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GPU Vs CPU | Difference between GPU and CPU

The GPU and CPU both are silicon-based microprocessors developed from a different perspective. However, they both seem to be very common by their names. But they are substantially different and meant for different roles.

Both the CPU and GPU are required devices of any electronic system.

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is a microprocessor used to execute the program instructions and corresponding operations such as arithmetic, logic, I/O, control, etc. It primarily emphasises low latency.

In contrast, the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is devised to render images, especially in gaming. It primarily focuses on high throughputs.

In this section, we will discuss both the GPU and CPU in details. Further, we will see what the differences between them are.


What is GPU

GPU is abbreviated as Graphics Processing Unit, used to render the images mainly in computer games. It provides high -throughputs to allow faster performance in gaming. It is incorporated with electronic device's components for sharing RAM with them.

A GPU requires more ALU units than a CPU; that's why we must have a dedicated GPU for achieving high performance in gaming. It is a required device to perform high-end graphics processing.

The GPU contains its own RAM, known as VRAM (Video RAM). The advanced GPU systems work cooperatively with the multi-core CPUs.

In the 1980s, the first Graphics unit was introduced by Intel and IBM. At that time, these GPU cards were obsessed the functionality such as area filling, manipulation of simple images, shape drawing, etc. But modern GPUs are much more than those GPUs. The modern GPUs are most widely used for Gaming, research, and analysis tasks. Even they are surpassing CPUs because of their extreme parallel processing.

It holds several processing units where no cache coherency exists.

What does a GPU do?

In earlier days, GPUs were developed to accelerate the execution of 3D graphics. But now, by enhancing their capabilities, they became more advanced, flexible and programmable. Nowadays, the graphics programmer can create more interesting and realistic visual effects and scenes using its advanced lighting and shadowing techniques.

Also, GPUs are widely used in high-performance computing, Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Gaming, and many more fields.

What is CPU

The CPU is abbreviated as Central Processing Unit, most commonly referred to as "Processor". It carries out and controls the computer instructions by performing arithmetic, logic, and input/output operations.

It is an integral part of the computer system that receives the instruction forwarded by the computer programs and processes it.

Due to its importance on a computer system, it is called "Brain", or "Heart" of the Computer. It also plays a vital role in Gaming.

A CPU interacts with other computer components such as input, output, and memory to perform instructions.

The CPU processor is known as the core. The older CPUs were single-core CPUs, but the modern CPUs have cores between 2 to 28. The single core CPUs was focused on a single task. But latest multi-core CPUs can handle multitasking easily.

The two core CPU processors are known as dual core, and the four core CPU processors are known as Quad Core processors.

What Does a CPU do?

A CPU or Processor is an integral part of any computer system. It allows a computer to interact with all its applications and programs. It takes instructions from a program and processes them. It takes the instructions in a machine language, interprets them, and creates the output in a human-readable format.

Key Differences Between a GPU and CPU

The following are some key differences between a GPU and CPU:

  • A GPU is devised to render images, especially in gaming. In contrast, the CPU is used for executing the program instructions according to operations such as arithmetic, logic, I/O, control, etc.
  • The GPU primarily optimized for throughput, whereas the CPU primarily focuses on low-latency.
  • A single GPU consists of thousands of cores that are clocked at a frequency of approximate 1GHz of frequency. On the other hand, a CPU contains less-number of cores that are clocked at a frequency of 2-3 GHz.
  • The parallel data operation can be performed in GPUs due to the high number of cores, which is not possible in the CPU as it contains a smaller number of cores.
  • A GPU provides a very high processing speed and suitable for bigger applications; on the other hand, a CPU provides slow processing speed and suitable for small applications.
  • The memory requirement for GPUs is low, whereas the memory requirement for CPU is high compared to GPUs.

Difference Chart between GPU and CPU

The full form of GPU is the Graphics Processing Unit. The full form of CPU is the Central Processing Unit.
A GPU contains a thousand number of weak cores. CPU contains very less but powerful cores.
The processing speed of the GPU is very high. The processing speed of the CPU is less compared to GPU.
The memory requirement in GPU is less. The memory requirement in CPUs is more.
GPU is best used for Parallel instruction processing rather than serial instruction processing. CPU is best used for Serial Instruction processing rather than parallel instruction processing.
The clock frequency is about 1 GHz. The clock frequency is about 2-3 GHz.
It mainly emphasizes high throughput. It mainly emphasizes on Low latency.
A GPU is a special-purpose processor. A CPU is a general-purpose processor.

GPU vs CPU: which is more suitable for Gaming?

Nowadays, gaming has become a powerful application and hence requires powerful processors. So, between GPU & CPU, which processor is more suitable for gaming applications. The answer is both GPU and CPU are important, and some games require both GPU & CPU. The requirement also varies as per the type of gaming.

How GPU and CPU work together?

A CPU can be used together with the GPU to achieve a high throughput of data. It also increases the concurrent calculations within an application. GPUs were designed to develop images for computer graphics and games, but now they can be used to accelerate the calculations and processing of a high amount of data.

The GPU can never replace a CPU as the CPU is the general-purpose processor, whereas GPU can be used for some special purpose application and mainly for computation tasks.


As per the above discussion, we can say that GPU & CPU are equally important and serve different purposes. Neither CPU nor GPU can replace each other, and an efficient computing machine requires both to run properly.

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