Is A CPU A Graphics Card?

You can trust PC GuideOur team of experts use a combination of independent consumer research, in-depth testing where appropriate – which will be flagged as such, and market analysis when recommending products, software and services. Find out how we test here.

Last Updated on

Whether you are a tech fanatic or consider yourself an amateur when it comes to computing, understanding how computer components work can be confusing. 

We are here to answer all your questions, ensuring you have a better grasp of how these remarkable machines actually work, just in case you plan to build your own.

So, you are unsure how a CPU differs from a graphics card? Let’s explore.

Difference Between CPUs And Graphics Cards

A CPU or central processing unit is often described as the ‘brain’ of the computer. Their role is to deal with all the data and processing required to make your computer function. They are pretty critical components that allow you to execute all sorts of tasks from surfing the web to running databases.

A CPU contains many processing cores which focus on taking in instructions, decoding them into signals, and sending them to the relevant destinations. As a result, they coordinate a variety of general tasks you want your computer to do.

You will find the CPU in your computer’s motherboard. As technology has advanced we have seen an improvement in their design. The billions of transistors that make up a CPU have become much smaller, in turn, improving their processing speed.

Now onto graphics cards.

Graphics cards and GPUs are words that are used interchangeably however they mean different things. The graphics card comprises of several components, including the GPU itself. It is in charge of rendering images on your display and is a very sophisticated device.

Some laptops or desktops contain integrated GPUs built into their main processors. Therefore, it is not surprising that many of us get confused about how each of these components differ.

In contrast, some more advanced machines have separate dedicated graphics cards. The benefit of this is that more complex visuals can be delivered at a much faster rate than integrated graphics.

Not only do graphics cards contain a GPU, but they also have their own dedicated VRAM and input/output system (BIOS) chip. These features also allow for more advanced image rendering which is especially favorable for those hoping to use their computers for gaming.

Now we have covered what each component is, we can clearly see that the CPU is not the same as a graphics card. A great way of thinking about it is like this. The GPU to a graphics card is effectively the equivalent of the CPU to a motherboard.

Do Graphics Cards Have CPU?

Many consider graphics cards as computers in themselves. Much like a motherboard, a graphics card contains its own processor called a GPU (graphics processing unit). 

So in short, graphics cards do not have a CPU, they actually contain a different specialized processor, called a GPU. 


A CPU is not, in fact, a graphics card. Graphics cards handle all we require when it comes to rendering images on our screens. Whereas CPUs are responsible for running and executing a variety of tasks that allow our computers to function.

Still interested in learning more about this topic. Be sure to read our other expert guides in our dedicated CPU section on PC Guide. Why not favorite the page too?

Funmi joined PC Guide in November 2022 and has a knowledge of AI apps, gaming and consumer technology.