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Nvidia Jetson TK 1 Review

A few weeks ago I finally purchased my Nvidia Jetson TK1 development board. The Jetson board provides a Cortex A15 CPU, a 192-core Nvidia GPU, different I/O ports and an impressive computing power. After the success of the raspberry Pi, and the requirements for new mobile platforms, manufacturers such as Nvidia started to look into embedded devices and successfully launched the Tegra K1 processor.  Here is my unboxing and first look at this new high-end ARM board.


I was in a bit in a hurry, and ripped the plastic wrapping. This Jetson TK1 board features  the Tegra K1 processor, containing 4 32-bit Cortex-A15 CPU cores. Complementing the quad-core Cortex-A15 is a Kepler-based graphics processor with 192 CUDA cores. 

Unboxing 2

The Tegra K1 is about 15 times faster than the former Tegra 2, and is the most powerful GPU in the ARM world.  The GPU also supports OpenGL ES 3.0, CUDA 6.5, OpenCL 1.2, and OpenGL 4.4.  

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 19.02.22

The board is also actively cooled in contrast to other ARM board, and has a small heat sink below the fan. The ports on the rear of the Tegra K1 Jetson board include a serial port, standard HDMI, one USB 3.0, 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, audio jacks, and a USB micro-B recovery/host port , and  also includes 2GB of DDR3L 933MHz DRAM plus 16GB of fast eMMC soldered-on storage. When running the board is able to deliver up to 300 Giga Flops.



With the 16GB of onboard storage, an ARM-based  Ubuntu Linux 14.04 is already pre-installed supporting the Linux 3.10.24 kernel.  One of the main advantages of this ARM board is that it supports CUDA 6.5,  allowing developers to take advantage of the parallel capabilities of the GPU. The CUDA toolkit is also by far one of the easiest approach for parallel processing. 

Nvidia also offers  select developers access to its computer vision toolkit VisionWorks for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS),Human Machine Interface (HMI), and  Augmented Reality (AR).  

The main drawback of the board I have encountered so far is the lack of WiFi, although this can be simply fixed, with the mini-PCI port.

picture from the NVIDIA Jetson TK1 Documentation.

picture from the NVIDIA Jetson TK1 Documentation (here).




At a price of 1$ per core (192$) this board is impressive, and demonstrates a substantial leap forward in the world of embedded systems, and if you are an experienced developer looking for a high end  dev board outperforming all alternative embedded systems, this board is definitely the right choice. For more informations on the board you can also visit, or look at the Tegra TK1 Technical reference manual

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