is used as an accelerator of 3D graphics, but in exceptional cases it can be used for calculations. Distinguishes the GPU from the CPU as follows:

  • architecture: it is aimed to the maximum at a high speed of calculating complex graphic objects and textures;
  • relatively low command set.

The colossal computing power is explained precisely by the peculiarities of the architecture.Along with modern CPUs that contain several cores (2/4/8, which was already considered a breakthrough), the GPU was originally developed as a multi-core structure. The number of cores here amounts to hundreds!

The difference in architecture also explains the difference in the principle of operation. If the CPU architecture is designed for serial data processing, then the GPU is initially designed for working with computer graphics, therefore it is designed for massive but parallel computing.

Each of these architectures has its advantages. The CPU performs the sequential tasks much better. For huge amounts of information processed, the GPU has the advantage. The main condition is that in the task parallelism should be observed.

You now know a lot about the GPU, what a GPU is, and you can even tell your friends.


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