What is hardware acceleration?

Julia Chmykhalo
Julia Chmykhalo
February 26, 2013
What is hardware acceleration?

Computer technologies are developing very rapidly, some 15 years ago nobody knew what hardware acceleration of a computer is. In those days, all operations were performed using a single chip. Whether it is image processing or text editing, everything was done by the central processor. Even simple games, and they played only one.

But with the development of computers, the tasks performed by them became more complicated, and the resources of one universal chip began to be missed. It was decided to use separate hardware units for processing certain types of information. For example, with the help of a graphics processor, video and image processing should be performed, and a coprocessor for robots with floating-point numbers greatly improved the accuracy and speed of mathematical calculations.

What is hardware acceleration

In more scientific terms, the term “hardware acceleration” in the field of computerization implies the use of hardware forperform highly specialized functions faster than using a general purpose CPU. Depending on the degree of scaling of the performed functions of hardware acceleration, the devices themselves can be either small functional units or huge functional units. An example is a hardware video processing accelerator in MPEG2 format, which serves as a separate functional unit in the video accelerator block.

But, despite the fact that accelerators are implemented at the hardware level, for their correct operation, they require the support of special drivers from the operating system. In Windows, hardware acceleration is supported through the use of a special layer of universal drivers, as well as proprietary drivers created by manufacturers of PC hardware. Most of the visual effects of the interface, implemented in the latest version of Windows, require hardware support for video acceleration, and if you get a message that hardware acceleration is not supported, after installing a clean OS, it means that you need to install video card drivers.

Hardware acceleration of the video adapter is also used in all video games. It provides the ability to simultaneously process huge streams of information, increasing computer performance in rendering graphics, and thereby reducing the load on the central processor.