What Is an APU (Accelerated Processing Unit)? Here’s the Guide [MiniTool Wiki]

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An Overview of APU

What is an APU? The Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) is a processor that combines the CPU and GPU on a chip. The APU was created by AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) and the first APU was released in January, 2011.

The Accelerated Processing Unit is originally known as Fusion. Actually, the APU is a marketing term for the series of 64-bit microprocessors from AMD. Therefore, it is not weird that you haven’t heard of APU technology.

Tip: To obtain more details of APU (Accelerated Processing Unit), please keep reading this post of MiniTool.

Even though placing the 2 circuits onto a single ship doesn’t sound so visionary, it is a manufacturing and design decision that can help you improve the performance of your computer.

what is an APU unit

The Pros and Cons of APU

What benefits it can bring you? Well, the most direct one is the improvement of system performance. In particular, if you previously utilized CPU and integrated graphics, you will see an obvious performance improvement. To be specific, if you have an APU commputer, videos will run smoother, tasks will be faster, etc.

Since the 2 processors (CPU and GPU) are located on the same die, they are able to share resources with each other. In this case, your computer will become more efficient, runs faster.

The APU can cut down the cost of manufacturing, give more space for other hardware by reducing the footprint of the processing units. It is efficient. Moreover, keeping components close together boosts the data transfer rates and also reduces power consumption.

Tip: As Intel processors are not called APUs, modern Intel architectures like Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge are built with integrated CPUs and GPUs. These chips are referred to as hybrid processors because they hold both the CPU and GPU.

Given to that fact, installing APU is often considered as an economical way to upgrade hardware. Indeed, numerous users apply this method to upgrade their computer hardware. Is APU worth buying? Your answer may be positive when reading here.

However, you may change your mind after reading the next content. As mentioned earlier, APU can offer you performance improvements. First and foremost, APUs are just a kind of combined processing unit. Manufacturers like Intel produce components containing APUs as well.

If so, you can utilize these components to get the function of APU and don’t have to get an APU. Though APU has made some improvements based on motherboard’s integrated graphics, it is still trumped by the independent GPU.

What’s more, the APU will provide you with limited improvements if gaming and video are vital part of your setup. If so, you are recommended to buy a high-end CPU or GPU separately. Whether to buy the APU or not? Now, you can make your choice.

Top recommendation: An Introduction to TPM (Trusted Platform Module) Header

The Development of APU

As mentioned before, the first APU was released in January, 2011. It was divided into high-performance (Llano) and low-performance (Brazos). The second generation of APU was released in June, 2012. Similarly, this generation has 2 versions. They are the high-performance (Trinity) and the low-performance (Brazos-2).

As for the third generation of APU, the high-performance (Kaveri) devices were released in January 2014, while the low-power (Kabini) devices were released on the summer of 2013. According to the above facts, the APU develops rapidly.

Correspondingly, more and more devices utilize APU. For instance, both the famous game console Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One 8th generation video game consoles apply the 3rd generation semi-custom low-power APUs.

Due to the high performance of APU, many companies start developing this technology. For instance, Intel combined CPU and GPU on a single chip that makes the Intel CPUs with integrated HD Graphics. One drawback of this CPU is that it doesn’t have HSA support.

To get the detailed information about the differences between CPU and GPU, you can read this post: CPU VS GPU: What’s the Difference Between Them? A Guide for You

The Bottom Line

What is an APU unit? You may have answers in your mind now. This post introduces the basic information, pros and cons and development of APU (Accelerated Processing Unit). You will have an overall understanding of APU meaning after reading the post. Here comes the end of this post.

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