A "full custom processor," designed by NVIDIA in partnership with ARM. World's first ARM processor targeted at high performance computing. NVIDIA really sprung this Project Denver as a major surprise at the end of its CES press conference here. This chip is "in development" and seems intent to conquer the desktop and laptop scene that is currently wholly owned by the x86 duo of AMD and Intel. It's true folks, NVIDIA's building a CPU! Madness!

It's hard to properly express the gravity of a move like. ARM processors, as Jen-Hsun Huang just pointed out, are becoming the most ubiquitous around the world because of their great success on the mobile front. Taking them into the fortress of high performance computing is a daring decision, but if anyone has the requisite technical knowhow and OEM relationships to hit that ball out of the park, it's NVIDIA. For its part, Jen-Hsun's company is taking its antagonism with Intel to the next logical stage, finally announcing that it'll leap out of the GPU market and into the shark waters of CPU manufacturing. And oh yes, Microsoft just announced ARM compatibility for the next version of Windows. The future just got a lot more exciting.

Update: The press release (available after the break) informs us that Project Denver will integrate graphics processing with straight computational skills in a fully integrated CPU / GPU hybrid package -- much like AMD's Fusion hardware -- and we've got a highly informative blog post from NVIDIA's Chief Scientist Bill Dally for you at the link below.
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NVIDIA Announces "Project Denver" to Build Custom CPU Cores Based on ARM Architecture, Targeting Personal Computers to Supercomputers

NVIDIA Licenses ARM Architecture to Build Next-Generation Processors That Add a CPU to the GPU

LAS VEGAS, NV -- (Marketwire) -- 01/05/2011 -- CES 2011 -- 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."

About NVIDIA
NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) awakened the world to the power of computer graphics when it invented the GPU in 1999. Since then, it has consistently set new standards in visual computing with breathtaking, interactive graphics available on devices ranging from tablets and portable media players to notebooks and workstations. NVIDIA's expertise in programmable GPUs has led to breakthroughs in parallel processing which make supercomputing inexpensive and widely accessible. The Company holds more than 1,600 patents worldwide, including ones covering designs and insights that are essential to modern computing. For more information, see www.nvidia.com.

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NVIDIA announces Project Denver ARM CPU for the desktop