Computer Station Nation

Difference Between Graphics Card GPU, IGPU, and APU

Computer Station Nation is reader-supported.
When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Many do not know the difference between a graphics card GPU, iGPU, and APU, so terms are sometimes used incorrectly. In this guide, we will show the difference between Graphics Card GPU, IGPU, and APU.

The acronyms APU, CPU, GPU, and iGPU are defined below:

  • APU: Accelerated Processing Unit.
  • CPU: Central Processing Unit.
  • GPU: Graphics Processing Unit.
  • GPU: Integrated Graphics Processing Unit, or integrated graphics processing unit.

The main difference from an IGPU is the way the CPU and GPU can transfer information. The chip has the CPU and GPU on the same single die as some Intel CPUs, but AMD’s APUs support Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA), allowing the CPU and GPU to be on the same bus, which allows for smooth communication. The steps are reduced for each instruction as the memory and tasks are shared.

What are the differences and why are they so-called?

Let’s start with the basics, the CPU. The CPU is the processor of a computer, the “brain” in charge of carrying out all the operations, and controls everything in the system.

Graphics Card

Graphics cards take many heavy graphical tasks away from the CPU and provide it to the GPU, where the GPU can use its own ram and processing power.

The GPU is a kind of processor that the dedicated graphics cards incorporate. Unlike the CPUs, its set of instructions and internal components are optimized for graphics. Although a CPU can perform most operations (not all) of a GPU and vice versa, since they are not optimized for this, the performance is substantially lower when operating the other’s functions, which is why they are two separate components.

GPU, also know as a graphics processing unit, is a processor designed for graphical computation. It manipulates and alters memory to create images in a frame buffer that can then be sent as video to a display. Many embedded systems use GPUs to take advantage of the highly efficient manipulation of computer graphics. This includes but is not limited to: PCs, Phones, and Game Consoles.

The term GPU came about from Sony in 1994 when referring to the PlayStation’s GPU. Nvidia later popularized in 1999, where they marketed the GeForce 256 as “the world’s first GPU” and went on to create the GeForce Series Graphics Cards. Like a CPU, a GPU requires its own memory and works with other components to complete scheduled tasks.


Some CPUs can incorporate a graphics processor in the same die, called GPU, which is nothing but an integrated GPU, but it works independently. In this way, it is achieved that without the need for a dedicated graphics card, we can view the content on a monitor, although in these cases, the performance is quite low due to the physical limitations they have.

Pros And Cons Of GPU


  • Fast in graphics-related and massively parallel jobs.
  • Can take on more demanding tasks.
  • Are excellent for matrix operations.


  • GPUs fail on branch prediction.
  • GPU can’t drive itself, needs a CPU to be controlled.


The memory is taken from your typical desktop ram. Because of this, faster dual-channel memory always works better with GPUs. Ports are obtained from your motherboard, and cooling is taken from your CPU Cooler.


Having an IGPU will usually always be slower than a dedicated GPU as it has to obtain and share resources from other components. Furthermore, GPUs tend not to be as fast as dedicated GPUs, which cause lower overall performance.AMD Accelerated Processing Unit or APU is a type of IGPU. AMD launched the APU in 2011 and is still used today.

Rate this post
Computer Station Nation
Compare items
  • Total (0)