Its a CPU ... its a GPU ... NO its a PPU
Seldom do I make a post of technical stuff but for ocassional exceptions and here is one (coz am in no frame of mind to write a post right away) after more than 6 months in waiting.
The CPU has been all pervasive through history, even a pea-nut brains is aware of one these days. Gone are the days when CPU were the most expensive part of a computer (coz they were considered so brainy).
With games spurting all around it was the sound blaster revolution. Playing Prince of Persia or Alladin was one thing, but with an SB Compatible sound card was another. Unfortunately the APU concept did not last long as thought (most people only know that term as the APU introduced in the movie trilogy - The Matrix). The processing reequired for them was quite limited. It converged into support for the conventional Dolby, Surround Sound, THX and evolved in the PC world as EAX.
And then a spur of application specific cards have come out. But none has become as ubiquitous as GPU's are today. I remember days when I was in college people used to boast of a 32 MB AGP card capable of 24 million colours ... oh oh True Color *jaw dropping*. The 1st among my circle was an nVidia RIVA TNT2 when all I owned was an S3 Savage4 Chipset. Today I am fortunate to own a GeForceFX processing unit which b.t.w. turned out more expensive than my main processor. Since then it has moved to a long long ago so long ago fancy of multiple GPU's from Voodoo raising yet again in tha name of SLI Technology. There is no stopping this for there is a long way to go before graphics can be called visually satiating.
Part of the problem is with the incapability of simulation of real world physics - hair, cloth, skin, water, fire, explosions, deformations you name it. So we'v got a new kid on the block to plug the leak - Physics Processing Unit. And this baby costs as much as a hi-end GPU. Get a gist about this bad boy here. And looks like the next-gen consoles are already 'Equipped'. Get rolling tiger ...