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What is a CPU Accelerator?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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A central processing unit (CPU) accelerator is a software program that increases the speed at which programs run by altering the way in which memory and processing power is allocated for running programs. This is often done to speed up a computer or increase performance when running applications such as graphics or video editors and computer games. While someone could also overclock his or her CPU, rather than use a CPU accelerator, this is typically somewhat more difficult and can potentially lead to hardware damage. A CPU accelerator can be one of a number of different programs and they can be free to download and use or more expensive programs that must be purchased or licensed.

The CPU inside of a computer is responsible for managing the speed at which programs run and for how applications utilize memory. This means the CPU is one of the most important pieces of hardware within a computer and a fast CPU can make a computer far more effective than a computer with a slower CPU. A CPU accelerator is often used to try to compensate for a slower CPU or to further increase the performance of a fast CPU.

This increase in performance can be accomplished in a few different ways, though the most common tends to be a reallocation of resources and processing power for running different programs. A CPU accelerator will usually allow a computer user to establish a program that should receive preference in regard to CPU usage while running. This can be a specific program determined by the user, or the CPU accelerator can simply give priority to whatever program is running in the “foreground” on the computer. The program that receives more CPU usage can then typically run faster or more effectively.

By using a CPU accelerator program, someone can receive greater computer performance without having to replace or modify hardware. One common alternative to this type of program is CPU overclocking which involves changing the speed at which a CPU typically runs. This can be a fairly complicated process for many computer users, and can potentially lead to overheating and other hardware complications. Additional cooling may be required for an overclocked CPU, and the CPU may have a shorter lifespan after being overclocked.

A CPU accelerator will not produce results identical to overclocking, since the accelerator will usually only boost performance on one application at a time. This type of program is often easier to use than overclocking a CPU, however, and will not usually create the same amount of wear on the CPU. There are a number of different accelerator programs out there, and many of them can be found and used free of charge. More powerful accelerators can be purchased, though these are less common since someone could just easily spend the money on a new, faster CPU.

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