Nvidia's ''Project Denver'' is to Make a PC CPU

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.

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  • Silmarunya

    It looks like 2011 will truly be the year of ARM's rise as the third man in computing. Windows comes to ARM, Nvidia is making a higher end ARM based CPU, Android and other ARM based mobile OS'es keep growing,...

    Frankly, that's a great thing. ARM designs are inherently more efficient, both in their usage of power and of computing resources. This could pave the way for notebooks with far longer battery life and for highly efficient super computers and servers. And if this 'project Denver' turns out to be more than vaporware, we could see ARM taking on the desktop market as well.

    Three cheers for more competition!

    Okay, maybe I'm overly optimistic. While Windows will be ARM supportive soon, the countless software written for it won't. And adding a compability layer will sharply reduce ARM's efficiency benefit.
    Perhaps along with ARM, Linux will rise again, as it already has decent ARM support.
  • swamprat
    Silmarunya... we could see ARM taking on the desktop market as well...

    Taking on the desktop market *again* having been pushed out back in the 90s (or end of the 80s? I can't remember when they gave up on the RISC-PC).
    Hmm, didn't Apple stick with RISC chips for quite a while?
    I'd guess that there at least used to be some benefit of x86 other than the widespread use of Windows, maybe with parallelisation (if that's a word) things might have shifted a bit.
    Hybrids could be interesting, but that might just be the same as using the GPU computing thing, depending how they work. Basically I just don't know stuff...
  • ik242
    competition is welcome