Project Denver: Windows 8 on Nvidia CPUs, Intel in the Crosshairs


In the course of just a few hours, the seeds have been planted for a major upheaval in personal computing.  Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s announcement that Windows 8 will support ARM processors, graphics chip maker Nvidia has revealed that it is developing a full lineup of ARM processors.  “Project Denver” will include CPUs for desktops, laptops, servers, and supercomputers and is an all-out assault on Intel’s PC market dominance.

In the past, Nvidia has licensed ARM cores for its Tegra and Tegra 2 smartphone/tablet chipsets (see here for more info), but with this announcement, Nvidia aims to turn itself into a full-fledged System-on-a-Chip (SoC) architecture designer– a major upgrade.  The firm will integrate graphics chipsets into its CPUs, as Intel and AMD have done recently.  The single most important factor that makes Project Denver significant, however, is Microsoft’s announcement: no longer being limited to just x86 chips (which Nvidia could never get a license from Intel to produce), Windows 8 PCs will be able to run on Nvidia’s processors without issue.

Read on for more about Nvidia’s new CPU project.

In a post on Nvidia’s official blog earlier today, the company’s chief scientist, Bill Dally, wrote: “Microsoft’s announcement that it is bringing Windows to ultra-low power processors like ARM-based CPUs provides the final ingredient needed to enable ARM-based PCs based on Denver.  Along with software stacks based on Android, Symbian, and iOS, Windows for ultra-low power processors demonstrates the huge momentum…that will ultimately propel the ARM architecture to dominance.”

Nvidia and Microsoft’s moves may signal the beginning of the end of the “Wintel” era, and Intel is all but sure to see its market share significantly eroded in the years to come.  Intel, however, is never one to count out of a race, and it fully understands that ARM is its next big competitor.

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