Flexibility or performance?
That choice is a constant trade-off for microprocessor designers. General-purpose processors in personal computers execute a broad set of software commands that can cope with any task from graphics to complex calculations. But their flexibility comes at the expense of speed. In contrast, application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), optimized for a given task, such as the computing required in graphics or sound cards, are very fast but lack adaptability.
This article was originally published with the title Morphware.