ASIC stands for “application-specific integrated circuit.” In other words, an ASIC is a device that’s designed for a specific purpose or use. By focusing on a single application, ASICs are often better than other devices that are designed around a broader set of applications.
With that in mind, an ASIC can actually be any electronic device with a specific application, not just a cryptocurrency-mining device. Still, dedicated devices used for mining cryptocurrency are generally known as ASICs.
ASIC-mining devices are generally rectangular devices with barely any styling. Inside the utilitarian metal chassis are components that are much more efficient than traditional graphics cards at solving the math problems to verify crypto transactions because they’re purely designed to mine cryptocurrencies. Traditional graphics cards have a much broader job description than ASIC devices, like rendering the graphics for visually intensive jobs like video games and video editing, and so they’re not as efficient at mining cryptocurrencies as mining ASICs.
You can think of it like the difference between soccer cleats and regular sneakers. Sneakers are extremely versatile – you can wear them pretty much anywhere and even play soccer with them. Soccer cleats, on the other hand, wouldn’t be comfortable for taking a walk. They’re specifically designed to offer traction and control on the slick grass of a soccer field, and they’ll offer much better performance for playing soccer, if that’s your intention.