There have been regular rumours of the development of an NVIDIA CPU for some time now. Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA CEO, has used CES to make these rumours official and mark what could be a very important development for the company.
This CPU, known under the name ‘Project Denver’, has been under development for several years now and is based on ARM rather than x86 architecture as some people had been thinking. NVIDIA says this choice is down to the explosion of the ARM ecosystem, which is giving increasing importance to the architecture, especially as Microsoft has just revealed that Windows 8 will be ARM compatible!
There is however a problem with ARM architecture that prevents it from being used more generally: it mainly targets mobile peripherals for which battery life is of course more important than performance. This is where NVIDIA comes in. With project Denver, NVIDIA has announced the development of a cutomised ARM core which targets high performance, without however mentioning any of its architectural specifics.
If these ambitions become a reality, they could open a whole new world up to ARM architecture: NVIDIA is talking smartphones and PCs, servers and consoles! Might x86 be under threat? It’s difficult to say yet, especially as no precise dates are in place and the fabrication process will be a crucial factor in this new war declared by NVIDIA.