Nvidia unveils $99 Jetson Nano single-board computer


As I noted yesterday, the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco just kicked off. However, yesterday was also the first day of Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference just down the road in San Jose. Green GPU giant CEO Jensen Huang opened the show with a nearly three-hour keynote during which not much came to light regarding new hardware. There was one pretty interesting tidbit, though: Jetson Nano, a $99 single-board computer sporting a CUDA-capable Tegra SoC.

On the face of it, Jetson Nano is already appealing. $100 gets you four ARM Cortex-A57 CPUs, a Maxwell-based GPU with 128 shaders, and 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory. The SoC supports hardware encoding of 4K UHD video in AVC or HEVC formats, and the board includes a pile of connectivity: SDIO, SPI, I2C, I2S, GPIO, USB 3.0, PCIe by way of an M.2 socket, and gigabit Ethernet.

Display connections comprise one each of HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 connections, both of which can be used simultaneously. While the Jetson Nano production-ready module includes 16 GB of eMMC flash memory, the Jetson Nano developer kit instead relies on a micro-SD card for its main storage.

As Jensen Huang himself noted in the keynote, the Jetson Nano is a suitable entry-level platform for developers looking to pick up deep learning programming, as it supports the full CUDA-X stack. That means that code written on a Jetson Nano will run with minimal changes—after being re-compiled—on the big-boy Nvidia GPUs. The Jetson Nano could also make a nice step-up for folks whose needs aren't satisfied by something like the Raspberry Pi. Nvidia says the little SBC will be available in mid-June, but you can check out some preliminary benchmarks over at Phoronix.

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