NVIDIA: What’s The Difference Between CPUs, GPUs, and DPUs

NVIDIA has slowly but surely dominated the GPU enterprise market. In recent years, GPUs have become increasingly necessary and need to sit alongside the CPU. Last year, NVIDIA launched a new operating unit with a data processing unit or DPU. Look at the three here and see what the difference is and why one would need more than one or all three of them.

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the largest and most well-known processing unit. The CPU, or sometimes referred to as "the processor," has been in use since the 1950s. Sometimes thought of as a form of the brain to computers (or anything that uses computing power), these processing units were the only programmable feature in the above devices for the longest time. As they continue to move faster and faster, other processing units were required to shift the landscape of information technology.

Join the processing unit for graphics (GPU). Initially, the GPU was programmed to function independently of the CPU to control memory and render images (graphics) for display output. GPUs have been and still are commonly used in video games. NVIDIA is best known for its GPUs and companies in video games, automotive electronics, and mobile devices.NVIDIA has been using its GPU power for AI workloads in the business. The parallel processing capabilities of GPUs make them suitable for rapid computing tasks of all kinds.

What is an NVIDIA DPU?

The above is just a glance, trying to bring large topics together in a nutshell. There's a lot of complexity and nuance to both CPUs and GPUs that can, and has, fill books. Although the two above are the most well-known ones, the third form of the processing unit is relatively new on the scene, the DPU.

One of the first mentions of DPUs from us was when the Monterey VMware Project was released. The CPU is the brain that conducts general-purpose computation. The GPU is now accelerating computing. The new DPU is designed to process data that travels across the data center. According to NVIDIA, the DPU would be a Chip System that is a combination of the following:

-Industry-standard, high-performance, programmable multi-core CPU
-High-Performance Network Interface
-Flexible and programmable acceleration motors

The above features are essential to allow an independent, bare-metal, cloud-based computing platform that, according to the company, will define the next generation of cloud computing. Although DPUs are stand-alone processors such as CPUs and GPUs, they are more generally embedded in SmartNICs than is the case with Project Monterey operating with VMware.The Bluefield DPUs of NVIDIA are combined on the ConnectX network adapter. Currently, NVIDIA provides the NVIDIA Bluefield-2 DPU and the NVIDIA Bluefield-2X AI-Powered DPU.

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NVIDIA: What’s The Difference Between CPUs, GPUs, and DPUs