Aug 20, 2014

What are the advantages of an APU versus separate CPU and GPU?

Does the APU chip design that combine CPU and GPU functions offer real advantages over the traditional method of having a separate CPU and GPU? Are the main benefits lower cost, or do APUs offer performance advantages?

The Benefits Of An APU

"Obviously, improved performance is one advantage. The graphics placed on current APUs are not meant to be competitive with high-end or even mid-range discrete graphics cards, but they are better than previous integrated graphics processors. Intel HD Graphics 3000, the fastest graphics option available on the company’s newest processor, is two to three times quicker than the previous Intel HD Graphics solution, which was on the processor die but not integrated into the architecture. This also makes it possible to include new features, like Intel’s QuickSync video transcoding techology.

Another advantage brought by APUs is improved power efficiency. Integrated the GPU into the architecture makes it possible to share resources and achieve the same results with less silicon. This means an APU can replicate the performance of a system equipped with a low-end discrete graphics card while using far less power. Early benchmarks of Intel Sandy Bridge and AMD Fusion laptops make this advantage obvious; systems equipped with these processors have better battery life than similar system saddled with a CPU and a separate discrete or integrated graphics processor."
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