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Thursday, October 12, 2006

GPU - Graphics Processing Unit

GPU, which is a graphics processing unit, is used primarily for 3D applications. It is a single-chip processor that creates lighting effects and transforms objects every time a 3D scene is redrawn. These are quite a strain to the CPU and are mathematically-intensive tasks. In fact lifting this burden from the CPU frees up cycles that can be used for other applications.

The first company to develop this breed is NVIDIA Inc. GeForce 256, a baby of this company, is capable of billions of calculations per second. It can process a minimum of 10 million polygons per second and has over 22 million transistors. Comparitively PentiumIII has only 9 million. Its workstation version called the Quadro, which was designed for CAD applications, can process over 200 billion operations per second and deliver upto 17 million triangles per second.

The GeForce NVIDIA GPU card is compatible with so many graphics API like OpenGL, Microsoft's DirectX, Intel's AGP technology and AMD's 3DNoW, while the Quadro is an OpenGl specific card with driver support for PentiumIII Xeon and AMD Athlon CPUS.


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