Monday, September 24th 2012

NVIDIA to Take on Xeon and Opteron with a "Boulder"

The enterprise CPU market is about to flare up soon, with the introduction of a third player in high-performance chips, next to Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron. X-bit Labs unearthed plans by NVIDIA to build on its Tegra success by designing high-performance server processors based on the ARM machine-architecture. The server market is far more varied in terms of machine-architectures, than PC, and the addition of an ARM-based high-performance chip is unlikely to fail. NVIDIA reportedly codenamed its development "Project Boulder."

Due in 2014, the CPU built under Project Boulder will be designed to, at least initially, replace traditional x86 Xeon/Opteron CPUs in Tesla Compute Accelerators, machines loaded with Tesla GPUs to process complex computational problems. The Boulder chip will be designed to handle serial processing loads, leaving parallel loads to the GPUs. A lot could ride on Boulder's success, as it could motivate NVIDIA to address other computing segments.

Source: X-bit Labs
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22 Comments on NVIDIA to Take on Xeon and Opteron with a "Boulder"

#1
Solaris17
Creator Solaris Utility DVD
idk if i want them to spread that far
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#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
CPUs could do with some competition. Breaking up another pseudo-bipoly.
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#3
Solaris17
Creator Solaris Utility DVD
by: btarunr
CPUs could do with some competition. Breaking up another pseudo-bipoly.
i see that but i would rather it come from someone like VIA instead of a graphics card manufacturer being too successful in more then one area. they are already a dominant force in the mobile world. Wish S3 wasnt dead. they could keep AMD and nvidia busy if they had the money. I dont mind google, I just dont want the hardware version of it.

soon ill be buying a fridge with an nvidia logo.
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#4
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
VIA has no resources to design a high-performance CPU. NVIDIA has over 3x the resources of AMD.
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#5
Covert_Death
by: Solaris17
i see that but i would rather it come from someone like VIA instead of a graphics card manufacturer being too successful in more then one area. they are already a dominant force in the mobile world. Wish S3 wasnt dead. they could keep AMD and nvidia busy if they had the money. I dont mind google, I just dont want the hardware version of it.

soon ill be buying a fridge with an nvidia logo.
i think your over-reacting a tad lol, yes they are branching out but they don't really have THAT much going on.

any competition is better than less competition as well... if this pushes AMD and Intel to be even more competitive i'm all for it, regardless of WHO is behind the move.

maybe one day they will branch into the high performance desktop CPU market, i'd probably never buy one unless they just came out with something amazing but again if it pushed AMD and intel to be more competitive and excel their products even more then i'm all game.
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#6
damric
This is good competition. AMD and everyone else need more pressure on Intel.
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#7
Solaris17
Creator Solaris Utility DVD
by: Covert_Death
i think your over-reacting a tad lol, yes they are branching out but they don't really have THAT much going on.

any competition is better than less competition as well... if this pushes AMD and Intel to be even more competitive i'm all for it, regardless of WHO is behind the move.

maybe one day they will branch into the high performance desktop CPU market, i'd probably never buy one unless they just came out with something amazing but again if it pushed AMD and intel to be more competitive and excel their products even more then i'm all game.
im not over reacting, just saying id rather see a new company challenge the norm then a company that already dominates several markets. that only stays competition for so long then it becomes monopoly.
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#8
SaltyFish
HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER!

Er, sort of. Nvidia is better equipped than VIA to cause a ruckus in the CPU duopoly. Remember when Nvidia was doing motherboard chipsets? Yeah...
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#9
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
VIA can release x86 CPUs and NVIDIA can't. Although VIA's x86 CPUs are slow comparing to Intel and AMD, they still compete.

I can only see NVIDIA competing in specialized environments. Intel and AMD will continue to dominent the generalized market where they need to handle any task given with as little fuss as possible. It really is no different than NVIDIA's Tesla--some use it but most don't.
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#10
eidairaman1
X86 licensing issues will ensue for NV, i see intel slapping them
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#11
MySchizoBuddy
by: eidairaman1
X86 licensing issues will ensue for NV, i see intel slapping them
It's an ARM core it doesn't use X86 ISA
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#12
ensabrenoir
This should be interesting..... intel seeks to perfect graphics... nvidia ...the cpu. We win no matter what, Would've been nice to see an intel chip with integrated nvidia graphic cores though, but alas only in a more perfect world.
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#13
jihadjoe
lol I wonder if the codename is a stab at AMD's misfiring bulldozers. :laugh:
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#14
HumanSmoke
by: jihadjoe
lol I wonder if the codename is a stab at AMD's misfiring bulldozers. :laugh:
The immoveable object meets the resistable force ?
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#15
theoneandonlymrk
Wow what a surprise :eek:, not:D

Given project denver is similar and they have said there next gpu will contain an Arm core this is a natural progression and exactly what i and others said would happen.

now wheres Avonx, he needs to read this,, :p
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#16
NC37
With the level of resources they have we might just see nvidia create the first CPU which truly utilizes GPU tech to the fullest. A complete merger of both CPU and GPU. Not like APUs where it is still a CPU with GPU on die side by side. Something I think AMD was eventually wanting to move to with APUs but is many generations away from achieving it.
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#17
theoneandonlymrk
by: NC37
With the level of resources they have we might just see nvidia create the first CPU which truly utilizes GPU tech to the fullest. A complete merger of both CPU and GPU. Not like APUs where it is still a CPU with GPU on die side by side. Something I think AMD was eventually wanting to move to with APUs but is many generations away from achieving it.
your day dreaming, AMD are on that path and the excavator equiped APU will have much better GPU integration then other similar cpu's, Arm cores have been put on die with Gfx cores for some time now and nvidia are the least far along this tech, qualcom is further along then nvidia down that path let alone AMD and this wont hit consumer devices till way after AMD have a supperior x86-64 version (not arm)that wont need any special software etc , just to use it.

oh and on die gpu elements dont do ivybridges video handling any harm , or trinity for that matter , id count that as actual use.:)
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#18
badtaylorx
if successful, the influx of capital from this market could really drive gpu progress
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#19
mauriek
What make they really think any programmer/software developer would support their "boulder", this is add a LOT of programming code complexity, load balancing, sharing resource..what they will do? fully support OpenCL?

Making Tegra GPU or next gen Boulder to handle serial computing is a lot of burden for programmer, it is possible but still a long way to anything feasible..

ARM+Tegra = new high performance server CPU?? even AMD with a huge early start in APU (x86 + GPU) still have many difficulties in making programmer to fully support and take the real performance advantage of unified computing of APU.
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#20
AlienIsGOD
by: HumanSmoke
The immoveable object meets the resistable force ?
lol at the Hulk Hogan/Andre the Giant reference :D RIP Gorilla Monsoon
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#21
Xzibit
More than a year late on this...

This is a referance to Project Denver which was announced in a Q&A by Jen-Hsun Huang at 2011 Computer Electronic Show
We’ve been working on a CPU internally for about three and half years or so. It takes about five years to build any full custom CPU. And Project Denver has a few hundred engineers working on it for this period of time and our strategy with Project Denver was to extend the reach of ARM beyond the mobile, the handheld computing space. To take the ARM processor, partner with them to develop a next-generation 64 bit processor to extend it so that all of computing can have the benefits of that instruction set architecture. It is backward-compatible with today’s ARM processors.

And so by partnering with ARM to build this processor, we felt that we could bring the ARM processor into the PC because the PC is still a very powerful device and it’s still able to do many things mobile devices cannot. We would go into the PC but retain the energy-efficient characteristic of ARM and would enable a new class of personal computers that has many times less power consumption than today’s PCs but has the performance of today’s PCs if not more. And so that was our vision with Project Denver.
Look up the transcript from the event.

Some other fun quotes from 2011 CES about Project Denver.
Warren East, chief executive of ARM
Look at what Jen-Hsun [CEO of Nvidia, which is supplying ARM processors to tablet makers such as Motorola and Toshiba] said. He said we'll remember CES 2011 as when the computing world changed. I do feel a certain amount of responsibility now. Nvidia really bet the company on ARM.

This is the ARM business model working. The technology is totally scalable [up to the desktop and supercomputing]. [Nvidia's] Tegra is a high-octane version but it's still basically a smartphone chip. What [Huang] was talking about yesterday was going a lot further. They're demonstrating that they're going to extend the ARM world.
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#22
theoneandonlymrk
by: Xzibit
More than a year late on this...
To be fair its an evolving topic that everyone might not be aware of, Win8Rt isnt exactly widespread yet either so noone is seeing this future yet bar enthusiasts:)
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