The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is more or less as powerful as the CPU. GPUs are usually housed by graphic cards, which are printed circuit boards similar to motherboards. Just like RAM and CPU are present on the motherboard, there is a graphics processor and RAM on the graphic card also. But what exactly is their use? Why does your computer need another processor? In this article we explore such facts and help you figure out what a GPU is.
What Does The GPU Do and How?
A GPU takes care of all the graphics rendering on your computer. It interacts with your computer’s CPU, accepts all the binary data that is to be displayed and converts it into images which you can see. In a nutshell, studying about GPUs means understanding how these 1’s and 0’s are transformed into images.
This is possible because of the ability of the GPU to render images. Initially, wire framing (creation of the skeletal model of the object) is followed by GPUs in case of 3D images, and then rasterization of the particular shape is carried out. Here ‘rasterization’ means that the wireframe model is converted into dotted structures which appear as pixels.
In the above images the first one is the wire frame model and the second is the rasterized image. Once the image is made, it is stored temporarily in the RAM present alongside the GPU on the graphic cards. The image information stored in the RAM is again in form of 1’s and 0’s which signify data related to each and every pixel of the entire image. Then this information is supplied to the monitor through one of the connector technologies (like say, VGA).
In the absence of a GPU, the CPU manages all the above mentioned process due to which there is a little lapse in performance. The other main difference is just like the CPU has some cores to process the workload serially, while the GPU has architecture which supports parallel workload processing. Simply the thing is, with a GPU the applications run much better and tasks are performed much faster due to which there are hundreds of applications of GPUs. Because of all these factors, a GPU is much better at what it does than the CPU. And a computer which has both of them together performs much better than a computer which only has a CPU. Nowadays, we find motherboards with integrated or dedicated graphic processors, and all that happens in them is the same.
Based on the quality of the graphic card employed, there are quite some differences. Particularly while running high-end applications or games, there are notable lags and pixilation if the GPU is not as fast enough as the application demands it to be.
For so long now, ATI and NVIDIA have been premier manufacturers producing best GPUs serving various purposes.