Intel will promote its quad-core processors at the upcoming Game Developers Conference in March, the chip giant will attempt to convince game developers to move graphics effects from the GPU to Intel's CPUs.
The pitch goes like this: "Learn how to easily add real-time 3D smoke, fog and other fluid simulations to your game without using up the GPU." That's according to an Intel Web page entitled Intel at Game Developers Conference. (The CPU is the central processing unit, or main brains of a computer; GPU stands for graphics processing unit.)
The session abstract goes on to say that the "source code to a fluid simulator optimized for multi-core CPUs...can easily be integrated by game developers into their engines to produce unique 3D effects."
Intel's argument raises the question, how should the CPU and GPU divvy up their tasks? In games, the CPU can handle things like physics and AI (artificial intelligence), and certain older games actually run some graphics on the CPU. Generally, however, the GPU is much more efficient (that is, faster) at handling most of the high-end effects that the gamer sees on the screen.
But there are exceptions. "Not all algorithms and processes map well to a GPU," said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research. "You have to have a problem that is naturally parallel, and except for the rendering of, say, a water surface and subsurface and reflections, the wave motion equations will run just fine on a CPU," Peddie said.