back to article Nvidia forges ARM chip for PCs and servers

The ARM race for the data center just got a whole lot more interesting. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nvidia announced that it is indeed working on a CPU and that the chip is based on the ARM RISC architecture that's wickedly popular in smartphones and tablets. In other words, it's not a low-powered x64 chip. …


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  1. amehaye

    Intel, in response:

    We, eh, bought McAffee! Yeah!

    Suck on this, world.

  2. Rob Kendrick


    x86? What's that? Other than something Microsoft came up with to not upset Intel when talking about AMD64?

  3. Anomalous Cowturd

    Go ARM...

    My ARM powered server uses 5W and dishes out SFTP, SSH, HTTP and BT. And only cost me 53 of those English Pounds.

    I'm seriously thinking about a long term investment in ARM Holdings.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      long term investment

      i bought into ARM in 2000. unfortunately the stock market bubble burst soon after.

      however the recent share price increases mean that they are now almost worth what i originally paid for them! 0% growth over 11 years isn't great though...

  4. Neal 5

    @ Anomalous Cowturd

    Yep, but all us English know you're pulling our legs.

    Nothing costs to the pound exactly, you always get at least a penny change, perhaps 52.99 might be more accurate.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd

      You got me there...

      It was £53.06, new in a box, off Fleabay.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    The destruction of a mighty empire

    "In the funny way that the world works, Intel, which owns the processor market for PCs and servers, was probably of two minds about the rumors of graphics chip maker Nvidia creating an X64 clone and taking on the chip giant in the CPU space."

    I thought the rumour was that Intel used its x86-related patents to lock nVidia out of the market? Certainly I don't think that nVidia would decide to cold-shoulder x86 altogether and instead take the big risk of trying to sell a rival arch to Windows users if it could instead take the easy option and license the x86 patents on acceptable terms. And now it's watching its business of selling GPUs for Intel and AMD PCs dry up even more as Intel pushes Sandy Bridge graphics. So Intel brought this on itself, something it may, or may not, come to regret. Either way it's going to be pretty dramatic - unless Intel relents and lets nVidia into the x86 tent, then either nVidia or the Wintel hegemony is about to have a great fall.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Include Apple in the fray

    Include Apple as well. With their PA semiconductor purchase and their acquiring Intrinsity which wrote optimized code for ARM processors, look to Apple to expand their range of computing products with Apple designed ARM chips in more than just iPods and iPads. Possibly laptops or a new type of laptop.

    ARM truly looks ascendent.

  7. jtv

    Sorry, "x64" isalready taken

    Could you kindly stop referring to x86-64 as x64? It's confusing as hell. Originally x86 was short for the 80x86 series of processors. And x64 would be the abbreviation for Digital/Compaq/HP's 21x64 series of processors—i.e. the Alpha architecture.

    It may have been murdered but it hasn't been forgotten.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Rockin' with ARM

    It's taken them 25 years, but they finally have US Big Silicon on the run. Good show, chaps!

  9. Bob H


    Obviously they would do their own thing, but it would seem to me to make sense to build a PCI-Express card like Fermi but which wasn't dependent on a host processor because it had its own cores. Then you could have a backplane-based computer like some industrial PCs have had for decades. You could then build a commodity HPC cluster which scaled along the PCI-bus without special hardware. For more than the PCI-E bus could handle you just attach the interconnect of your choice to the PCI-E bus and link multiple backplanes into one giant commodity HPC.

    Then start playing Crisis on your 10 CPU-GPU hybrid system.

    1. LaeMing
      Thumb Up

      Staggered Upgrades

      Or you can start with a mostly-empty backplane and whenever you need more oomph, ADD another board, still keeping your existing ones(s), untll all slots are filled, by which the slowest board would be starting to sucum to silicon degredation, freeing up a slot for the next upgrade.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    video and arm are good

    for all your doom and gloom for intel you didnt even really cover AMD there did you :D

    AMD are finished if the new sandybridge video encode/decode takes off on a big way as we expect it to FINALLY, ARM cortex with their NEON 128bit SIMD are all set if they can finally come to agreement on an open 3d API and codebase that suits linux, Nvidia you covered OC.

    BUT what does AMD have...

    NOTHING, No consistent working UVD hardware decode in Linux , No ASIC Encode device work, No ARM gfx coverage to speak of, and No Money to Buy in to the ARM Holding world markets chip vendors since they sold off their Chip plan etc, the mid term future for AMD looks bleak.

    were as Intel at least can buy back in to any of these Arm ventures if and when they like with their existing cash flow.

    its also interesting that you didn't see fit to actually mention Freescale actually introducing what people want to actually buy This Year.

    that being an ARM QUAD core cortex A9/NEON 128bit SIMD powered mobile device with many hours of battery use AT FULL LOAD

    they are set to be just as high profile with these quad core cortex A9/NEON 128bit SIMD SOC as Nvidia if they and their eastern commercial white box customers bring quad core ARM product to the world's end users within the year as expected

    1. Anonymous Coward

      try using

      punctuation if you want people to read your rants

  11. Elmer Phud


    Amusing to think that not so long ago it was CPU's with a bit of fairly rubbish GPU added and world + dog encouraged to go for devices with separate CPU/GPU for performance, now it's GPU's with added CPU and not passe to have combined lumps.

    I'm feeling old.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Who's building ARM with HyperTransport?

    @Bob H: The snag with passive backplane stuff (as indeed used in industrial/telecoms boxes for years) is it costs more, which isn't usually welcome in consumer stuff unless it brings a saleable benefit. Reliability and availability are not usually saleable benefits in the consumer market (Windows doesn't have them, does it :)).

    On the other hand, if someone were to build an ARM SoC with a built in interface to (say) Hypertransport, and someone (maybe the same someone, maybe not) were to build the necessary high speed PC-style IO etc based around Hypertransport as interconnect... would anyone be interested in that, would it be cost competitive, would it have saleable benefits?

  13. DRendar
    Thumb Up


    Tiny little low powered XBMC machines with VDPAU support!


  14. Anonymous Coward

    "We, eh, bought McAffee! Yeah!"

    Quite. And before that they rather more understandably bought Wind River for VxWorks (not sure about the long term future of ARM support there) and Virtutech for their SIMICS chip/system simulation stuff (not sure about the long term future of ARM support there)... hmmm.

    Anyway, they'll be OK. They've always had so many successes of their own outside the core Wintel market.






    x86 office-desktop graphics



    selling off StrongARM

    Anticipating the arrival of high performance system buses like Hypertransport

    Setting the standard for honesty and transparency in accounting (Dell kickbacks)

    etc (additions welcome)

    Whaddya mean they've not had a single success outside their core (sic, not SoC) Wintel market within living memory? They got Palmer to kill Alpha didn't they (and despite that, IA64 is still dead in the water).


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