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GPU-curious: The latest on graphics processing units

December 02, 2019

GPU-curious: The latest on graphics processing units
You’re too busy and too cool to spend 5 minutes reading about graphics processing units (GPUs), so here is the latest in 4 minutes. (Any tech that may help cure cancer is worth learning about, right?)
Get up to speed on GPUs in 4 minutes
1) There are only 2 major players … for now
Although we won’t advertise brands here, we’ll gladly let you know that only two companies rule the GPU market. Unlike other ubiquitous, everyday technologies, the masses haven’t figured out GPUs. Sure, there are minor players and “board partners” (contracted to purchase, modify and resell units), but the market is certainly dominated by two organizations.
However, our insiders tell us that a massive, global tech corporation will make waves as a new GPU supplier. The company has even hired former brass and engineers from one of the major players. In terms of reducing costs, competition is a beautiful thing for consumers and enterprises.
Will this disrupt the market? Will it be a flop? Heck, we’re not even sure if this new GPU will be hardware- or software-based. Stay tuned.

2)They’re not just for gamers
Consumers are finally realizing that gaming is only part of the GPU story. Remember, to boil it down, we’re talking about a piece of hardware that accelerates a variety of workloads. Modern GPUs are engaged in the most complex calculations. To name just a few, GPUs play a role in deep learning, big data research, AI, data centers, mobile phones, workstations and, yes, gaming.
Which brings us to …
3) They’re making the world a better place
What used to be a tool that simply took binary data from the central processor to render images could now help fight cancer. Now that’s progress.
Cancer research teams are using high-performance computing and GPU-accelerated deep learning to better understand the role of “driver” genes in cancer. They use DNA sequencing data to rapidly build a cancer’s “family tree,” which reveals mutations that turn healthy cells into malignant tumors. It’s amazing how GPU technology may enable us to predict how these tumors evolve.
4) HBM could disrupt GPUs
HBM (high-bandwidth memory) is like an Aston Martin—fast but expensive. It enables rapid information transfer and vertical stacking, resulting in mind-blowing performance. In short, HBM is a high-performance RAM interface that prices many consumers out of the market. Primarily, only enterprises and high-end enthusiasts are getting a taste of this speedy goodness. If HBM becomes more common in GPUs, it could really level the playing field and drive down costs.

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