Everything you need to know about a GPU

Many people tend to associate the GPU with the graphics card and the truth is that the two components are related. However, their features are a bit different and they are meant to do different tasks. 

Currently, one of the things that users want the most is a good image quality on their computer. This will allow us to work easily with video editing or gaming. That is why the gaming sector is so attentive to the updates of the companies that develop these components.

Now it is time to know what a GPU is, what does it do and the characteristics that this component has. 

GPUvsGraphics Card

What exactly is a GPU?

The meaning of the acronym GPU is Graphic Processing Unit, hence its direct relationship with graphics cards. This component is represented as the heart of the graphics card, similar to what the CPU is with the PC . Among its functions is that of being the brain that makes each one of the calculations that are complex. 

All this together allows us to have quality graphics and properly processed on our computer. In addition to this, it will improve the performance of the computer and the way in which we see everything on the monitor. Many believe that this element is the same as the graphics card, but the reality is that this is not the case.

Evolution of GPU

In the first instance, the GPU was originally known as “Sprite”, where only low-resolution graphics were available. One of the factors that were important in order to have better images was the depth of color. In addition, this ended up collaborating in a good performance in this image process that existed.

The first big step started in the 90’s when 2D imaging technology arrived. From this moment, the industry began to have changes until it reached what we have today with 3D images. Perhaps some of you reading this article will remember how graphics were perceived in those years.

Processor sprites were renamed triangles after providing the depth layer. This gave way to readings of triangles per second as it is done today. Little by little, with the arrival of more developers, Nvidia and Volta brought fully updated and durable models to the market.

What is GPU? GPU vs Graphics Card | How to Buy GPU 1
nvidia geforce 256 – World’s first fully integrated GPU

Components of a Graphic Processing Unit

Regardless of the brand, in all graphics processing units are the following elements that we will mention. Some of them may change, but they are still the main ones in the vast majority that are on the market. This will help you get to know them better and understand the way they work.

  • Command processor: This is the one in charge of reading each of the instructions that are sent by the CPU. In this way you can generate the necessary graphs or the necessary complex calculations.
  • Texturing unit: It is the one in charge of applying the image on a specific surface. In this way you can simulate that it has a texture or that it has a color as in real life.
  • The Shading unit: It is the core that is responsible for executing each of the programs that manipulate graphics primitives in real time.
  • The tessellation unit: In computer graphics, tessellation refers to the dividing of datasets of polygons (sometimes called vertex sets) presenting objects in a scene into suitable structures for rendering.
  •  The memory interface: This is what allows the graphics processor to read its own memory which is known as VRAM .
  • The video CODEC: The mission of this element is the processing and decoding of videos in different formats. In this way you will be able to play them, generate videos and even change their formats without any problem.
  • DMA: This is the component that allows you to read the normal RAM memory of the computer.
  • Intersection Unit: This is in charge of the rays that are in the scenes of the objects, being fundamental for Ray Tracing. More on Ray Tracing.
  • Raster Output: In the image, all final pixels will be drawn with this element. The cache and this are the only items you can write into VRAM.

Differences between GPU and graphics card

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, many users tend to believe that this is the same component. The reality is that they are two different components which fulfil similar functions. Both work so that we can have high quality graphics and the computer runs with better performance.

That is why now we will talk a little more about the graphics card and the differences between the two. This way you will be able to identify them in a better way so that you better understand what you need inside your computer.

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The size and shape of both

Now, speaking of size, it is important to highlight some of its characteristics in this regard. First of all, the size is larger than a computer’s CPU, in a broader square shape. The current models do not usually go below 100 square millimeters regardless of their generation.

In the case of the graphics card, its size and physical form are very different from those of the graphics processor. Those are usually rectangular, card-shaped so they can be plugged into the corresponding pins on the motherboard. There are models that are designed to be connected externally to the computer.

That’s why some graphics cards already come with included cooling kits, lights etc. Clearly, there is a significant difference between an item that is like a CPU chip and a card that plugs into the computer.

The graphics card is older

Since the 1960s, graphics cards have become a necessity due to the presence of monitors. It is always important to get a proper visualization, which is why these elements were designed. Its technology advanced to the point of reaching the 90’s where 2D and 3D models were launched .

This was happening just at the time when the GPU was introduced in the market as a component. In addition, among the main graphics card developing companies were IBM, Nvidia and AMD. The same ones that are also in charge of developing these graphics processors for the computer.

The connection

This can be the same at one point and different at another, it all depends on the graphics card model. The card, as we already mentioned, can be installed directly on the motherboard or externally with connectors. In the case of the graphics processor connection, it goes directly to the motherboard, similar to the CPU.

These are some of the main differences that exist between both components that are in charge of the graphic process in the computer. It is important to always have this clear so that users do not believe that it is the same or that they have the same functions. Both have different characteristics and activities that, although they are similar, are not the same inside the computer.

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Now that we know all this information related to the GPU, it is time to always have the right one. It is necessary to know the specifications of the computer and the way in which it works with the graphics card you have. Otherwise, there is a risk that it may be damaged or not perform as expected.

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Whether you can have quality graphics depends on the GPU and the way it works. Both its reading and decoding information processes will serve to keep the graphics level at its peak. So always stay tuned if you want to have quality games or work with editing softwares. Check out he below articles to know more on GPU, Graphics Cards Motherboards and in general how to build a gaming or video editing PC.

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