An accelerated processing unit (APU) is a microprocessor that combines the central processing unit (CPU) with the graphics processing unit (GPU) on a single computer chip. It makes a computer a bit faster than if the processors were set far apart from each other because, in that case, it would take more time for them to communicate.
You can compare an APU to a pencil with an eraser at the other end. There’s no need to drop the pencil and grab an eraser, erase the mistake, and then exchange the eraser back. Instead, you can easily and quickly make corrections to your work with a single tool. The APU works like that for today’s powerful gaming computers.
Read More about “Accelerated Processing Unit (APU)”
The APU was born when software programmers and manufacturers found that GPUs were not performing at their maximum potential. They thus turned toward “parallel processing,” which enabled a GPU to work alongside a CPU. An Accelerated Processing Unit improves the data transfer rate between a CPU and a GPU, allowing a computer to complete tasks while consuming less power than if the components worked separately.
What Sectors Benefit from Using APUs?
Accelerated Processing Units have seen various applications in several disciplines that include:
APUs allow software developers to make use of heterogeneous computing architectures that combine CPU and GPU technologies. This combination makes it easier for them to work on applications that require speed and massive processing capability. It also helps that today’s APUs support Open Computing Language (OpenCL) images. OpenCL provides a standard interface for parallel computing using task- and data-based parallelism. Most tasks require high computing power (from CPUs) and fast image-processing speed (a GPU feature). But CPUs and GPUs don’t normally process data at the same time. APUs, which combine these features and allow parallel processing shortens the process.
Also, APUs are cheaper compared to paying for a CPU plus GPU setup, making them ideal for software developers whose tasks are not that processor-heavy.
Visual Content Creation
The majority of digital content today relies heavily on visuals. With an APU-powered computer, digital content creators can easily craft high-quality videos that take user experience to another level.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), who first developed APUs, allow content creators to use built-in universal video decoders (UVDs) to refine video content so it would retain its quality when shown on a large screen.
Aside from providing high-quality displays, APUs also allow content creators to clean up photos and videos, thus simplifying and streamline content creation processes.
APUs are also useful for gamers who want to build their computers from scratch. These allow them to benefit from better and faster graphics processing, which enhances their gaming experience without breaking the bank.
Should You Buy an Accelerated Processing Unit?
Not everyone needs an APU, but it is indeed a great addition to your computer if you work as a software developer, digital designer, or professional gamer. Compared to upgrading your CPU and GPU, purchasing an APU and installing it costs less. The table below compares the prices of the best among each processor type.
|CPU||AMD Threadripper 3970X (according to Tom’s Hardware)||Between US$1,973.76 and US$2,653.75|
|GPU||AMD Radeon RX 5700 (based on Techradar)||Between US$399.99 and US$489.99|
|APU||AMD A10-9700 (according to GamingScan)||Between US$90.99 and US$102.32|
Using the price points indicated above, you’ll see that upgrading your CPU and GPU can cost an average of US$2,758.75 while settling for probably less processing power using an APU only amounts to an average of US$96.66. This computation is, of course, very simplistic and doesn’t take into account the processors’ specifications, but it should give you an idea when making a purchasing decision.
Did you know that an APU was first known as “Fusion”? AMD, the creator of the first APU, used “Fusion” as the marketing term for its 64-bit microprocessors that combined a CPU and a GPU in one unit.