New NVidia X1 Board Has Serious AI Chops. What Could You Build with It?

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New NVidia X1 Board Has Serious AI Chops. What Could You Build with It?

JX08_JetsonTX1_topBlack_04_v001_jw_blk

Yesterday NVidia announced the Jetson X1. It is an exceptionally powerful development board, with a specialized graphics processing unit that makes quick work of complex math problems. It’s also quite expensive, retailing at $599 (or $299 with an educator’s discount). We don’t think it’s a board you’ll want to run out and buy right now for your next generic project, but if you’re building an autonomous vehicle, you might want to check it out.

The specs of the X1 are impressive:

  • GPU: 1 teraflops, 256-core Maxwell architecture-based GPU
  • CPU: 64-bit ARM A57 CPUs
  • Video: 4K video encode and decode
  • Memory: 4GB LPDDR4; 25.6 gigabits/second
  • Storage: 16GB eMMC
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: 802.11ac 2×2 Bluetooth ready
  • Networking: 1GB Ethernet
  • Size: 50mm×87mm
  • Amazingly, this board uses only 10W of power

The board is as small as a credit card and, NVidia says, is ready for deployment in products. Applications, according to NVidia, include data centers involved in machine learning, autonomous vehicle research, and other specialized industrial uses. All of these types of applications require realtime computation of enormous data sets. An autonomous car must acquire millions of data points and evaluate if the numbers imply an open road or someone crossing the street.

Though details are sparse on the companies using the X1 in their products, we do know that the robot Jibo is powered by one. And the new DJI drone platform Manifold uses the beefy processing power of the X1 to target high-end drone design.

The X1 is also a candidate as a main board for a desktop Linux system. With optimized and accelerated video drivers, a bespoke version of Ubuntu Linux, and plenty of ways to connect to the internet, it is a decent value for the power it contains. Yes, the board renders Doom 3 graphics quite beautifully. But, as we have said, as a development board to do anything less than compute intensive applications, it is overkill.

9 thoughts on “New NVidia X1 Board Has Serious AI Chops. What Could You Build with It?

  1. tonyvr says:

    Hi David, thanks for covering the new Jetson TX1!

    New info on the board is still coming out. The most interesting is at:

    http://devblogs.nvidia.com/parallelforall/nvidia-jetson-tx1-supercomputer-on-module-drives-next-wave-of-autonomous-machines/

    The bit about MIT’s racecar upgrade is interesting — Instead of being limited to 8 mph, the TX1’s additional power could allow the cars to go at over 20 mph, and allow multiple cars to be aware of each other and race against each other!

    Also very interesting is the release of VisionWorks for the TX1 (Nvidia’s OpenVX implementation) , which is supposed to be 1.6x faster than their OpenCV implementation for the GPU.

    Some additions to your article:

    The $599 includes the credit-card sized TX1 module, a mini-ITX baseboard, and a 5MP CSI-2 camera board. WiFi and Bluetooth are now supported out of the box on the module. The module is supposed to be available separately sometime next year for $299. The modular design should greatly simplify incorporation of the TX1 into commercial devices.
    I am rather disappointed at the high cost, but I suppose the addition of the camera and 4 gigs of DDR4 memory was not cheap. The MAKE/Nvidia $99 deal for the original Jetson TK1 looks even better this week!
    Thanks for covering these exciting boards. They are not for everyone, I’d agree, but for educators and autonomous vehicle nuts, they are mouth-watering…

    1. David Scheltema says:

      This is great additional information! Thanks for sharing, tonyvr.

      1. Florence King says:

        When I looked at the draft which was of 7159 dollars, I accept that my friend’s brother was like really generating cash in their spare time with their pc. . their aunts neighbor has done this for only 10 months and by now repaid the mortgage on their home and bought a new Car .

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  2. John Daniels says:

    Is this one not available to markets outside of the US and Canada, too?

    1. tonyvr says:

      According to an article on pcworld:

      “The developer board will be available starting on Nov. 16 for US$599 through online retailers like Amazon and Newegg. It will initially ship in the U.S. and then worldwide next year.”

    2. tonyvr says:

      More info about availability outside US was just released:

      “We realize the pre-order site currently only contains the North America menu items right now, sorry for the inconvenience. The kits will start shipping worldwide close to Dec 20, hopefully sooner if the EU EMI certs (for WiFi/BT) come through early.”

      1. John Daniels says:

        Thanks for the updates. Are you sure you don’t work for Nvidia? If not, they should hire you. You’re better at their job than they are.

        1. tonyvr says:

          No, I am just a big fan. Here’s the latest from

          https://devtalk.nvidia.com/default/topic/894945/embedded-systems/jetson-tx1/

          “The EU sites have started rolling out. See here:

          http://www.nvidia.de/object/jetson-tx1-dev-kit-de.html
          http://www.nvidia.co.uk/object/jetson-tx1-dev-kit-uk.html
          http://www.nvidia.fr/object/jetson-tx1-dev-kit-fr.html

          The preorder links included in the UK and FR pages should go live shortly.”

  3. tonyvr says:

    By the way, the latest news for the Jetson-TX1 can be found here:
    https://devtalk.nvidia.com/default/topic/894945/embedded-systems/jetson-tx1/2

    Also, Jim Benson from
    http://jetsonhacks.com/
    has a unit for review, and will be posting lots of good info about the board.

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I love to tinker and write about electronics. My days are spent building projects and working as a Technical Editor for MAKE.

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