CPUs and GPUs have a lot in common. Both are critical computing engines. Both are silicon-based microprocessors. And both handle data. But CPUs and GPUs have different architectures and are built for different purposes. The CPU is suited to a wide variety of workloads, especially those for which latency or per-core performance are important. A powerful execution engine, the CPU focuses its smaller number of cores on individual tasks and on getting things done quickly. This makes it uniquely well equipped for jobs ranging from serial computing to running databases.
GPUs began as specialized ASICs developed to accelerate specific 3D rendering tasks. Over time, these fixed-function engines became more programmable and more flexible. While graphics and the increasingly lifelike visuals of today’s top games remain their principal function, GPUs have evolved to become more general-purpose parallel processors as well, handling a growing range of applications.