GPU (Graphical Processing Unit)
A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a computer chip that performs rapid mathematical calculations, primarily for the purpose of rendering images. In the early days of computing, the central processing unit (CPU) performed these calculations. As more graphics-intensive applications such as AutoCAD were developed, however, their demands put strain on the CPU and degraded performance. GPUs came about as a way to offload those tasks from CPUs and free up processing power.
Today, graphics chips are being adapted to share the work of CPUs and train deep neural networks for AI applications. A GPU may be found integrated with a CPU on the same circuit, on a graphics card or in the motherboard of a personal computer or server. NVIDIA, AMD, Intel and ARM are some of the major players in the GPU market.
As the GPU creates images, it needs somewhere to hold information and completed pictures. It uses the card's RAM for this purpose, storing data about each pixel, its color and its location on the screen. Part of the RAM can also act as a frame buffer, meaning that it holds completed images until it is time to display them. Typically, video RAM operates at very high speeds and is dual ported, meaning that the system can read from it and write to it at the same time.