Core count in GPUs and CPUs is very important for performance. A lot of the time a higher-end CPU or GPU will have a higher core count than their lower-end counterparts. However, when comparing a GPU to a CPU, you can see that GPUs have thousands of cores compared to a CPU that only has a core count in the single digits.
This leads to the question; why do GPUs have more cores than CPUs?
GPUs need thousands of cores to process thousands of smaller tasks very quickly. They create the vertices, pixels, and graphics on your screen, and having thousands of cores helps process this very fast. Whereas CPU cores are more advanced and work on more complicated tasks that require more complex cores.
This can get very complicated that’s why I have written this article so that you get a better understanding of how CPU and GPU cores work, and why GPUs have so many cores compared to CPUs.
Why Do GPUs Have So Many Cores?
The reason why GPUs have so many cores is that they have to render thousands of vertices, and shade thousands of pixels at once.
To compute these processes it isn’t about how fast the cores are, but how many cores you have.
The tasks that GPUs need to run aren’t very complex so the GPU doesn’t need to have very complex cores inside of it. It uses more simple cores called CUDA or Tensor that are smaller, and are built to be able to process simple tasks at rapid speed.
That’s why manufacturers focus on building a graphics card with thousands of smaller cores rather than fewer, but more complex ones.
You should also read: “Why Are GPU Clock Speeds Slower Than CPU Clock Speeds?”
Why Don’t CPUs Have More Cores?
The reason why CPUs don’t have more cores like GPUs is that each CPU core is more complex, and is built to run more complex tasks for your computer.
CPU cores are built with higher speeds, and a higher amount of cache memory to help with these complex tasks.
Furthermore, CPUs only have so many cores because we can’t fit any more cores in the CPU.
So, why don’t we just make the CPU bigger? Well, there are actually CPUs that are bigger like the Intel Xeon or AMD Threadripper, but even these CPUs can only hold so many cores.
Another thing is you really don’t need that many cores, and having hundreds of cores in a CPU will actually slow it down. The reason for this is that there are fewer complicated tasks that a CPU needs to run compared to a GPU.
If multiple cores are working on just a single task they can interfere with each other, especially the more complex ones.
You do not want this.
So, instead what manufacturers tend to do is instead of trying to fit more cores inside of a CPU they focus on making each individual core faster.
If you want to learn more about this check out this article: “More Cores or Higher Clock Speed When Gaming?”
What’s The Difference Between GPU and CPU Cores?
The difference between GPU cores and CPU cores is that CPU cores are more complex and advanced than GPU cores, which makes them great at processing complex operations, whereas GPU cores are great at processing less complex tasks at a faster speed because there are more of them.
CPU cores are able to operate the same tasks as a GPU core, but GPU cores, won’t be able to operate the same tasks as CPU cores.
Think about it like this a CPU core is like a very skilled surgeon and GPU cores are like nurses or doctors.
If you need surgery you would rather have one very skilled surgeon who knows how to operate on you, but you wouldn’t want 1000 less qualified nurses operating on you at once.
The surgeon is able to operate on you as well as do any tasks that the nurses are able to do, such as take your blood work or diagnose you with any issue you have, but when you have 1000s of patients to get through in a day, you give those more simple jobs to the nurses and the more complicated jobs to the surgeons.
Now if we bring that back to technical terms.
The GPU focuses on rendering the images and simple processes on your screen, while the CPU works on running the movement, and actions, that allow your program to run.