CPU vs GPU? What’s the Difference?

CPU vs GPU? What’s the Difference?

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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Feb 13, 2024 16:37 IST

What's the difference between CPU vs GPU? CPU and GPU are two commonly used terms in computer and technology. However, many people need to be made aware of the difference between the two. A CPU is intended for a wide range of workloads and lacks 'optimization' for different jobs. Conversely, a GPU is built for multitasking and typically supports only one type of workload: graphics processing. The primary distinction between CPU and GPU is that the CPU prioritizes low latency, whereas GPUs place a premium on high throughput. 


In this article, we will look at the difference between CPU and GPU. But, before we move on to that, let’s first go through the topics that we will be covering in this blog:

Table of Contents (TOC)


There are various differences between GPU and CPU. Let’s explore GPU vs CPU in a tabular format for better understanding.

Parameter GPU CPU
Full form Graphics Processing Unit Central Processing Unit
Memory consumption Less High
Speed Fast Slow
Core type Weak Powerful
Number of cores Less More
Suitable for serial instruction processing No Yes
Suitable for parallel instruction processing Yes No
Emphasis on High throughput Low latency

What is a GPU?

GPU definition: The GPU is a specialized processor designed to accelerate graphics rendering.

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GPUs are comparable to CPUs in that they are both processors, but they are fundamentally different in many respects. They were created to offload various operations from CPUs and to boost 3D graphics rendering. GPUs have a more straightforward and more specialized parallel structure, allowing them to have more cores than more complex CPUs.

GPUs grew more common as the need for graphic applications expanded towards the latter of the past century. They eventually became not simply an upgrade but needed for the best PC performance. GPUs are now powerful enough to do rapid mathematical computations in parallel for deep learning algorithms. They are found in almost every computing device, such as mobile devices, workstations, game consoles, etc. 

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Advantages of GPU

There are various advantages of GPU, and some of those advantages are:

  • A GPU consists of hundreds of cores.
  • GPUs can do massively parallel operations.
  • GPU manufacturers release the latest drivers from time to time. 
  • GPUs can be used anywhere an image is needed to be processed.
  • GPU comes with its memory for performing all the graphics-associated tasks and processing. 

What is a CPU?

CPU definition: The CPU is the main component of any digital computer system, consisting of the main memory, arithmetic-logic unit, and control unit.

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Everyone is somewhat familiar with CPUs. A human body can’t function without a brain, in the same manner, a computer can’t work without a CPU. Hence, CPUs are also known as the “brain” of a computer. CPU comprises millions upon millions of tiny transistors with multiple “cores.”

Since the first CPUs appeared on the market, there have been numerous advancements. Despite this, the CPU’s basic purpose has remained same, consisting of three steps: fetch, decode, and execute.

  • Fetch: This step involves obtaining instructions, which are represented as a series of numbers and is transferred from RAM to the CPU. Because each instruction is only a little part of any operation, the CPU must know which instruction will be executed next.
  • Decode: In this step, once the instruction has been fetched and stored in the IR, the CPU sends it to a circuit known as the instruction decoder. This turns the instruction into signals that can be transmitted to other portions of the CPU for processing.
  • Execute: In this step, the decoded instructions are transmitted to the relevant sections of the CPU to be completed in this stage.

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Advantages of CPU

There are various advantages of CPU and some of those advantages are:

  • CPUs are adaptable and durable.
  • CPUs are more widely available, widely made, and less expensive.
  • They are capable of multitasking across different activities on your computer.
  • CPUs can work with more precision on mid-range mathematical calculations.
  • A powerful CPU can outperform a GPU in terms of performance for ordinary computer use.
  • CPUs typically have extensive local cache memory, allowing them to handle a broader set of linear instructions.
  • They can manage greater computational depth and complexity, which is becoming increasingly important for specialized applications.

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GPU vs CPU, what's the difference?

A CPU can handle a wide range of workloads and lacks 'optimization' for specific tasks. A GPU, on the other hand, is built for multitasking and typically supports only one type of workload: graphics processing.

GPU vs CPU, which is better for gaming?

For gaming purposes, GPU outperforms CPU. GPUs are designed to handle graphics instructions significantly quicker than CPUs, which is why most gaming consoles generate visuals using GPUs rather than CPUs.

Is it possible to use a GPU as a CPU?

No, it cannot function as a CPU. Although a GPU is capable of handling many complicated tasks, it cannot replace a CPU.

About the Author
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio