Do You Need a GPU? It’s For More Than Gaming!

When looking for a new computer a lot of people ask their technologically inclined friend what options they need and which ones to pass on. One question that comes up more often these days from notebook shoppers is, “Do I need a GPU?” Adding a GPU or Graphical Processing Unit to your notebook is about more than gaming.

Notebooks equipped with an NVIDIA or ATI GPU can be significantly more expensive than base models.

It used to be that any question about graphics came back to whether or not the purchaser was a gamer, but not anymore.

You don’t have to take my word for it; check out what Sanford Russell, general manager of the CUDA group at NVIDIA has to say about what a GPU can do for you.

An NVIDIA GPU is for more than just games. It is the perfect processor for manipulating pictures, video and other visual data, and CUDA is what makes this possible. It’s great to see CyberLink at the forefront of this technology trend.

Having a GPU in your computer can improve performance when dealing with pictures and other media because the Central Processing Unit (CPU) which typically processing requests can offload some requests to the GPU which makes for a speedier experience.

One example of this technology is the new NVIDIA CUDA technology which is used by CyberLink’s newest MediaShow software. For example the new MediaShow 5 photo and video suite from CyberLink boasts a 50% faster analysis time when sorting and tagging photos on computers using a CUDA GPU.

What’s that mean in practical terms? According to CyberLink it means that with a CUDA GPU and MediaShow 5, “anyone [can] tag the faces in 1000 photos within 10 minutes.” If you take as many photos as my wife that can mean the difference between spending 30 minutes processing a week’s worth of pictures and blocking out an hour to tag the faces in her photos.

Another practical reason to get a GPU when buying a new computer is that it speeds video conversions by up to 10 times meaning that you’ll be able to convert a file for your Zune, PSP or iPhone quicker than someone without a GPU and an application like MediaShow 5.

So if you find yourself working with pictures all the time, converting video files or otherwise doing visually intensive work on your computer it’d be worth your time and money to look for a powerful GPU in your next computer. Keep your eyes peeled for computers like the Lenovo S12 which will soon ship with an NVIDIA ION GPU and other computers coming this fall which can take advantage of the CUDA processing power.

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