Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique that allows graphics processing units (GPUs) and central processing units (CPUs) on a single chip to collaborate – boosting processor performance by an average of more than 20 percent. Processor speed is one of the main stats that developers and consumers look at in making buying decisions.
GPUs were initially designed to execute graphics programs, and they are capable of executing many individual functions very quickly. CPUs, or the “brains” of a computer, have less computational power – but are better able to perform more complex tasks.
CPUs and GPUs fetch data from off-chip main memory at approximately the same speed, but GPUs can execute the functions that use that data more quickly. So, if a CPU determines what data a GPU will need in advance, and fetches it from off-chip main memory, that allows the GPU to focus on executing the functions themselves – and the overall process takes less time.
In preliminary testing, the team found that its new approach improved fused processor performance by an average of 21.4 percent. This approach has not been possible in the past because CPUs and GPUs were located on separate chips.