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Saturday, November 9, 2013

GPU vs CPU

Which one is more important?


Nvidia Laptop GPU

Computing has come along way from the days of MS DOS to the graphical operating systems we have now. The computer has become so graphical that your 2 yr old daughter probably knows how to shut it down the right way. The GUI or Graphical User Interface needed something to make it run smooth and so the GPU came to be

 When some of us are looking for a new computer, we go out there and look at how much RAM the system has got and how much storage it has. The above mentioned specs are very important but they are not the most important. You can always upgrade them later even when it comes to a laptop.

So what am I saying. I'm. saying that you should spend your initial money and maximize on components that will be difficult or impossible to change later. I'm going to be more laptop oriented because most of us are more likely to buy a laptop.

Laptops are compact devices which cannot be completely upgraded. In fact most of the components are soldered onto the mother board. What I'm I saying? I'm saying that if you can, opt for something with a high performance mother board. Get the best CPU you can afford. Get the best GPU, get the best display you can get.

What should I give more priority the CPU or the GPU.


Intel CPU
The CPU or Central Processing Unit is the heart and brain of a computer. It is the piece of hardware that does all the calculations in a computer. Intel and AMD are the main manufactures of computer CPUs. Qualcomm and Samsung are also manufactures of mobile CPUs based of ARM architecture. CPUs are not as powerful as the GPU. They have way less computing units.


The GPU or Graphics Processing Unit is a processor that is dedicated to processing graphics. It has way more compute units than a CPU and is more powerful. It can sometimes be used to process common tasks just like a CPU.



Now basing on the above statements, it's clear that the CPU is the most important. And yes, it is the most important because a computer can run without a GPU but cannot run without a CPU.

Nvidia and AMD are the top computer GPU manufactures. Intel makes integrated GPUs which are part of the CPU. Most Intel powered budget computers have these Intel integrated GPUs.

So why are we even going through this debate in the first place?


It is simple, over the years computers user interfaces have become very graphically intensive. Windows Vista failed primarily because it was the first GPU intensive operating system and people didn't have powerful enough GPUs in there systems. People were still talking RAM, asking how much RAM Windows Vista required to run smoothly. Windows Vista didn't need RAM to run smoothly, It needed a GPU.

So what's the difference between CPU and GPU?


CPU vs GPU
A CPU is the main processor which processes instructions and commands given by the user to give output. The GPU on the other hand processes graphics. All the transparent effects, the 3D effects, etc.. are possible because of the GPU. All those fancy smooth animations are made possible by the GPU.

These days all computers ship with a basic GPU. Modern operating systems are so graphically demanding that a GPU is now compulsory to run basic tasks like word documents and view photos and video. However if you needed a computer capable of playing high definition video at fullest, quality, Play the latest 3D games at full quality, process multimedia with software such as Photoshop and Final Cut Pro, you are going to need a serious GPU.


GPU computing and GPU Acceleration


Most software is developed to be partially or sometimes mostly be powered by the GPU hence the term GPU acceleration or Hardware Acceleration. Most of the processing in today's software such as Photoshop  is done with the both CPU and GPU. In fact the CPU is idle most of the time when you are doing Photoshop or playing a 3D game.  Even the internet is GPU accelerated nowadays.


AMD Desktop Duo GPU


High end GPUs are so much larger and so much more powerful than CPUs. They are way more expensive too and require more power to run.  This is the reason why two laptops, both carrying the same Intel Core i7 CPU and same amount of RAM but carry different GPUs will retail at very different prices. The one without a dedicated GPU can easily be half the price of the one with a dedicated GPU.








So what does this mean.

 If you are an office user and you only deal with documents, internet, music and video, all you need is a simple computer with an integrated GPU. But if you are a hard core gamer, A 3D animations creator, a formula one engineer or a Final Cut Pro editor, you need a killer GPU. Smartphones are also starting to take  the GPU seriouly. Apple for example always improves the GPU of the iPhone even more than the CPU.

So now that you know the difference between the two, you can now decide whether you need a dedicated GPU in your computer or not.  Computers with a dedicated GPUs are faster, more expensive, normally bigger and heavier and use a lot more power. If you have any questions please ask via the comments below