Graphics Processing Unit

A graphic processing unit or GPU is a dedicated graphics enhancing device for a personal computer and game console. GPU is sometime called as visual processing unit or VPU. Some people define GPU as “a single chip processor with integrated transform, lighting, triangle setup/clipping, and rendering engines that is capable of processing a minimum of 10 million polygons per second.” Modern GPUs are very effective at manipulating and displaying computer graphics, and their highly parallel structure makes them more effective than general purpose CPUs for a range of complex algorithms. A GPU can be directly fitted into the motherboard or on top of a video card. More than 90% of new desktop and computers have integrated GPUs, which are usually far less powerful than those on a video card.

180px-6600GT_GPU Graphics Processing Unit

The GPU can change everything you have ever seen or experienced on your PC. As 3D becomes more pervasive in our lives, the need for faster processing increases. With the advent of the GPU, computationally intensive transform and lighting calculations were off loaded from the CPU onto the GPU—allowing for faster graphics processing speeds. This means all increase in detail and complexity without sacrificing performance. In essence, the GPU gives you truly stunning realism for free. The difficulty in virtual representations of the real world is how objects interact with one another and their surroundings, due to the intense, split-second computations needed to process all the variables. That speed is only possible with GPUs. The GPUs on your video card of your system will determine what games you can play, how good they’ll look, and how well they’ll run. Having a powerful GPU loaded on your graphic card lets you increase screen resolution and graphic-quality settings while still maintaining playable frame rates (how quickly game updates on screen). Faster frame rates help games help games run without any choppiness and smoothly.

nvidia-geforce-88000-ultra Graphics Processing Unit

http://www.nvidia.com/dev_content/blast/img/2007/7/NV_GPU_Gems3_section4.jpg

Modern GPUs use most of their transistor to perform calculations related to 3D computer graphics. Initially they were built to accelerate the memory-intensive work of texture mapping and rendering polygons, later adding units to accelerate geometric calculations such as the rotation and translation of vertices into different coordinate systems. Some recent developments in GPUs include support for programmable shaders which can manipulate vertices and textures with many of the same operations supported by CPUs, oversampling and interpolation techniques to reduce aliasing, and very high precision color spaces. Because most of this computation involves matrix and vector operations, engineers and scientists have increasingly studied the use of GPUs for non-geographical calculations. In addition to the 3D hardware, today’s GPUs include basic 2D acceleration and framebuffer capabilities (usually with VGA compatibility mode). In addition, most GPUs made since 1995 support the YUV color space and hardware overlays (important for digital video playback). And GPUs made since 2000 support MPEG primitives such as motion compensation and iDCT. Recent graphic cards even decode high definition video on the card, taking some load off the central processing unit.

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