What Is an APU (Accelerated Processing Unit)?

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You could have heard the time period APU used alongside GPU and CPU to explain a sure sort of chip inside a desktop, laptop computer, moveable gadget, or console. So what advantages does an APU present, and why are they used within the first place?

APU Stands for Accelerated Processing Unit

An Accelerated Processing Unit, or APU for brief, is a time period coined by chip-maker AMD. It refers to a microprocessor that features each an ordinary 64-bit central processing unit (CPU) and an built-in graphics processing unit (IGPU) in a single.

The primary APUs arrived in 2011 and used the 32-nanometer fabrication course of with the most recent chips (as of writing) utilizing the 7-nanometer course of. This know-how was initially identified by AMD as Fusion. Solely AMD makes use of the time period “APU” in its advertising, however Intel has used an identical approach in its processor architectures to mix a CPU and GPU on a single die.

AMD Fusion chip.

There are quite a few advantages to doing this, beginning with improved efficiency. With the CPU and GPU on the identical die, assets will be shared between the 2. That is particularly pronounced in duties that use the GPU, offering large beneficial properties over a lot older onboard graphics options that have been historically included on the motherboard.

An APU removes the necessity to set up a separate graphics card to see efficiency beneficial properties in primary duties like watching movies and shopping the net. APUs present a extra power-efficient and economical answer to putting in a devoted GPU in machines that hardly ever make full use of 1.

However APUs are usually not with out their drawbacks. An APU gained’t present the identical efficiency advantages as a devoted GPU, and might’t be upgraded individually to the CPU. They’re usually too restricted to be of use to those that want severe graphical efficiency, like within the case of high-end gaming or skilled video modifying.

Some Frequent Examples The place APUs are Used

AMD has used APUs in quite a lot of retail chips bearing the Ryzen and Threadripper branding, as “Opteron” server chips, and as cell and ultra-mobile chips designed to be used in notebooks and different low-powered units.

The corporate additionally creates customized APUs to be used in proprietary programs. Up to now AMD has manufactured APU options for the Sony PlayStation 4 and subsequent Slim and Professional fashions, the Xbox One and subsequent One S and One X, and the most recent PlayStation 5 and Xbox Sequence consoles. The corporate additionally produces the chip that powers Valve’s handheld Steam Deck.

Valve Steam Deck

The semiconductor scarcity that started in 2020 prompted many PC players to contemplate an APU answer when constructing a PC because of the difficulties concerned in shopping for a devoted GPU. As PC Gamer put it in April, 2021, “These Ryzen APUs will give you one thing graphics-wise, and at the very least tangible gaming framerates.”

APUs Will Proceed to Evolve

The following technology of APUs will doubtless energy future console revisions by Sony and Microsoft, and Valve’s subsequent iteration of the Steam Deck. Your subsequent pocket book might use an APU or one thing very comparable with Intel branding.

Be taught extra about what differentiates a CPU from a GPU, whether or not you actually need a graphics card, and find out how to transfer previous the worldwide semiconductor scarcity.

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