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CPUs vs. GPUs

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I was just wondering if anyone thinks graphics will be done by CPUs mainly in the future as opposed to GPUs. As far as I can tell, it could go either way.

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Actually, the CPU did do all of the graphics rendering back in the early/mid nineties. Eventually, programmers decided to start adding support for GPUs (which have been used in the professional graphics industry for a long time to do stuff like 3D modeling and CADD) because 3D games were getting popular, and GPUs are loaded with all sorts of cool features (like hardware support for multiplying matrices, and other useful stuff) that CPUs don't have. This allowed games to have much better graphics than they did before.

As for the future, I believe that it is highly unlikely that it will be common for CPU's to do all the graphics rendering in games. In fact, things are moving quite the other way: GPU manufacturers are trying to make their processors more flexible so that they can do stuff that the CPU normally does.

However, I did read that AMD is working on some sort of GPU/CPU hybrid, but I don't know anything about its performance.

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Graphics have been performed on specialized chipsets since VGA and VESA were introduced (on PCs, much sooner on other architectures).

GPU is the evolution of 3D accelerators.

Current experiments are going in the direction of other specialized chipsets for physics, audio (already exists) and others.

And since history repeates itself, at some point, a hybrid, all-in-one chipset will apear that will outperform everything else. After that, it'll be specialization again. This cycle has repeated itself several times already.

The real advantage of current GPUs comes from their massive parallelism of simple operations. This allows increasing ammount of work to be done via shaders very effectively.

At the same time, the multi-core CPUs are becoming mainstream, and once they reach the predicted 16 or 32 cores, they'll have not only all the concurrently benefits of current GPUs, but also much richer instruction set.

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