CES 2011: NVIDIA Enters the CPU Space

January 6, 2011

By John Gaudiosi

LAS VEGAS – With all of the attention at CES 2011 focusing on 3D technology, including NVIDIA 3D Vision, and portable “super phones”; Jen-Hsun Huang, President, CEO, and co-founder of NVIDIA announced a new direction for the company that will offer a new alternative for gamers looking to build the ultimate PC gaming rig. “Project Denver” is the name of a new processor that is being designed by some of the best engineers in the world through a joint venture between NVIDIA and ARM.

Today, PC gamers have a choice between Intel and AMD in the CPU space. In the near future, NVIDIA will be bringing its expertise and ARM technology to the PC. The CPU will be integrated with NVIDIA's GPU graphics chip.

“This is one of the most strategic and important announcements we’ve made,” said Huang. “Project Denver is an NVIDIA-designed high performance ARM core processor developed by industry experts from all over the industry. It’s targeted at high performance computers and will help expand the reach of this architecture. We think this is a game changer.”

This new processor stems from a strategic partnership, also announced today, in which NVIDIA has obtained rights to develop its own high performance CPU cores based on ARM's future processor architecture. In addition, NVIDIA licensed ARM's current Cortex-A15 processor for its future-generation Tegra mobile processors.

"NVIDIA is a key partner for ARM and this announcement shows the potential that partnership enables,” said Warren East, ARM chief executive officer. “With this architecture license, NVIDIA will be at the forefront of next generation SoC design, enabling the Internet Everywhere era to become a reality."

With all the momentum around ARM, the company wanted to leverage that technology to servers, PCs, workstations, super computers and cloud computing. Project Denver will use the same tools and software development environment. With Microsoft announcing support of ARM during Steve Balmer’s keynote address and Apple and Google already on board, NVIDIA is bringing the ARM process beyond mobile.

“The openness of ARM, the energy around this architecture is enormous,” said Huang. “If you’re a software developer and you’re not working on ARM, you have your head in the sand. Installed base matters. The ARM processor is the world’s most important iOS.”

NVIDIA’s Project Denver is expected to push the envelope of computing power by extending the performance range of the ARM architecture. By combining ARM with the NVIDIA GPU, PC gamers, as well as many other sectors, will benefit from increased performance and energy efficiency. Moving forward, this technology will be integrated into future TEGRA devices, making everything from car navigation centers to tablets more powerful for gaming, entertainment and 3D applications.