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CPU Vs APU: What’s The Difference? The Ultimate Guide 2023

When it comes to computing, choosing the right processor is crucial. CPUs and APUs are the two most popular types of processors on the market.

They both offer great performance, but there are some key differences between them that can determine which one is right for you.

CPUs handle most of the computational tasks in a computer, while APUs combine CPU and GPU functionalities in a single chip. 

This article will explore the differences between CPUs and APUs and help you decide which one is better for your computing needs.

What is a CPU and an APU?

A CPU (Central Processing Unit) and an APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) are both types of processors used in computers and other digital devices.

What is CPU?

A CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is a traditional processor that performs most of the computational tasks in a computer. 

It handles instructions from software and applications and performs arithmetic and logic operations. CPUs come in a variety of models and can have different numbers of cores and clock speeds, which affect their performance.

In modern computers, the CPU is an integrated circuit that contains millions of transistors that are used to execute instructions.


  • Intel Core i9
  • Intel Core i7
  • Intel Core i5
  • Intel Core i3
  • Intel Pentium Gold
  • Intel Celeron


  • AMD Ryzen 9
  • AMD Ryzen 7
  • AMD Ryzen 5
  • AMD Ryzen 3
  • AMD Athlon
  • AMD A-Series

What is APU?

APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) is a type of processor developed by AMD (Advanced Micro Devices). 

It combines the traditional CPU and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) into one processor, allowing for faster and more efficient computing. 

This makes it ideal for use in gaming systems, laptops, and other devices that require high performance. 

APUs also offer improved energy efficiency over traditional CPUs, making them a great choice for those who need to conserve power.


  • AMD Ryzen 5 3400G
  • AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
  • AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
  • AMD Ryzen 3 2200G


  • Intel Core i5-1035G4
  • Intel Core i7-1065G7
  • Intel Core i5-1135G7
  • Intel Core i7-1165G7

Advantages and disadvantages of CPUs

Advantages of CPUs:

  • High processing power: CPUs are designed to perform complex calculations and handle multiple tasks simultaneously, making them suitable for a wide range of computing needs. 
  • Reliable: CPUs are known for their stability and reliability, providing consistent performance over time.
  • Scalability: CPUs easily upgrade or replace for improved computer performance. This is vital for businesses requiring high-performance computing.
  • Compatibility: CPUs are widely compatible with different applications, software, and operating systems. Additionally, they run older software and applications without issues. 
  • Control: CPUs allow for precise control over a computer system’s resources, enabling users to optimize performance and power consumption.

Disadvantages of CPUs:

  • Cost: High-end CPUs can be expensive, making them inaccessible for some users or organizations.
  • Limited memory capacity: CPUs have limited memory capacity, which can become a bottleneck for tasks that require large amounts of data to be processed.
  • Power consumption: CPUs can consume a significant amount of power, leading to higher energy bills and environmental impact.
  • Cooling requirements: High-end CPUs generate a lot of heat and require specialized cooling solutions to prevent damage to the processor and other components.
  • Limited graphics processing: CPUs are not optimized for graphics processing, which can limit their performance in gaming and other graphics-intensive applications.

Advantages and disadvantages of APUs

Advantages of APUs:

  • Improved performance for graphics-intensive tasks.
  • More efficient use of power due to the CPU and GPU sharing resources.
  • Reduced power consumption and heat dissipation.
  • Can be more cost effective than purchasing separate CPU and GPU components.
  • Can provide better performance in gaming and multimedia tasks compared to traditional CPUs.
  • Can support multiple display outputs.

Disadvantages of APUs: 

  • Limited compatibility with some software and hardware.
  • Higher cost compared to traditional CPUs.
  • Limited upgradeability since the CPU and GPU are integrated on a single chip.
  • May not be suitable for high-end gaming and professional graphics applications that require dedicated GPUs.
  • May not be able to handle extremely heavy workloads as efficiently as dedicated CPUs or GPUs.

Differences between CPUs and APUs

CPUs and APUs have distinct differences in terms of their functionality and capabilities. 

While both are capable of handling basic computing tasks, there are some key differences that set them apart.

A CPU, or central processing unit, is a high-performance processor designed to perform general-purpose processing tasks. 

It serves as the brain of a computer system, executing instructions and making decisions based on the data provided to it. It consists of a single processor core or multiple cores that are optimized for fast processing of tasks that require complex calculations and decision-making. 

CPUs do not have a built-in graphics processing unit (GPU), so a separate graphics card is required for graphics-intensive tasks. 

An APU, on the other hand, is a combination of a CPU and a GPU on a single chip. APUs are designed to provide better graphics performance while consuming less power.

They have a built-in GPU that can handle graphics-intensive tasks such as gaming, video editing, and 3D rendering.

Which is better for gaming? CPU or APU

When it comes to gaming, there are a few key factors to consider when choosing between a CPU and an APU. 

CPUs are typically more powerful and offer higher processing speeds, making them better suited for tasks that require a lot of computational power, such as gaming. 

However, CPUs tend to be more expensive than APUs, which can be a limiting factor for gamers on a budget.

On the other hand, APUs offer better graphics performance due to their integrated GPU, which can make a significant difference in gaming. 

This is because modern games are becoming more and more graphics-intensive, and having a dedicated graphics card can be essential for a smooth gaming experience. Additionally, 

APUs are generally more affordable than CPUs, which can be a major advantage for gamers who are looking to build a gaming PC without breaking the bank.

Ultimately, the decision between a CPU and an APU for gaming comes down to personal preference and budget. 

If you have the money to invest in a high-end CPU and a dedicated graphics card, this will likely provide the best gaming experience possible. 

However, if you’re on a tight budget or are looking for a more affordable option, an APU can still provide a great gaming experience and maybe a better choice for your needs.


In conclusion, choosing between a CPU and an APU depends on your specific needs and budget. If you require a more powerful processor for demanding applications such as video editing, a CPU may be the better choice. 

On the other hand, if you need better graphics performance at a lower cost, an APU may be more suitable. For gaming, both CPUs and APUs can provide an enjoyable experience if you choose the right one for your needs. 

Ultimately, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option and weigh them against your specific requirements

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