Nvidia's Jetson TX1 board delivers 1 teraflop in a credit-card footprint

— 2:26 PM on November 11, 2015

And now for something completely different. The Raspberry Pi and other development boards of its ilk are already popular for hardware hackers and DIYers, but Nvidia is taking the concept to a whole new level with its credit-card-sized Jetson TX1.

The 3.4" x 2" (or 87 x 50 mm) TX1 board pictured above may look fairly unassuming, but its specs are impressive for its size. Nvidia packs a Tegra X1 SoC into that space, which is comprised in part by an ARM A57 CPU and a Maxwell-based GPU packing 256 CUDA cores. Nvidia says that graphics chip can do around 1 teraflops. The card also has 4GB of RAM shared between the CPU and GPU, along with 16GB of eMMC storage.

Nvidia is targeting the TX1 at embedded and autonomous devices that need to employ deep learning, neural networks, artificial intelligence, or other visual computing techniques. It's no surprise, then, that the TX1 will process up to 1,400 megapixels per second of incoming data from up to six cameras. The TX1 can talk to the outside world with its "Bluetooth ready" 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

Software-wise, the TX1 supports Linux for Tegra and more APIs than you can shake a neural network at. The usual suspects are CUDA 7.0, OpenGL 4.5, OpenGL ES 3.1, and Vulkan. The TX1 also supports Nvidia's cuDNN machine learning library and the computer vision-oriented VisionWorks toolkit.

Prospective DYIers can preorder the Jetson TX1 Developer Kit tomorrow for $599 in the United States. The full kit contains a TX1 board and a motherboard for I/O and network connectivity. The TX1 board itself will be available in early 2016 for $299 in quantities of 1,000 from "distributors around the world."

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