CPU to GPU Definition

A CPU (central processing unit) works together with a GPU (graphics processing unit) to give applications faster computing and processing power. GPUs were originally designed for handling the motion of images but are now used for calculations involving massive amounts of data. A GPU enhances CPU architecture by accelerating portions of an application while the rest continues to run on the CPU. The CPU remains a reliable processor for general-purpose computing while a GPU accelerated graphics card steps in when intensive computations are needed. The combined result is CPU to GPU computing that creates an overall faster application.

Diagram depicts the difference between the control/logic unit of CPU and GPU


Difference Between CPU and GPU

A CPU is sometimes called the brains of a computer while a GPU acts as a specialized microprocessor. A CPU is good at handling multiple tasks but a GPU can handle a few specific tasks very fast.

A graphical processing unit (GPU) is a programmable processor designed to quickly render high resolution images and video. Because GPUs can perform parallel operations on multiple sets of data, they are now commonly adopted for non-graphical uses. GPU computation power can analyze large amounts of information and return results in milliseconds. Thousands of processing cores run simultaneously in a GPU, in massive parallelism where each core is focused on making efficient calculations. This is how a GPU renders complex 3D graphics.

While GPUs are faster and more powerful than a CPU, they are not as versatile as CPUs. CPUs can perform many more kinds of tasks than a GPU because they have large and broad instruction sets. CPUs can also manage every input and output of a computer, which a GPU cannot do. A CPU server might have 10 to 30 very fast cores. But a GPU server can have as many as 40,000 cores. Individual CPU cores are faster and smarter than individual GPU cores, but the sheer number of GPU cores, and the massive amount of parallelism that they offer, more than make up the difference.

GPUs are best suited for repetitive and highly-parallel computing tasks. Beyond video rendering, GPUs are good for certain forms of cryptocurrency mining or any operating systems that require computation of massive data sets with simple mathematical operations.

How Can CPU and GPU Work Together?

The CPU (central processing unit) is the brain of a computer system. It is a general purpose processor that can run a myriad tasks, as long as the tasks only involve basic calculations. Anything more complicated requires longer processing time.
The GPU (graphics processing unit) helps accelerate computing. Adding a GPU graphics card to a computer allows for quicker calculations than the computer’s CPU can handle. This is how CPU to GPU bandwidth works together with integrated graphics. The GPU supplements a CPU to make complicated programs run faster.

Examples of CPU to GPU computing include:

Accelerating video — The graphics card helps transcode video from one graphics format to another faster than relying on a CPU.
Accelerating data — A GPU has advanced calculation ability that accelerates the amount of data a CPU can process in a given amount of time. When there are specialized programs that require complex mathematical calculations, such as deep learning or machine learning, those calculations can be offloaded by the GPU. This frees up time and resources for the CPU to complete other tasks more efficiently.
Cryptocurrency mining — Obtaining virtual currencies like Bitcoin includes using a computer as a relay for processing transactions. While a CPU can handle this task, a GPU on a graphics card can help the computer generate currency much faster.

How to Monitor CPU and GPU Usage

CPU and GPU usage should be monitored for bottlenecking issues. CPUs and GPUs must be balanced to avoid bottlenecking, which is when one component prevents another from performing at full speed. This can include a powerful GPU paired with a lackluster CPU, or a high-powered CPU that sends commands faster than an older GPU can handle.

Balancing CPU to GPU is not simple because different applications use different loads. This means the source of a bottleneck could be from the CPU or the GPU, depending on the program’s distribution of workload. For example, a video game that uses a lot of AI or machine learning will put a burden on both the CPU and GPU.

A CPU can run faster by adding more RAM to a computer. A better cooling system is good for both CPU and GPU performance.
The most effective way to avoid bottlenecking is to make sure an old CPU is not paired with a high-end graphics card.

How to Fix CPU Bottlenecking GPU

A bottleneck happens when too much data is being sent than can be processed and returned in a given time frame. Large differences in speed cause bottlenecks.  CPU processors and GPU graphics cards are the key components involved in bottlenecks. A GPU bottleneck happens when a high-performance processor is paired with an older or entry-level graphics card. A CPU bottleneck happens when the processor isn’t fast enough to process and transfer data. This can be fixed by adjusting resolutions to balance out the processing speeds.
Sometimes, it’s the program itself that contributes to the CPU or GPU bottleneck. For example, some video games like Minecraft are CPU dependent — they have a high rate of FPS (frames per second) with low-resolution graphics. A game like Dying Light is considered GPU dependent when it has both a high FPS rate and a high-end graphics card. How to see if CPU is bottlenecking GPU relies on monitoring software. The monitoring software shows every load on the CPU and GPU.

Methods for fixing bottleneck issues include:

• Increase resolution — For a CPU bottleneck, adjusting to a higher resolution will give the GPU more time to render the data and therefore balance the load on the CPU. Bottlenecks are less likely to happen when the CPU and GPU process data at similar speeds.
• Close background processes — Stopping unnecessary background process will increase FPS rate and help a CPU avoid bottleneck issues.
• Overclock the RAM — RAM influences how fast a CPU can process data. Overclocking the RAM helps increase FPS rate and boosts performance.
• Overclock the CPU — Adjusting the clock speed gives more time and space for the processor to react.

Does OmniSci Facilitate CPU to GPU?

Yes. The GPU Open Analytics Initiative (GOAI) and its first project, the GPU Data Frame (GDF), was our first step toward an open ecosystem of end-to-end GPU computing. The principal goal of the GDF is to enable efficient intra-GPU communication between different processes running on the GPUs. For example, the GDF allows a process running on the GPU to seamlessly transfer data to another process without copying the data to the CPU. Even more, since the GDF leverages IPC functionality in the Nvidia CUDA programming API, the processes can just pass a handle to the data instead of copying the data itself, meaning that transfers are virtually without overhead. The net result is that the GPU becomes a first class compute citizen and processes can inter-communicate just as easily as processes running on the CPU.