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Computers have become an integral part of our lives. Whether it’s accounting or designing, playing games or watching movies, we’re completely dependent on computers for our basic needs. Often we wonder how it is possible for the computer to perform so many functions so efficiently at the same time?

To effectively execute all its functions, a computer needs a good CPU.  Better the CPU, better its performance. Another part that upholds and shares these responsibilities with the CPU is GPU.

Don’t they sound like brothers? They are almost the same but with a little difference. But to understand their differences, we need to get clear with the functions of both the units.

What is the CPU?

Imagine what you would do if your brain stopped functioning for one day. Would you be able to work? Would you remember anything? The answer is No. Our body can’t function without the brain. Same is the case with computers. Computers cannot function without a CPU.

The Central Processing Unit, better known as CPU, is the central processor circuit of the computer responsible for controlling all its actions. It is responsible for all the arithmetic, controlling, logical, input/output tasks of the computer. This circuit is capable of performing multiple functions in the system and is extremely essential for working on the computer.

What is the GPU?

The Graphics Processing Unit or the GPU is a dedicated microprocessor engaged in performing graphically ardent applications. The GPU was designed to reduce the burden on the CPU while performing graphical that slowed the functioning of the computer.

A GPU is responsible for quick image furnishing, video rendering, and performing some complex mathematical calculations. The presence of GPU in a computer is essential and facilitates the proper functioning of high graphics oriented games and applications.

Difference between CPU and GPU?

A CPU is responsible for the complete processing of the computer, GPU, on the other hand is just concentrated on the processing of one segment. In other words, the CPU is a whole, while the GPU is a part of it.

Both, CPU and GPU function in different ways. The CPU is embedded with a few cores which at a time can complete various tasks. On the other hand, GPU has thousands of smaller cores that can perform specialized functions at the same time.

The CPU can work on a variety of functions, but the GPU is dedicated to performing the calculation of only one particular segment.

How do they both work together?

The CPU and the GPU work together as processors to increase the speed and flow of operations. The number of calculations performed at a time increases when GPU is combined with CPU. Active interaction between the two delivers quality visual content and operations to the user.

What are Integrated Graphics?

Integrated Graphics are circuits built on the same board as the CPU. It combines with the CPU and serves as an economical alternative for the Discrete Graphics Card.

The integrated graphics card is of much use on the computer. It can help the computer to perform functions like gaming, streaming high-quality 4K videos, display of graphical content, etc at a much lower space and price.

CPU vs. GPU Processing

The major difference between the processing of both units is the speed and the ability to perform multiple tasks at a single time. The CPU has a sequential approach of performing the task, whereas in a GPU multiple complex calculations can be performed at the same time. A CPU is a general processor with the ability to perform any calculation whereas the GPU is a specialized processor designed to perform calculations specific to computer graphics.

The processing speed of a CPU cannot be any near to the processing speed of a GPU.

What about GPU Computation?

Throughout the article, we have been talking about the GPU being an effective graphics tool. But there are certainly more tasks a graphics processing unit can perform.

The use of GPU as a co-processor to perform general scientific computing to boost up functioning of CPU is known as GPU computation. A GPU acts as a support system to the CPU during  heavy tasks to relieve the burden on the processor.The integration of GPU and CPU accelerates parallel programming and parallel execution of tasks.

What problems are GPUs suited to address?

There is a multiplicity of work that GPUs are suited to address. The invention of GPU was to address complex and massive calculations that are difficult for the CPU to address.

Among the functional areas of the GPU are:

  • Gaming
  • Image processing
  • 3D Visualization
  • Deep Machine Learning
  • Calculation and Handling of Big Data


The Central Processing Unit and the Graphics Processing Unit are no rivals to each other. We cannot really compare them as both of them are essential for the functioning of the computer. Modern computers nowadays require GPUs to perform complex tasks. The GPU instead is a boost to the CPU’s power. Combined, they both can solve complex calculations in a fraction of seconds.

GPU was never delivered to replace the CPU. Instead, it was introduced to take the load off the CPU. The presence of both the devices is important for the proper functioning of the  computer. The CPU being the central unit of the computer has a lot of tasks to perform which often makes it difficult for it to handle the high power graphics involved in gaming and video streaming. So GPU acts as a support to the CPU and is responsible for the graphical functioning of the computer.