What is an APU? | WePC
AMD created APUs in 2011. Although it was not the first company to create processors with integrated graphics, it was the first to create them powerful enough to play at an acceptable FPS and resolution. It’s safe to say that AMD kickstarted the gaming-focused APU market as we know it today.
APUs fill an important gap in the component market. The combination of CPU and GPU has been the benchmark for budget builders for just over a decade now. But why and what exactly is an APU?
What does APU mean?
APU is an acronym for Accelerated Processing Unit. Formally known as fusion, it is a name given to AMD processors with integrated GPU components. However, AMD APUs aren’t the only processors on the market with integrated graphics. Intel has its own line of IGP or integrated graphics processors.
The APU name is strictly reserved for AMD processors. Technically, you wouldn’t be wrong to call an Intel chip an APU because they achieve similar goals, but Intel has its own name for the products.
What is an APU?
As we mentioned earlier, an APU is an accelerated processing unit, a name given to an AMD processor with integrated graphics components incorporated on the same die.
An APU is basically a CPU and GPU rolled into one neat little chip. This combination works well for budget-conscious PC builders, but performance suffers when bundling two PC components into a single package.
Think about this, if you take half your house and turn it into a garage, your house is only half as good to be a house now, but it’s now also half a garage. It serves two purposes instead of one, but now it’s only half as good at its original function. This is essentially the problem behind APUs.
To APU or not to APU?
There are pros and cons to opting for a shiny new APU instead of braving the current GPU market.
An APU is a simple and cost-effective solution to two problems, namely CPU and GPU acquisition. APUs are as easy to install as regular CPUs and require no special motherboards or accompanying components. With no GPU, it’s also one less component to worry about with maintenance and cleaning.
APUs will never perform as well as a mediocre GPU and CPU combination. That’s not to say that APUs aren’t great and amazing feats of engineering on their own, however, they just don’t stack up to separate CPU and GPU combinations. Think back to the house metaphor – CPU and GPU performance suffer significantly when trying to make one component perform two functions.
APUs are amazing, bringing CPU and GPU functions together in one package is an incredible feat of engineering and one that should be acknowledged. Although APUs weren’t the first processors to include integrated graphics, they are certainly the most capable to date.
AMD APUs are good options for gamers on a tight budget, but suffer from performance issues that come with adopting one component to perform as two.