June 14, 2018

What Is a Graphics Processing Unit?

Most of us are familiar with the term central processing unit or CPU. The CPU has been around since the origination of computers. But today, we also have a graphics processing unit or GPU. So, exactly what is a GPU, and what is it used for?

According to TechTarget, a GPU is a computer chip that performs rapid mathematical calculations, primarily for the purpose of rendering images. At the onset of computing, the CPU did these calculations. But, today’s more graphic-intensive applications put a strain on the CPU and degraded its performance. The GPU is a way to offload those tasks from the CPU, so its processing power is freed up. You can find a GPU with a CPU on the same chipset, on a separate graphics card, or in the motherboard of a PC or server.

Benefits of GPUs
GPUs render images more quickly than from a CPU, because of its parallel processing architecture, which allows it to perform multiple calculations at the same time. A GPU is used for 2D data, zooming/panning the screen, and smooth decoding and rendering of 3D animations and video. GPUs are also being used as vector processors for non-graphics applications that require competitive computations.

What Is a Graphics Processing Unit

GPUs Aren’t Just for Video Gaming
With the rise of deep learning, GPUs are an advanced machine learning technique that is heavily used in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. Examples include autonomous cars, cancer diagnosis, computer vision, and speech recognition to name a few.

The oil and gas industry generates huge volumes of data from their systems and sensors in the field. They collect data about drilling, weather conditions, and seismic activity. Oil and gas companies must quickly analyze all of this information to make business decisions that will provide them with a competitive advantage. A GPU can provide the computing power and high-speed memory needed for companies to analyze petabytes of data in a matter of milliseconds.

Arrow Looks Five Years Out
Arrow looks five years out to help you stay ahead of the competition and aware of new technologies and services. Whether it is helping you understand GPUs or more complex end-user requirements, Arrow is here today and five years out. If you would like additional information about the role of GPUs in your customer’s applications, contact your Arrow representative.