NVIDIA JTX1: Finally An Exciting 64-bit ARM Board!

Written by Michael Larabel in Computers on 10 November 2015. Page 1 of 2. 50 Comments

NVIDIA's embargo has just expired on the Jetson TX1: a 64-bit ARM development board that's worth getting excited about for Linux enthusiasts, those wishing to build their own ARM-powered devices, or just wanting a powerful ARM Linux desktop. The Jetson TX1 powered by the Tegra X1 is shaping up to be a splendid device; NVIDIA is even comparing the performance of the JTX1 to that of an Intel Core i7 6700K in certain tasks.

While there's been several 64-bit ARM development boards available for a while, not many have got me really excited... The low-cost ones offer small amounts of RAM (1GB!) or onboard storage and others like the 96Boards HiKey use just Cortex-A53 cores. There are higher-end ones like the APM X-C1, but that will set you back $1495 USD, and that's without an AArch64 SoC sporting a powerful GPU. There's also the AMD 64-bit ARM HuskyBoard, but that's not coming out until later in the year at an unknown price. NVIDIA today has lifted the lid on the Jetson TX1 as the successor to the Jetson TK1 from last year.

While the Jetson TX1 is announced today, unfortunately the media isn't permitted from any hands-on reviews / benchmarks today... That performance embargo will expire soon and when it does you can expect to find a load of interesting tests on Phoronix.

Compared to the JTK1, the Jetson TX1 has taken a modular design with the Tegra X1 SoC being loaded on a module that's smaller than a credit card and consumes less than 10 Watts. This module then plugs into a larger board to provide all of the connectivity options, etc.

The Jetson TX1 SoC on this board has a 256-core Maxwell GPU capable of 1 TFLOP/s, 64-bit ARM A57 CPU cores, 4GB of LPDDR4 at 25.6GB/s of bandwidth, 16GB of eMMC memory, 802.11 AC WiFi and Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet, and a 400 pin board-to-board connector. These are 64-bit ARM board specs to like: 4GB of RAM and A57 CPU cores along with a very powerful Maxwell GPU.

The numbers supplied by NVIDIA report that the Jetson TX1 performance even beats out an Intel Core i7 6700K Skylake CPU when it comes to deep learning. If looking at the power efficiency, the Jetson TX1 blows far past the high-end Skylake desktop CPU.

The graphics performance is even being reported by NVIDIA as being comparable to the i7-6700K's HD Graphics 530 in raw performance or 5x better with performance-per-Watt.

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