The difference between a CPU and GPU, and which to upgrade on your gaming computer

CPU vs Graphics Card: Which One to Upgrade in Your Gaming Computer – Part 1

Anyone shopping for a new gaming computer faces a lot of questions and choices, especially if you are planning to customize your new PC. Since almost everyone in this situation is on a budget, it’s important to understand different components and how they impact your system so you can spend your upgrade budget wisely. One of the most common questions is whether it’s better to spend money upgrade the central processing unit (CPU) or the graphics processing unit (GPU, or graphics card).

If you’re not in this category and have unlimited money, you can skip this article and just upgrade both. For the rest of you, read on to learn more.

The Central Processing Unit (CPU)

CPUs, often called processors, are the brain of your computer. It’s the place where all the programming and instructions come from and is an essential piece of any PC. That’s great when you are running programs and processing information, but it’s also important in gaming. CPUs use “cores” to process information, and today’s CPUs come with anywhere from two to 28 cores. The more cores available within a processor, the more simultaneous tasks a computer can run without slowing down anything else. Dual-core processors are available on the low end, but quad-core are available for even more computer power, and some of the newest processors use multi-threading technology to allow each CPU core to act like two separate cores, or threads, to share information and work together to process more information concurrently.

The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

The graphics processing unit goes by many names—GPU, graphics card, and sometimes video card. It is specifically designed to render graphics, video, and animation. It’s definitely not the same as a CPU (which handles many other tasks in addition to graphics and animation), but having a good graphics card will free up the CPU to perform other tasks. That means you can run even the most graphics-intensive and fast-paced games and it won’t slow down your computer. GPUs can be integrated and share memory will the CPU, or can be a separate card and memory on its own. With many of today’s newest games, a top-of-the-line graphics card will create a much smoother visual gaming experience.

Choosing the Right One

Now that you know the basics, the next step is figuring out how to determine which one you should spend money to upgrade if you have to choose between the two. Check out part 2 of this blog to find out more or go to the Xidax website to shop and get help and advice from our experienced team of PC gamers.


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