What is the difference between GPUs and CPUs?

By Jskid
May 31, 2013
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  1. At a really high level what makes a GPU better at doing certain tasks than a CPU? For example Bitcoin mining and password cracking is better done with video cards and I'm wondering why is there that difference?
  2. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,863   +1,196

    CPU : Small number of computation threads being undertaken at high speed (typically 3+GHz).
    GPU : Large number of simple computation threads undertaken at a lower speed (typically ~1GHz)

    Hashing is a relatively simple computation set and benefits from the higher number of concurrent instances.
    PC nerd likes this.
  3. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TS Evangelist Posts: 2,177   +582

    CPUs and GPUs are different because they are tasked and built to handle different tasks and do things in a different way.

    A CPU is composed of a small number of cores and has high caches designed to handle much more complex tasks (or really any computational task).

    A GPU is composed of as much as 1000's of cores that are much simpler but run things in parallel to give you a high speed computational power.

    In a sense, a CPU can do anything a gpu can (in some cases not as well) but not vice versa. For example, bitcoin mining is a simple hashing program that is searching through a code sequence (a hash if you will, is a complex mathematical sequence) which more cores can search these sequences therefor more cores can equal more speed.
  4. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 6,318   +327

  5. PC nerd

    PC nerd TS Booster Posts: 317   +41

    Thanks for starting this thread, I've been curious about this also.

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