GPU Synechdoche

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Eebster the Great
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GPU Synechdoche

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu May 05, 2011 1:11 am UTC

Why do I keep seeing video cards called "GPUs?" Have they really become synonymous, or is that just a few retailers that I've seen?

GeorgeH
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Re: GPU Synechdoche

Postby GeorgeH » Thu May 05, 2011 1:34 am UTC

It depends on context, but I often use "GPU" when "video card" would strictly speaking be more appropriate. The reason is there are a vast number of "video cards" that have the same "GPU", and thus are identical from a performance perspective. Because of that I think it's more appropriate to classify them as a single "GPU" and not as multiple "video cards".

And now for the dreaded car analogy:
If Toyota, BMW, Ford, Alfa Romeo, Volvo and every other manufacturer on the planet all made the exact same car, with the exception of paint color and engine, would you refer to them as "cars" or "engines"? "Engines" seems really strange, but if that were the only real distinguishing feature I submit it would gradually become a standard term to describe the whole.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: GPU Synechdoche

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu May 05, 2011 7:07 am UTC

GeorgeH wrote:It depends on context, but I often use "GPU" when "video card" would strictly speaking be more appropriate. The reason is there are a vast number of "video cards" that have the same "GPU", and thus are identical from a performance perspective. Because of that I think it's more appropriate to classify them as a single "GPU" and not as multiple "video cards".

And now for the dreaded car analogy:
If Toyota, BMW, Ford, Alfa Romeo, Volvo and every other manufacturer on the planet all made the exact same car, with the exception of paint color and engine, would you refer to them as "cars" or "engines"? "Engines" seems really strange, but if that were the only real distinguishing feature I submit it would gradually become a standard term to describe the whole.

Well, some manufacturers' cards do differ significantly from reference cards, though (for better or worse). But I guess I get the idea.

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Axman
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Re: GPU Synechdoche

Postby Axman » Fri May 06, 2011 5:31 am UTC

Because when you're writing about computer hardware, there's only so many times you can stand seeing the words "video card" in the same fucking paragraph. And it's not like GPUs ever come without an entire video card anyway. You don't get one without the other.

Also, "video card" includes things like capture cards and tuners.

Carnildo
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Re: GPU Synechdoche

Postby Carnildo » Fri May 06, 2011 5:55 am UTC

"GPU" has the advantage that it obviously covers integrated graphics systems, where "video card" may only refer to discrete add-in cards.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: GPU Synechdoche

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri May 06, 2011 9:38 am UTC

Axman wrote:Because when you're writing about computer hardware, there's only so many times you can stand seeing the words "video card" in the same fucking paragraph. And it's not like GPUs ever come without an entire video card anyway. You don't get one without the other.

This seems to contradict Carnildo's post . . .

Also, "video card" includes things like capture cards and tuners.
Carnildo wrote:"GPU" has the advantage that it obviously covers integrated graphics systems, where "video card" may only refer to discrete add-in cards.

These make sense, I guess.

Anyway, I was prompted to post when I saw technical specifications for a computer listing "GPU: Radeon HD 5870 Sapphire TOXIC Edition 1 GB GDDR5" or something of the sort.

EvanED
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Re: GPU Synechdoche

Postby EvanED » Fri May 06, 2011 2:17 pm UTC

Axman wrote:Also, "video card" includes things like capture cards and tuners.

I dunno if I've ever seen "video card" refer to one of those things, unless it was something like the All-In-Wonder.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: GPU Synechdoche

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri May 06, 2011 9:24 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:
Axman wrote:Also, "video card" includes things like capture cards and tuners.

I dunno if I've ever seen "video card" refer to one of those things, unless it was something like the All-In-Wonder.

It's certainly a PCI card, but yeah, I don't know if it's a video card, per se.


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