The Difference of APU, CPU and GPU

If you are building your own computer, you have a lot of choices nowadays. You can choose a prebuilt computer or build your own, picking each and every part to fine-tune your build. Nevertheless, there are some popular acronyms that popped out in today’s market and they are somewhat confusing. These acronyms are APU, CPU and GPU and we will tackle them one by one.


Let us start with the easiest, the CPU. You’ve probably heard this before and it is a common terminology in the world of computers. CPU stands for “Central Processing Unit” and it’s the one responsible for all the computation and decision-making. Without CPU, your computer cannot do anything, thus it’s dubbed as the brain of the computer.

The CPU aids in everything, from loading the OS upon boot up to calculating the damage taken by the player after a direct hit from a game.


The GPU is the acronym for “Graphics Processing Unit”. This is the one responsible for handling the images, texts and videos that you can see from your monitor. Computers can still function without a GPU but you won’t be able to connect a monitor to them. One of the common computer machines that doesn’t need a graphics-processing unit are servers, as they are controlled via a remote computer by using terminal commands.

There are two types of GPU, dedicated graphics card that are separately bought or integrated graphics, which are built into the motherboard. The more powerful your GPU is, the better your computer will perform graphics intensive tasks such as computer games, graphics rendering and 3D modelling.


It’s easier to understand an APU by learning about CPU and GPU first. APU is the acronym for “accelerated processing unit”. These chips combine CPU and GPU in one. They are more efficient and less power hungry because they can communicate via one another seamlessly.

APUs are enough for medium level users and they are cheaper compared to buying a CPU and GPU and they are generally less power hungry compared to the CPU + GPU combination. However, power users might not be satisfied with its limited power as even the most powerful APU available nowadays isn’t even at the heels of the most powerful CPU+GPU combination.

What Do I Need?

These three components are important part of a computer and you must choose wisely. If you’re just going to use a PC by browsing the web and some word processing, an APU is more than enough. However, if you are going to use your PC as a gaming rig or if you are a video editor or software developer, you’ll need a powerful CPU + GPU combination to satisfy your needs. It all depends upon your use, so make sure to do your research first.