What Real Impact Does Utilizing The Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) Make?

For the manufacturer's and developer engineers, how do you measure or anticipate the amount of benefit the GPU makes? Why is using the GPU such a benefit? If I have a 2Ghz CPU and a 500Mhz GPU, should one expect a 25% jump in processing efficiency? Is it essentially like just adding another core? Or is it typically only used for specific functions? Inquiring minds want to know.

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