Acceleration hardware refers to devices that speed up data communications, storage and retrieval, encryption and decryption, mathematical operations, graphics, and Web page viewing. Acceleration hardware can consist of an individual integrated circuit (also called an IC or chip), a printed circuit card, or a self-contained system.
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A NAS accelerator is a printed circuit card that offloads TCP/IP processing from a microprocessor. This can reduce latency, increase throughput, and reduce overhead costs in a storage area network (SAN). A server accelerator card, also known as an SSL card, is a PCI card that generates encryption keys for secure transactions on e-commerce Web sites. A graphics accelerator is a computer component to which a program can offload the sending and refreshing of images to a display, optimizing special effects. An acceleration server is a bridge between a dialup connection and a Web page that facilitates high-speed dialup, also known as broadband dialup. A floating-point accelerator (FPA) is a coprocessor in a computer that performs arithmetic and mathematical functions, rounding, and error detection, reducing the burden that these processes would otherwise place on the main microprocessor.