NVIDIA's CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang just announced Project Denver - its first CPU architecture design ever, based on ARM's ISA. This is a custom design done by NVIDIA in conjunction with ARM and targeted at the high performance computing (HPC) market.

This is a huge announcement from NVIDIA, but not entirely unexpected. Prior to Project Denver NVIDIA licensed ARM IP but developed its own IP everywhere else for use in Tegra. Going forward, NVIDIA is turning into a full fledged SoC architecture company. This is a huge step in NVIDIA becoming a major player in the SoC evolution going forward.

Update: NVIDIA provided some more details on the announcement. Project Denver is targeted at everything from PCs to HPC/servers. This is completely a high end play going after the x86 stronghold. Project Denver ties in completely with Microsoft's announcement to bring Windows 8 to ARM next year.

NVIDIA also announced that it will be licensing ARM's Cortex A15 core, presumably for use in lower end devices (e.g. smartphones). I wouldn't be surprised if NVIDIA eventually moves to its own architecture based on ARM across the board.

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  • Next9 - Thursday, January 6, 2011 - link

    This does not apply to Linux, where almost all ecosystem is multi-arch today. That is why Windows failed in ARM mobile market, and surely will fail in computer and server market.
  • stancilmor - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - link

    nVidia may never be able to compete with Intel for a processor, but Arm is about a shift in product completely. The idea behind Arm processors is lots of performance without requiring lots of power. If a Arm/Android device does everything people want and costs less and runs on batteries far longer, then watch out Intel and Microsoft. Microsoft is porting Windows 8 to Arm and Intel is doing everything they can to increase performance per watt. Eventually somebody will reach the theoretical limit of performing one calculation, but requiring no power.
  • GTaudiophile - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - link

    Glad I bought ARM stock two years ago...time to buy some more.
  • Kamen75 - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - link

    If Microsoft releases Win8 for Arm and x86 it's going to highlight how far behind in terms of processing power that Arm truly is.

    The far more exciting prospect is having a unified OS (Android) that would be interoperable between all platforms, I.E. from smartphone, to tablet, to netbook, to laptop, to desktop. Just build your software with different screen resolutions and input options (touch, keyboard, mouse, touchpad), in mind.
  • mckirkus - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - link

    Microsoft ported Windows to ARM because they saw Google pushing AndroidOS/Linux to more and more PC like devices (tablets anybody?). MS had to do this to compete. I think the good enough factor is at play here. At some point people will want battery life over compute power once most apps are good enough.

    I also think the emergence of SSDs is at play here. You can get away with a slower CPU if you're not waiting around for an HDD. MS is going to need to armwrestle (pay big bucks) to get Adobe, Intuit, etc. on board with this unless they can somehow emulate the X86 instruction set.
  • Loki726 - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - link

  • jtlightner - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - link

    Transmeta Crusoe
  • Olternaut - Thursday, January 6, 2011 - link

    Will I be able to run software written for windows 7 for the desktop on this new CPU? If they are truly going after the power user then I will need to be able to run my games on it.
    They're Nvidia after all.

    Will software have to be re-written to run on this CPU? Or are all these questions too early?
  • TOAOCyrus - Thursday, January 6, 2011 - link

    As long as all the API's used by the software are ported then a simple recompile should allow it to run on Windows for ARM.
  • T2k - Saturday, January 8, 2011 - link

    "a simple recompile should allow it to run on Windows for ARM."

    ROFLMAO, you obviously are not a programmer.

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