# eli5: What does a GPU do when you play a game.

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eli5: What does a GPU do when you play a game.

In: Technology

For your computer at home, games are harder to run fast than the other things you’re probably asking it to do. There’s a lot of math the computer does in the background trying to figure out where all the stuff in the game is and how it should look on your screen. If your computer can’t do all that math test enough, the game will run too slowly to play and it might not even run at all.

The GPU is an assistant that does all that extra math for your computer. It’s really good at doing geometry – calculating angles and stuff, which is the kind of math that games need. So it does as much of the extra math involved in figuring out what goes on the screen so the rest of the computer can keep doing the rest without getting overloaded.

In simple words, it make game go woooh and wush.

In normal words, gpu stands for graphics processing unit it helps render the images you see while playing.

It does lots of simple calculations at the same time. The CPU can basically do any calculation so you can think of it as a generalist. However, CPUs only do one calculation at a time. (They can do billions per second so that’s perfectly fine for most computer tasks.) The GPU can only do a very specific set of calculations but it can do them in parallel. So, you can think of it as a specialist. In a game, that calculation is probably drawing a polygon. The GPU can draw a bunch of polygons at once whereas the CPU would take time to draw them. So, that task is delegated to the GPU.

A GPU is a Graphics Processing Unit. It processes the graphics for the game. It’s a chip that’s specialized for doing lots of relatively basic stuff, which is good for graphics processing. It puts all the pixels on the screen.

Meanwhile the Central Processing Unit processes everything else, like where the monsters are going and how many health points you have.

The CPU tells the GPU “display a monster at these coordinates: 123, 456” and then the GPU actually translates that instruction into pixels.

Some old game consoles used to have a Sound Processing Unit, but these days the CPU is fast enough to calculate the sound as well, so it doesn’t need a separate processing unit.

Not all games use the GPU. The CPU can process anything, even graphics. The GPU just processes graphics more quickly and lets the CPU do other stuff in the meantime.