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First, just to clarify, the CPU, or central processing unit , is the part of the computer that performs the will of the software loaded on the computer. It's the main executive for the entire machine. It is the master that tells all the parts of the computer what to do - in accordance with the program code of the software, and, hopefully, the will of the user.
Most computers have multi-core CPUs nowadays which is almost the same thing as having multiple CPU's in a single physical package. The CPU is usually a removable component that plugs into the computer's main circuit board, or motherboard and sits underneath a large, metallic heat sink which usually has a fan, a few are cooled by water. The GPU, or graphics processing unit , is a part of the video rendering system of a computer.
Servers usually have very limited or no GPU facilities as they are mostly managed over a text-based remote interface. Powerful GPUs are needed mostly for graphic intensive tasks such as gaming or video editing. For example, the translucent windows in Windows 7, or technologies like Mac OS X's Quartz, which powers the Aqua desktop and its beautiful, water-like graphical effects and animations such as bulging the Dock in a smooth animation when the mouse is moved to the lower edge of the screen or "sucking" windows into the Dock when they are minimized - these are powered by GPUs.
These are the differences that make Bitcoin mining far more favorable on a GPU. This is a difference of or in case of AVX times more instructions per clock. As of , the fastest CPUs have up to 6, 8, or 12 cores and a somewhat higher frequency clock MHz vs.
A CPU is designed primarily to be an executive and make decisions, as directed by the software. For example, if you type a document and save it, it is the CPU's job to turn your document into the appropriate file type and direct the hard disk to write it as a file.
CPU's are also highly capable of following instructions of the "if this, do that, otherwise do something else". A large bulk of the structures inside a CPU are concerned with making sure that the CPU is ready to deal with having to switch to a different task on a moment's notice when needed. A GPU is very different. Yes, a GPU can do math, and can also do "this" and "that" based on specific conditions. However, GPU's have been designed so they are very good at doing video processing, and less executive work.
Video processing is a lot of repetitive work, since it is constantly being told to do the same thing to large groups of pixels on the screen. In order to make this run efficiency, video processors are far heavier on the ability to do repetitive work, than the ability to rapidly switch tasks. As a result, they can do large amounts of bulky mathematical labor in a greater quantity than CPU's.
One way to visualize it is a CPU works like a small group of very smart people who can quickly do any task given to them. A GPU is a large group of relatively dumb people who aren't individually very fast or smart, but who can be trained to do repetitive tasks, and collectively can be more productive just due to the sheer number of people.
It's not that a CPU is fat, spoiled, or lazy. On silicon chips, size is expensive. The structures that make CPUs good at what they do take up lots of space. When those structures are omitted, that leaves plenty of room for many "dumb" ALU's, which individually are very small.
They can either all work on nearly identical variations of one single task, in perfect sync with one another, or nothing at all. Trying different hashes repeatedly - the process behind Bitcoin mining - is a very repetitive task suitable for a GPU, with each attempt varying only by the changing of one number called a "nonce" in the data being hashed.
The ATI Radeon is a popular video card for Bitcoin mining and, to date, offers the best known performance of any video card for this purpose. This particular card has 3, "Stream Processors", which can be thought of as 3, very dumb execution units that can be trained to all do the same repetitive task, just so long as they don't have to make any decisions that interrupts their flow.
Those execution units are contained in blocks. The uses a VLIW-5 architecture, which means the 3, Stream Processors are actually "Cores," Each able to process 5 instruction per clock cycle.
Nvidia would call these cores "Cuda Cores", but as mentioned in this article, they are not VLIW, meaning they cannot do as much work per cycle. This is why comparing graphics cards by core count alone is not an accurate method of determining performance, and this is also why nVidia lags so far behind ATI in SHA hashing.
Trying a single SHA hash in the context of Bitcoin mining requires around 1, simple mathematical steps that must be performed entirely by ALU's. Bitcoin mining requires no decision making - it is repetitive mathematical work for a computer. The only decision making that must be made in Bitcoin mining is, "do I have a valid block" or "do I not". That's an excellent workload to run on a GPU. Because of this VLIW vs. Secondly, another difference favoring Bitcoin mining on AMD GPUs instead of Nvidia's is that the mining algorithm is based on SHA, which makes heavy use of the bit integer right rotate operation.
This alone gives AMD another 1. See Some Performance Specs Below:. Retrieved from " https: Navigation menu Personal tools Create account Log in. Views Read View source View history. Sister projects Essays Source.