Nvidia's known to all of us as a graphics specialist, but there's been constant talk that it wants to get into the CPU business. For a while there were rumors of the company looking into making an x86-compatible processor, but at CES today Nvidia announced that it will be entering the processor market through a different standard – ARM.
Nvidia plans to build high-performance ARM-based CPU cores, known internally under codename "Project Denver". While thus far the ARM technology has been confined to smartphone and tablets, Project Denver is designed for heftier applications for PC, servers, workstations, and supercomputers.
"ARM is the fastest-growing CPU architecture in history," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer of NVIDIA. "This marks the beginning of the Internet Everywhere era, where every device provides instant access to the Internet, using advanced CPU cores and rich operating systems.
"ARM's pervasiveness and open business model make it the perfect architecture for this new era. With Project Denver, we are designing a high-performing ARM CPU core in combination with our massively parallel GPU cores to create a new class of processor," he said.
Nvidia will create a CPU running the ARM instruction set and integrate it with a GPU. This will put Nvidia in direct competition with AMD's Fusion CPU/GPU combos and potentially even against Intel with its integrated graphics in its new Core and upcoming Atom processors.