GPU vs Graphics Card: What is the Difference


Especially when showing something on the screen, it has to do a ton of calculations within milliseconds and in modern computers, there’s a dedicated part for these type of calculations which is the graphics card. But even in some videos and articles, the term GPU is used instead of using Graphics Card. Did you know these two terms aren’t the same and they give completely different ideas? If not, this article will provide a complete comparison between GPU vs Graphics Card pointing out the main differences as well

GPU vs Graphics Card

The term GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit which is specially designed to render and display the graphics inside your computer. This unit is quite similar to the CPU but it has some major differences as well. In graphics processing, a huge number of super simple and small calculations is needed and it will give the super cool graphics with the frame rate we needed. In general most of the workload of in-game graphics is been handled by the GPU by itself and that’s the reason why we need a powerful GPU to get better graphic performances.

After that, the Graphics Card is a combination of some other major components and the GPU is just one of them. When referring the graphics card as the GPU might not be a good idea because it may sound like the graphics processing unit is the one and the only thing inside the graphics card. But within a graphics card, there’s a video memory what we called VRAM in short term, PCB, Connectors, coolers and some other components as well. When all these things combined together is called the graphics card. And this is the shortest and easiest difference between GPU and a Graphics Card.

Why GPU instead of a CPU?

Although both the CPU and GPU is used for calculations, why can’t the manufacturers made a motherboard for two CPUs so the users can plug in two CPUs and dedicate one for all the operating system functions and calculations and the other for graphical calculations? The number of cores located inside both of them makes them different and specialized for each task.

Core Comparison of CPU vs GPU
Core Comparison of CPU vs GPU

Well, as obviously we all know the cores are like small calculators that can do calculations required for your computer very quickly. Most of the modern CPU in the market have 8 cores while a GPU has anywhere between 1000 and 6000 of them. But a single core of a CPU is much more powerful than a GPU core.

Mainly the CPUs are designed to control each and every task performed by the computer which needs a lot of computing power to solve things like logics, instructions, decision making and even more complicated things to keep the system up and running without any errors. Even though a single core from a CPU is more powerful, it can only do one task at a time and all the other task we want to done with our computer has to wait till the core completes it’s all previous tasks.

GPU vs Graphics Card
How it works: GPU vs Graphics Card

And that why there are multiple cores inside a CPU which makes the job pretty much easy because more cores mean more tasks can be performed at the same time and the latency is minimized as well. On the other hand, the individual instructions that are required for graphics rendering aren’t really complicated and a GPU core doesn’t need to think and execute anything like a CPU. But there’s just a lot of small calculations so using a CPU to perform that amount of calculations will result in all of the potentials of those cores being wasted.

Real-World Benefits of Using a GPU

Using a large number of processing units which can handle simple calculations will be the best option for the graphics rendering process. So the long story short, a CPU with 8 cores can handle 8 heavy set of instructions which needs a lot of computing power at the same time while a GPU can perform thousands of simple, light-weight calculations at once. The ability to do a bunch of calculations quickly is essential in rendering three-dimensional real-world graphics.

In creating a 3D graphics, there’s a technology called vector graphics is used which plot out the coordinated on a three-dimensional graph and draw lines in between them based off mathematical calculations which is slightly the same that do in geometry. Each and every object in shape is a collection of coordinates in relation to each other and what’s the curvature of the line in between them. This ability to calculate this type of calculations is been using for some other cool stuff like acquiring cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

Crypto currency
Crypto currency

And to give extra performance in graphics processing, modern graphics cards are designed with it’s own RAM which is often referred as Video RAM, Video memory or VRAM and it’s using to keep all the essential data which is needed regularly. The more VRAM you have is also another essential thing to boost your frame rates specially in gaming.


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