GPUs have ignited a worldwide AI boom. They’ve become a key part of modern supercomputing. They’ve been woven into a sprawling new hyperscale data centers. Still prized by gamers, they’ve become accelerators speeding up all sorts of tasks from encryption to networking to AI.
And they continue to drive advances in gaming and pro graphics inside workstations, desktop PCs and a new generation of laptops.
CPUs, to be sure, remain essential. Fast and versatile, CPUs race through a series of tasks requiring lots of interactivity. Calling up information from a hard drive in response to user’s keystrokes, for example.
By contrast, GPUs break complex problems into thousands or millions of separate tasks and work them out at once. That makes them ideal for graphics, where textures, lighting and the rendering of shapes have to be done at once to keep images flying across the screen.