CPU, RAM vs GPU: Difference and Comparison

The Central Processing Memory(CPU), Random Access Memory(RAM), and Graphics Processing Unit(GPU) are parts of the computer that have different roles and functions to make the computer system operate effectively without any glitches.

The CPU is made up of the main memory, control unit, and arithmetic logic unit, while the RAM is used to store data permanently in computer memory, and the GPU is used for graphic and pixel display.

Key Takeaways

  1. The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the computer’s primary processor, executing instructions and managing data flow. At the same time, the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) focuses on rendering graphics and handling visual tasks.
  2. RAM (Random Access Memory) stores data temporarily for quick access by the CPU and GPU, allowing for faster processing of tasks and smooth multitasking.
  3. GPUs excel at parallel processing, handling thousands of calculations simultaneously, which makes them more efficient for handling complex graphics and visual tasks than CPUs.


The difference between them is that the CPU is optimized for sequential instructions, whereas RAM is optimized for boosting system performance while the GUP is optimized for parallel instructions.

CPU is the main component of a computer system that is responsible for executing instructions, while the RAM is the main memory of a computer system, meanwhile, GPU is accountable for performing rapid mathematical calculations.

CPU is a processor that carries out all its roles by drawing all the required information from the RAM, whereas RAM is a short-term memory storage while the GPU has its own RAM to store data on the images it processes.

Comparison Table

Parameter of comparisonCPURAMGPU
FunctionsIt processes memory to carry out programsIt mainly stores memory for the programAccelerate graphic rendering
Initial releaseIt was first launched in 1958Released into the consumer market in 19701970
MeasurementMeasured in clock speed, cores, and cacheIt is measured in size, type, and access speedParallel processing technology
AcronymsCentral Processing SystemRandom Access MemoryGraphics processing Units
Primary useIt is used in Calculation and execution dictated by a computer programUsed in the storage of temporary files systemIt is used to mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum

What is CPU?

The Central Processing Unit(CPU) is an electric circuit that is responsible for handling the processing of logical and mathematical operations and also performing instructions.

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The CPU is also known as a Processor, which performs fundamental arithmetic logic, controlling, and input/output functions.

It is referred to as the heart and brain of all digital systems, which means it is accountable for all the singular actions a computer does.

There are three principal components of the CPU, which include the Arithmetic-logic unit(ALU) that performs arithmetic and logic operations, Processor registers that supply operands to the ALU and store the results of the ALU, and the Control unit that promote the decoding, execution, fetching of instruction in the computer system.

The CPU has four general duties: fetching instructions from memory, Decoding or deciphering the instructions into a structure that the CPU can understand, Executing and carrying out the given instructions, and Storing the result of the execution back to the memory for future use.


What is RAM?

RAM means Random Access Memory, a temporary type of memory located in the hardware where data, applications, and programs are stored and kept.

RAM is built into the motherboard and accessed by the central processing unit across the motherboard’s black plane. It is made from numerous types of semiconductors chips that consist of memory cells.

The data present in the RAM is volatile, which means that whenever the computer loses power, the data inside will be erased.

There are two types of RAM which are SRAM(Static Random access memory) which stores data using a pair of transistors, and DRAM(Dynamic Random access memory), which stores data using a pair of capacitors and transistors.

What is stored inside RAM includes applications, a graphical user interface, and an operating system. It is also known as a highly expensive performing memory component that is used to store data.


What is GPU?

Graphics Processing Unit(GUP) is a specialized electronic circuit that renders graphics and images by conducting prompt mathematical calculations.

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It is also used to manipulate and modify memory to speed up the creation of images aimed at the output of a display system. It is used in personal computers, Mobile Phones, workstations, and game consoles.

GPU operates by using a specific technique called Parallel Processing which indicates two or more processors are run simultaneously to handle separate parts of an overall task.

GPU likewise has its RAM to store data on the images it processes through calculation. This calculation is crucial to render graphics and contains more transistors than a CPU.

There are two types of GPUs which are Integrated and Discrete. Integrated GPU comes implanted alongside the GPU, while Discrete GPU is mounted on a separate circuit board.


Main Differences Between CPU, RAM and GPU

  1. The CPU is the main processing unit in a computer, while RAM is a temporary storage unit, whereas GPU is used for manipulating image processing.
  2. The number of cores present determines the CPU’s performance, while the RAM’s performance is influenced by the bus speed, processing speed, and memory space, whereas Intel determines GPU.
  3. The CPU usage when inactive is 0.8 – 10%, while the RAM is 50% when idle, whereas GPU is between 0 – 10%.
  4. CPU stands for Central Processing unit, RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit.
  5. CPU interacts with multiple computer components, such as RAM and ROM, to execute an instruction, while the RAM does not interact with any components, but the GPU only interacts with the memory and the display unit on the screen.
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0743731512000998
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=GlRSEAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA145&dq=What+is+a+computer+central+processing+unit&ots=bchySWAhuI&sig=fjamEEGHCreuJZbgw__En1w0gRw

Last Updated : 29 July, 2023

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