PC Guide: Graphics processing unit (GPU)

Welcome to PC Guide, so far we have discussed on CPU on our previous several articles. Today will bring to discuss on Graphics processing unit (GPU), I know you have been hearing the term GPU, Graphics card or video card. There a quiet all the same.

What is Graphics processing unit (GPU)?

A Graphics processing unit (GPU),  is a specialized  electronic circuit just like a Central processing unit(CPU) design to rapidly manipulate and send graphical information to a display device. such as a computer monitor, TV, or projector. The GPU performs rapid mathematical calculations primarily to renders images, animations and video for the computer’s screen.

A graphics processing unit is able to render images more quickly than a central processing unit(CPU) because of its parallel processing architecture, which allows it to perform multiple calculations at the same time. GPU are essential for smooth decoding and rendering of 3D animations and video and also use in 2D such as for zooming and panning the screen. The more processing power of the GPU, the higher the resolution and the faster and smoother the motion in games and movies.  GPUs can be found in mobile phones, personal computers, workstations, and game consoles.

Nvidia and AMD are the two major manufacturers or GPU, but Intel usually build an Integrated graphics card to most CPU.

Note: A video card or Graphics card is an expansion card which actually the overall hardware of the GPU.

Related: central processing unit(CPU)

Difference Between CPU and  GPU

So GPU and CPU? the names are quiet similar, there are both processors, there both perform mathematical problems.

A Central Processing Unit (CPU) is a general purpose processor – it can can performs any kind of calculation, but not necessarily in an optimal way for any given calculation. One can do graphics processing on a CPU – but it likely will not produce the result anywhere nearly as fast as a GPU. Many CPU’s actually have an Integrated graphics card.  That’s because the GPU is really only there to compliment the CPU. CPU’s are a lot more versatile and able to handle all sorts of tasks that a computer might throw at it.

A Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is a special purpose processor, optimized for calculations commonly (and repeatedly) required for Computer Graphics, particularly SIMD operations. A GPU is built on a Single Instruction Multiple Data, or SIMD, architecture, allowing the GPU to perform operations on arrays of data. That means that when a set of data has the same sequence of operations that they need to perform, they’re scheduled in streams of data, and processed all together. Basically, GPUs are great for performing the same operation on 100x of pieces of data. For more information on SIMD architecture, here.

The GPU’s advanced capabilities were originally used primarily for 3D game rendering. But now those capabilities are being harnessed more broadly to accelerate computational workloads in areas such as financial modeling, cutting-edge scientific research and oil and gas exploration.


Types of Graphics processing unit (GPU)

In personal computers(PC), there are two main forms or types of GPUs.

  1. Integrated graphics card
  2. Dedicated graphics card

Integrated graphics card

Integrated graphics card

Integrated graphics card also know as integrated graphics processors (IGP) is a shared resource type of graphics card. It utilize a portion of the computer’s system RAM to perform the graphics processing needed. Example of Integrated graphics card is Intel HD graphics and AMD APU. Generally Integrated graphics have low processing power thus very cheap. There are not a ideal for 3D gaming or rendering high resolution video like 4k.

Dedicated graphics card

Today will bring to discuss on Graphics processing unit (GPU), I know you have been hearing the term GPU, Graphics card or video card.

A dedicated graphics card, also know as discrete GPU, has own independent source of video memory,i.e RAM. Which is connected to the motherboard though extension slot such as PCI Express (PCIe). Example a Nvidia  GeForce GTX 680M video card with 2GB of video memory. dedicated graphics card are perfect if you are into serious gaming, high resolution video playback or rendering or  professional graphic design.

There are also other types of Graphics processing unit  such as Hybrid graphics processing and External GPU (eGPU).


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