Your computer has a CPU? That's old school man!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Erasmus, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. Erasmus macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
  2. allegrocm macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2005
    Ames, IA
    You better believe it. A few weeks ago I wrote a dynamic water simulation that could be simulated either on the CPU or the GPU. The GPU version was about 6 times faster. Unfortunately, GPUs are so specialized for graphics that only certain types of calculations can run on them. The precision of these calculations is also lower, so many tasks still need to be done on the CPU. But in tasks where they can do the job, the GPU is usually much, much faster than the CPU. Of course, when you're making the GPU do lots of other calculations, you don't have as much horsepower for your graphics.

  3. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    The concept of specialized processors is nothing new, honestly. That GPUs are becoming more extensible doesn't signal the end of the CPU. It's called the Central Processing Unit for a reason, after all. There are some things that require it. However, having specialized processors to address certain needs is a time-honored tradition.
  4. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Is this sort of in the same vein as the supposed "physics processor" in the Nintendo Wii? A processor dedicated to sorting out all the in-game physics and takes some of the pressure off the CPU and GPU?

    So you could have a processor specifically designed to say, perform the calculations relating to opening/closing/resizing windows for example, that would take some of the pressure off the CPU and the GPU making the system run faster and the UI elements positively scream? Just an example - I'm not putting it forth as a genuine possibility.
  5. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2005
    I'm only really here at night.

    This is already being done......but the system has to designed that way from the start, and so does the software.......

    In OS X, it's called Quartz Extreme and Core Image. In Windblows, it's called Aero/Glass......
  6. Spock macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2002
    I thought the Aero was just a pretty face to cover up Windows?
  7. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Actually (at least in OSX) that just uses the GPU to speed up the graphics rendering so it is not using a new processor to do those tasks.

    Some examples of using separate processors for specific tasks include:
    FPU (now normally combined in the CPU core but used to be an addon back in the day)
    Ethernet Cards
    RAID cards

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