What is a Graphics Processing Unit?

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As the world rushes to make use of the latest wave of AI technologies, one piece of high-tech hardware has become a surprisingly hot commodity: the graphics processing unit, or GPU.

About Graphics Processing Unit

  • It is a computer chip that renders graphics and images by performing rapid mathematical calculations.
  • GPUs are used for both professional and personal computing. Originally, GPUs were responsible for the rendering of 2D and 3D images, animations and video.
  • Like a central processing unit (CPU), a GPU is also a chip component in computing devices.
  • One important difference, though, is that the GPU is specifically designed to handle and accelerate graphics workloads and display graphics content on a device such as a PC or smartphone.
  • A typical modern CPU is made up of between 8 and 16 “cores”, each of which can process complex tasks in a sequential manner.
  • GPUs, on the other hand, have thousands of relatively small cores, which are designed to all work at the same time (“in parallel”) to achieve fast overall processing.
  • This makes them well suited for tasks that require a large number of simple operations which can be done at the same time, rather than one after another.

How does a GPU work?

  • GPUs work by using a method called parallel processing, where multiple processors handle separate parts of a single task.
  • A GPU will also have its own RAM to store the data it is processing. This RAM is designed specifically to hold the large amounts of information coming into the GPU for highly intensive graphics use cases.
  • For graphics applications, the CPU sends instructions to the GPU for drawing the graphics content on screen.
  • The GPU executes the instructions in parallel and at high speeds to display the content on the device -- a process known as the graphics or rendering pipeline.


  • GPUs are now used for creative content production, video editing, high performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI).
  • GPUs were developed as a way to offload those tasks from CPUs for graphics applications.
  • It performs graphics-related calculations very quickly and in parallel to allow for fast and smooth rendering of content on the computer screen. 

Q1) What are Semiconductors?

These are materials which have a conductivity between conductors (generally metals) and nonconductors or insulators (such as most ceramics). Semiconductors can be pure elements, such as silicon or germanium, or compounds such as gallium arsenide or cadmium selenide.

Source: What is a GPU? An expert explains the chips powering the AI boom, and why they’re worth trillions