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NVIDIA Project Denver will integrate ARM core into GPU

Posted on Wednesday, January 05 2011 @ 23:44:27 CET by

Intel and AMD integrated graphics into their processors but NVIDIA will do it the other way around and integrate a processor into its GPUs. It has long been rumored that NVIDIA was plotting to enter the processor market with some sort of x86 compatibility, many wondered how the firm would do this but with NVIDIA's announcement of Project Denver and Microsoft's confirmation that the next version of Windows will be compatible with ARM the plan is becoming a bit clearer.

Project Denver is the codename of NVIDIA's CPU, which is basically a custom ARM Cortex-A15 processor that will be fully integrated on the same chip as NVIDIA's future GeForce and Tesla GPUs. I wonder how far NVIDIA will be able to take this but it definitely sounds like great news for market segments that require high energy efficiency.
NVIDIA announced today that it plans to build high-performance ARM® based CPU cores, designed to support future products ranging from personal computers and servers to workstations and supercomputers.

Known under the internal codename "Project Denver," this initiative features an NVIDIA® CPU running the ARM instruction set, which will be fully integrated on the same chip as the NVIDIA GPU.

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.

"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.

Warren East, ARM chief executive officer said, "NVIDIA is a key partner for ARM and this announcement shows the potential that partnership enables. With this architecture license, NVIDIA will be at the forefront of next generation SoC design, enabling the Internet Everywhere era to become a reality."
NVIDIA Chief Scientist Bill Dally touts an ARM processor coupled with an NVIDIA GPU as the computing platform of the future. In a blog post he explains the ARM chip will run the serial parts of applications and provide compatibility while the GPU will take care of the parallel portions of programs.
An ARM processor coupled with an NVIDIA GPU represents the computing platform of the future. A high-performance CPU with a standard instruction set will run the serial parts of applications and provide compatibility while a highly-parallel, highly-efficient GPU will run the parallel portions of programs.

The result is that future systems – from the thinnest laptops to the biggest data centers, and everything in between — will deliver an outstanding combination of performance and power efficiency. Their processors will provide the best of both worlds, while enabling increased battery life for mobile solutions. We’re really excited to help engineer smarter brains for the next major era in computing.



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