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An accelerator board is an expansion board that provides an interface designed to increase processing power. It is a device that accelerates transmission or processing beyond the CPU's capabilities.
The accelerator board transmits faster floating-point units (FPUs) by assisting in math calculations or by increasing speed. Most accelerator boards use graphics processing units (GPUs) for 3-D images or faster graphic displays.
Without an expansion board, the CPU relies on software to implement certain tasks such as transferring images. The CPU processes an image sequentially, which can drastically slow down operations.
The most widespread use of an accelerator board is for graphic processing. Although a motherboard usually has a graphic chipset, it is normally inadequate for performing substantial graphic tasks such as 3-D imaging for video games. When an accelerator board is used for graphics it is considered a dedicated GPU processing unit.
An accelerator board may also be known as an accelerator card.
An accelerator board was initially a peripheral device attached to a PC's motherboard, which used floating-point units to perform mathematical tasks. The FPU was typically mounted on the board. The accelerator board was also used as an additional CPU for designated tasks. It provided faster concurrent processing and simple upgrading. The accelerator board usually increased a PC's power needs, thus requiring a power supply unit upgrade.
Today, the accelerator board is commonly used as a graphic processing unit (GPU) that is integrated onto the motherboard as well as a separate processing unit for high-tech graphics. When a peripheral board is used, it completes graphics processing tasks in place of the CPU.