Hardware Acceleration

In computing, hardware acceleration is the use of computer hardware to perform some function faster than is possible in software running on the general-purpose CPU. Examples of hardware acceleration include blitting acceleration functionality in graphics processing units (GPUs) and instructions for complex operations in CPUs.

Normally, processors are sequential, and instructions are executed one by one. Various techniques are used to improve performance; hardware acceleration is one of them. The main difference between hardware and software is concurrency, allowing hardware to be much faster than software. Hardware accelerators are designed for computationally intensive software code. Depending upon granularity, hardware acceleration can vary from a small functional unit to a large functional block (like motion estimation in MPEG-2).

The hardware that performs the acceleration, when in a separate unit from the CPU, is referred to as a hardware accelerator, or often more specifically as graphics accelerator or floating-point accelerator, etc. Those terms, however, are older and have been replaced with less descriptive terms like video card or graphics card.

Many hardware accelerators are built on top of field-programmable gate array chips.

Recently, regular expression hardware acceleration has been gaining popularity in the server industry, owing to very noticeable speed ups in spam control.

Other articles related to "hardware, hardware acceleration":

HTC Ty TN II - Video Driver Issues
... The hardware platform (Qualcomm 7200 chipset) suggested that the device was capable of high graphical performance, however the device was consistently outperformed by older HTC devices ... No hardware acceleration was taking place, and the drivers required to take advantage of the ATI Imageon hardware appeared to be missing ... were dissatisfied by the apparent omission of a video driver that would allow hardware acceleration of graphics, particularly since the device included rendering hardware which was ...
Adobe Flash - User Experience - Performance - Complications To Video Acceleration
... multimedia player would leave for hardware to do at a later stage ... This intermediate step splits the hardware acceleration pipeline in two ... Depending on the hardware acceleration APIs exposed by the operating system, doing either part separately in hardware may be unsupported or complicated ...
Firefox 4 - Features - Performance
... Since Firefox 4.0 Beta 5, hardware acceleration of content is enabled by default on Windows Vista and Windows 7 machines using Direct2D, on OS X using Quartz (basically CPU-o ... Hardware acceleration of compositing is enabled by default on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 machines using Direct3D, OS X and Linux using OpenGL ... Using hardware acceleration allows the browser to tap into the computer's graphics processing unit, lifting the burden from the CPU and speeding up the display of web pages ...
PhysX - Hardware Acceleration - GPU
... and newer of the ForceWare drivers disable PhysX hardware acceleration if a GPU from a different manufacturer, such as AMD, is present in the system ... bomb in driver versions 196 and 197 that slowed down hardware accelerated PhysX and reversed the gravity, but an updated version of the patch removed all unwanted effects ...

Famous quotes containing the word hardware:

    A friend of mine spoke of books that are dedicated like this: “To my wife, by whose helpful criticism ...” and so on. He said the dedication should really read: “To my wife. If it had not been for her continual criticism and persistent nagging doubt as to my ability, this book would have appeared in Harper’s instead of The Hardware Age.”
    Brenda Ueland (1891–1985)