Were you good at drawing or painting during your childhood? Perhaps you’re that right-brained person in class who’s artistically inclined and excelled at visual art. If that’s the case, then you’re pretty much like a graphics processing unit (GPU).
A GPU is a computer component that excels in rendering graphical content. It allows a system to display visually intense videos, images, and animations from software or video games.
GPUs can handle complex calculations needed by a computer so it can show high-quality graphics outputs.
Read More about “Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)”
A GPU is a type of programmable processor primarily used for rendering graphics. Devices with a display or image-rendering function, such as a smartphone, computer, and game consoles, make use of GPUs.
Difference between CPU and GPU
GPUs feature more transistors than the average central processing unit (CPU). Special features, such as image-filtering techniques, vary depending on the model and manufacturer.
GPUs are faster in performing mathematical calculations than CPUs. A regular GPU can execute 3,200 x 32-bit instructions per clock, five times faster than CPUs with a higher number of cores. What’s excellent about GPUs is that they don’t consume much power, with the most energy-efficient ones running at 30 to 70 watts per second.
How Much do GPUs Cost?
Budget GPUs could set users back by a little under US$100 to a whopping US$1,500. The cheaper ones are sufficient for 1,440-pixel gaming applications and decent enough to process games running at 60 frames per second. Many affordable GPUs are also a good fit for entry-level gaming rigs. Of course, prices could rise or fall, depending on the type of GPU architecture and performance. However, newer models are not necessarily more expensive than older ones.
Uses of Graphics Processing Units
Below are some familiar (and unfamiliar) use cases of GPUs:
1. Image/Video Rendering
GPUs offer a wide variety of applications in general image and video processing. Top-end GPUs allow users to enjoy the seamless playback of high-resolution videos. They also enable viewing devices to display pictures and videos with faithfulness to detail. Finally, they enable users to load and edit videos in power-hungry software like those included in the Adobe Creative Suite without slowing down their computer.
2. Cryptocurrency Mining
Some cryptocurrency miners prefer GPU mining systems even though they’re not as efficient and profitable as application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) devices. That’s because GPUs are most suitable for mining some forms of digital currencies like Ethereum.
Supercomputers in biophysics laboratories rely on GPUs to solve calculations involved in molecular dynamics (MD). To the uninitiated, MD focuses on the study of molecular simulations that could lead to the discovery of new materials for industrial applications and drugs that can cure debilitating disorders.
GPUs trace their origins back to arcade machines in the 1970s. Gun Fight (1975) and Space Invaders (1978) are two examples of arcade games that employed the use of GPU prototypes.