Late yesterday, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang got on the phone to talk to stockholders and journalists about the company’s latest quarterly results. During the Q&A session, Huang revealed that Project Denver, the company’s upcoming desktop processor, will be a custom chip based on the 64-bit ARMv8 architecture—and work on it is "going great." Here’s the transcript, courtesy of Seeking Alpha:
Well, Project Denver is a 64-bit processor. And it’s a full-custom v8 64-bit processor with some exciting secret sauce. And we haven’t revealed much about it. There are no 64 bits processors shipping today, as you know. And v8 was just announced. The next 64-bit was just announced. And so, I guess, the only thing I could tell you is Denver is going great.
ARM announced its own ARMv8-based cores, the Cortex-A50 series, late last month, and it expects the first chips based on them to be out in 2014. Licensees include AMD, which plans to use them for upcoming Opteron server chips, and Samsung, which could very well have ARMv8-based server silicon in the pipeline, too.
We’ve known about Project Denver since Nvidia announced it at CES 2011, but the company has kept surprisingly quiet about it. In an interview with VentureBeat in March 2011, however, Nvidia’s Huang said the chip was about three-and-a-half years through its five-year design cycle. If everything is going according to schedule, then Project Denver might now be complete—and perhaps we could see it released before Cortex-A50-based offerings.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is working with ARM to add support for the ARMv8 architecture to Windows. The existing ARM-compatible version of Windows, Windows RT, supports only current 32-bit ARM processors. There’s no indication of exactly when 64-bit support will be implemented, though. Given Project Denver’s desktop aspirations, Windows support seems like it’s going to be paramount. (Thanks to X-bit labs for the heads up.)