Nvidia Tegra X1 Development Board is Finally Available… for $599

When Nvidia introduced Nvidia Tegra X1 octa processor with a 256-core Maxwell GPU at the very beginning of the year, I was expecting Jetson TX1 is follow suit in the next few months, but instead the company launched Nvidia Shield Android TV box based on the processor. The company has now launched Jetson TX1 module and development board.

Tegra_TX1_system-on-moduleLet’s check the module first and its main specifications and features:

  • SoC – Nvidia Tegra X1 octa core processor with 4x ARM Cortex A57 cores, 4x ARM Cortex A53 cores, and a 256-core Maxwell GPU
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 (25.6 gigabits/second)
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC
  • Connectivity – 802.11ac 2×2 Bluetooth ready, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Video –  4K video encode and decode
  • Camera – Support for 1400 megapixels/second
  • Dimensions – 50mm x 87mm

The module support Linux4Tegra operating system based on Ubuntu. Libraries and drivers to leverage the Maxwell GPU include cuDNN  CUDA-accelerated library for machine learning, VisionWorks CUDA-accelerated OpenVX 1.1 library and framework for computer vision, graphics drivers with support for OpenGL 4.5, OpenGL ES 3.1 and Vulkan, and support for CUDA 7.0.

The company did not release that much information about the development board in the press release, but send a few samples to various blogs and developers, including Kangalow of Jetsonhacks.com.

Jeston TX1 Board (Click to Enlarge)
Jetson TX1 Board (Click to Enlarge)

The development board relies on TX1 module for the processor, storage, memory, and wireless connectivity, and a carrier board for I/O connectivity: is

  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Storage – SATA data+power, M.2 Key E connector, SD card slot
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45)
  • USB – USB 3.0 Type A, USB 2.0 Micro AB (supports recovery and host mode)
  • Display expansion header
  • Camera expansion header with a 5MP camera
  • Expansion –  PCI-E x4 slot, 40 pin Raspberry Pi somewhat compatible header, 30x pin header for extra GPIOs.
  • Dimensions – Fits in mini-ITX case

Kangalow reports the fan is not active very often with the heatsink providing enough cooling most of the time, and the performance feels like the one of a typical laptop in Ubuntu.

The guys at Phoronix also got a board, and while they did not run their own benchmarks yet, they shared some provided by Nvidia themselves pitting Tegra X1 (Linux4Tegra) against an Intel Core i7-6700K (Windows 8.1…) showing for example graphics performance (GFXBench 3.1) is similar, but Jetson TX1 consumes 5 times less power.

Jetson TX1 Board vs Skylake (iCore i7) Computer
Jetson TX1 Board vs Core i7 (Skylake) Computer

Jetson TK1 board with a 192-core GPU was $192, so you may dreamed that Jetson TX1 with a 256-core GPU would be $256, but it did not exactly turn out that way. Nvidia Jetson TX1 development kit will start showing for pre-order for respectively $599 (retail) / $299 (education) on November 12 in the US, with a launch in other regions in the next few weeks. The kit will include the module and carrier board, a camera board, a heatsink and fan and required cables. Jetson TX1 modules will be available in Q1 2016 for about $299 per unit for 1k order.

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