Skip to content

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)#

A GPU is used to render 2D and 3D graphics to a display device, like a monitor, smart phone screen or TV.

Here's what a dedicated (also known as "discrete") GPU looks like:


A modern GPU
(Evan-Amos, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

The reason I've included the GPU into the book is you might actually come across them in the Cloud. This is because a GPU isn't just for rendering graphics to a screen or playing high-end games, they can in fact be used for other very complex tasks.

If you've been watching the news as of late, you might have heard of a technology that GPUs are (currently) the best technology for: cryptocurrency and blockchain. We won't dive into these technologies in the book (not this version of it anyway), but here's an interesting picture that shows how GPUs are useful for cryptocurrency mining:

Bitcoin Mining

GPU Bitcoin Mining
(Gzen92, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about this photograph:

Early bitcoin miners used GPUs for mining, as they were better suited to the proof-of-work algorithm than CPUs.

And so you see GPUs aren't just for playing games, they have other uses too. Mining for cryptocurrencies, processing blockchain transactions, acting as a remote rendering machine for 3D graphics, and more, are all possible uses for using GPUs in a remote, Cloud based environment. These use cases can save the consumer a lot of money versus buying their own hardware.

Key Points#

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

The GPU is a powerful piece of hardware. All desktop computer systems have one, whether it's bult-in into the system or a dedicated piece of hardware. Servers tend not to have them unless they're doing very specialist workloads.

Check your understanding#

This is a quick and simple topic. Take note of the Key Points, above, and move on to the next topic.


  1. Check what GPU you have present inside of your system
  2. Is it "integrated graphics" or a dedicated piece of hardware like an nVidia GTX or RTX?
  3. Use your Medium account to write an article about your GPU hardware. Perhaps include links to the manufacturer's website.