Understanding the PC lingo can be quite hard, especially if all you have heard about while growing up is CPU. To make it clear, the CPU isn’t the only processor found today. Instead, you have upgraded processors such as the APU and GPU too.

To make all the jargon easier, we have shed some light on APU, CPU, and GPU to make you understand what you can get for your next PC build. It doesn’t matter if you are planning to get a brand new PC for your home office or are on the lookout for a decent gaming setup, the processor you choose has a substantial influence on your day-to-day activities and performance.

So what will it be? Let’s look at APU vs. CPU and GPU to make sense of it all.

What is an APU?


APUs are a type of processor that combines an accelerated processing unit (APU) and a graphics processing unit (GPU) (GPU). APU computers use a general-purpose CPU rather than a graphical, picture, or voice-recording processor. APU processors are found mainly as components of the system on chip or SoC.

The APU is a revolutionary new computing unit for use in mobile devices. It is designed to be more powerful and efficient than the CPU. A big challenge for the APU processor was to create a chip that could perform as well as a CPU but with lower power consumption and heat generation. APU achieves this by combining four high-efficiency cores with an AMD Radeon GPU on a single chip, delivering the same performance as an Intel Core i3 processor at half the power level.

The APU processor also has heterogeneous computing capabilities, which means that each core can work on different tasks simultaneously, improving system responsiveness and speeding up tasks in many applications. This increases the demand for APU computers in the tech market today.


  • APUs are designed for low power consumption and can be integrated with the main processors.
  • They are also designed to provide a good balance between CPU and GPU performance.
  • APUs have a very low TDP (Thermal Design Power), one of their significant advantages.
  • The CPU and GPU share the same memory pool, which means they can work together more efficiently.


  • An APU’s high performance depends on its clock frequency, so if it’s underclocked, it won’t perform as well as if it was clocked higher.
  • If an APU has a lower clock frequency than another processor, the other processor will outperform it.

What is a CPU?


The CPU is the most well-known processing unit because it is explored in greater depth in schools than the GPU and APU. It stands for Central Processing Unit, a technical word for your computer’s “brain.” Your CPU is in charge of your computer’s primary processing and operation functions. The CPU, for example, is responsible for computing, displaying, and retrieving information. 

Despite its immense power, the CPU is merely a chip. It’s a little chip that exists on your motherboard. The CPU is not a memory card, and it cannot save data as the SD card chip can. It is just a chip that provides a flow of power. 


  • CPUs are the most common type of processor, and they are used in everything from smartphones to servers.
  • CPUs are also the best way to quickly get a system up and running.
  • CPUs can be easily modified and upgraded as needed.


  • CPU is not as efficient as GPU or FPGA when processing data.
  • CPUs cannot process instructions while waiting for data from memory, limiting their ability to run complex programs requiring large amounts of memory bandwidth.

What is a GPU?


The GPU is a device that is more familiar with the CPU. GPU is an abbreviation for Graphics Processing Unit. You can tell it executes functions connected to graphics, such as photographs and videos, just by looking at its name. The GPU is responsible for everything you see on the screen, although it only controls the interface and image and video file processing. It may appear that it merges with the CPU. However, this is not the case.

What precisely does the GPU do? Put another way, and it’s in charge of generating images and videos. It performs high-volume, repeated computations requiring graphics modification to produce the image you desire on the screen. It’s located on the motherboard, just like the CPU.


  • GPU is a highly specialized processor that can be used to accelerate graphics rendering and gaming.
  • They have been used in video editing and design software for quite some time now, which has led to significant improvements in those areas.
  • GPUs can generate more complex models than CPUs, allowing them to be used in more applications than CPUs would be able to handle.


  • The cost of GPUs is generally higher than the cost of CPUs. This means they become a little out of reach for everyone.

The GPU Comparison Tool

The GPU Comparison Tool is a free, interactive web-based tool that can help you to compare graphics card performance.

This tool is for anyone who wants to find the best graphics card for their needs. It can be used by gamers, content creators, or anyone who needs a powerful GPU and doesn’t want to spend hours researching.

You can use the GPU comparison tool to Compare GPUs using general parameters, using gaming benchmarks, incorporating price, and checking the power consumption. 

APU vs. CPU vs. GPU: Which One is Good for Gaming?

An APU combines a CPU and GPU, which are two separate components in a PC. It’s designed to handle the heavy workloads of today’s games and multimedia applications. The APU also helps conserve energy by balancing the workload between the CPU and GPU.

A CPU is designed to handle more lightweight tasks like word processing, web browsing, and other functions that don’t require graphics processing power. It can be used for gaming, but it requires a higher-end graphics card (GPU) to run most modern games at high-quality settings.

On the other hand, the GPU is designed specifically for graphics processing, so it can only be used for gaming. It doesn’t have any other functions, so it needs an APU or CPU to function correctly.

APU vs. GPU vs. CPU: A Quick Rundown

It is a CPU with integrated Graphic Cards.It is known as the processor and the mastermind. It is known as the Graphic card and the Video card. 
The APU has upto 2 to 8 cores The Modern CPU has 16 cores In comparison, GPU has hundreds to thousands of cores to them which formulate together to form a stronger system 
The APU has a clock rate of upto 4.1 GHz The CPU has a clock rate of upto 4GHzThe GPU cycles 1,000,000 times per second if the core clock is 1000MHz
The APU series available in the market include: the Ryzen series, the Vega graphic core series, and the A-series. The CPU series available in the market include: The Intel Core i9-12900K processor, DirectX, Intel Core i7 12700K processor Directx and the Intel Core i9-10850K Processor. The GPU series available in the market include: AMZ Radeon 6900 XT DirectX, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 DirectX and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti DirectX. 

APU Vs. CPU and GPU: How are they different?

All of these terminologies can be confusing for a beginner, so it’s best to understand how each differs. With this approach, you won’t be as confused when choosing what to buy. So it’s better to know the difference between CPU, GPU, and APU. 

In Terms of Capability:

In any case, how powerful are these processors? The difference between CPU and GPU is that the CPU is intended to be significantly more efficient than the GPU because it is the computer’s brain. However, whereas the GPU is the more efficient of the two, this is not always the case. The GPU is accustomed to reliably performing heavy and repetitive tasks. Naturally, this is contingent on their ability to handle data quickly. However, your GPU will nearly consistently outperform your CPU if you haven’t upgraded yet.

The APU, despite being a 2-in-1 solution, provides a relatively great deal of power. It’s not as powerful as having a separate CPU and GPU, but it’ll suffice because an APU is also more economical. Some of the latest APUs can already compete with low-cost, low-end graphics cards while using less power.

In Terms of Requirements:

Is it possible to run a computer using only one of those processing units? Is it required to have a graphics processing unit (GPU) or an accelerated processing unit (APU)? The issue with GPUs is that they aren’t required to operate a computer. Some games don’t even need them to play. If you are a gamer, though, a specialized graphics card will allow you to play games in higher quality and at a faster rate. When it comes to the APU, if you already have a CPU and a GPU, you won’t need one, and vice versa.

In Terms of Processing:

What they process and how they process it varies from each other. The CPU, in a nutshell, performs arithmetic activities such as receiving and directing data. You can think of it as a command center for your entire computer. It’s more of a technical point person for GPU. The GPU is in charge of everything connected to graphics, including receiving and directing data. Finally, the APU performs both arithmetic and visual operations.

In Terms of Price:

The APU is significantly less expensive than owning both a CPU and a GPU on numerous grounds. It’s a low-cost processor that allows you to play your games while keeping the graphics card. APUs range in price from $200 to $500 depending on the frame rates. It becomes expensive if the frame rate rises. 

The GPU and CPU are in the same position. The more powerful you want these two to be, the more money you’ll have to spend. When purchasing these two, keep in mind that they will typically be more pricey than a high-tier APU.


Which is better: APU or CPU with GPU?

APUs utilize less power than a CPU and GPU combination, and they can provide significantly longer battery life. If you have a limited budget of less than $500 and want to get into video editing or casual gaming, an APU can provide value.

Is APU the same as GPU?

GPU and APU are sometimes used together, and there is a clear differentiation. A graphics card incorporates the GPU, similar to how a motherboard stores the CPU.

Is an APU a GPU or CPU?

An accelerated Processing Unit is a group of processors that combine the functions of a CPU (Central Processing Unit) and a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) onto a single chip sheet. They’re fundamentally processors which have built-in graphics. 

Is APU better than integrated graphics?

When we talk about Integrated graphics, there is still a thin line of confusion that it may or might not have been a GPU. It shares a similar cache and memory as the CPU but isn’t as powerful as the CPU is. But when we talk about APU processors, you get a minute graphic card on a processor sheet, making it even more powerful.

CPU and GPU Vs. APU: Who Takes The Win?

In the past, CPUs and GPUs have been at odds. But with the introduction of APUs, these two have found a way to work together. APUs are built with both a CPU and GPU on the same chip. This allows for better performance and lower power consumption. CPUs have traditionally been designed to handle more intensive tasks like computation and graphics rendering, while GPUs are designed for less intensive tasks like video encoding and decoding. However, APUs combine both of these functions into one unit, making them more efficient than either CPUs or GPUs alone.

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Abdul Wahab is a Software Engineer by profession and a Tech geek by nature. Having been associated with the tech industry for the last five years, he has covered a wide range of Tech topics and produced well-researched and engaging content. You will mostly find him reviewing tech products and writing blog posts. Binge-watching tech reviews and endlessly reading tech blogs are his favorite hobbies.