I think I will buy Fear: Perseus Mandate to celebrate my contribution
to making the world a better place

"But it is not just hardcore gamers who have recognised the worth of a PC graphics card.

Increasing numbers of research scientists have woken up to their potential too.

But the scientists in question are not using the cards to appreciate the detail in PC games such as The Witcher. Instead they are using them as cheap sources of supercomputer-class processing power.

"They give a phenomenal bang for the buck," said Mike Giles, professor of scientific computing at the University of Oxford.

Prof Giles said the way that graphics cards were built made them very good at the repetitive computational tasks many scientists use to test theories, models and predictions...

Prof Giles, who is using graphics processors to do financial modelling, said the chips were very good at doing the same thing many different times.

By contrast the Intel or AMD chips inside a typical desktop machine were good at doing many different things at the same time.

Graphics cards had far more processing cores - which execute program instructions - than Intel or AMD chips, said Prof Giles, adding that each one of the cores could do one run of the same simple task.

The financial models that Prof Giles is running test the same algorithm on each core but each one gets different random numbers as input.

With the latest graphics processors having more than 100 processing cores that can add up to a lot of number crunching.