As part of this week’s GTC 2018 keynote address, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang quickly touched upon the future of NVIDIA’s ARM SoC lineup. While the company no longer publicly advertises or sells new ARM-based SoCs – the last SoC branded Tegra was the Tegra X1 – they have continued development for private uses. Chief among these of course being their DRIVE systems, where the Xavier SoC is at the heart of both the single-SoC Xavier module, as well as the larger and more powerful muti-processor Pegasus module for level 5 vehicles.

While Xavier itself is just now sampling to partners, NVIDIA already has their eye on what’s next. And that is Orin.

Unlike even the Xavier tease in 2016, NVIDIA is saying very little about Orin other than the fact that it’s the next generation of NVIDIA SoCs. Like Xavier, it’s a single-chip solution. But otherwise we don’t know anything about the planned architecture or features.

NVIDIA ARM SoC Specification Comparison
  Orin Xavier Parker
CPU Cores ? 8x NVIDIA Custom ARM "Carmel" 2x NVIDIA Denver +
4x ARM Cortex-A57
GPU Cores ? Xavier Volta iGPU
(512 CUDA Cores)
Parker Pascal iGPU
(256 CUDA Cores)
Manufacturing Process 7nm? TSMC 12nm FFN TSMC 16nm FinFET
TDP ? 30W 15W

With respect to performance, NVIDIA isn’t giving hard figures there either, but they are saying that they want to replace a Pegasus module with a couple of Orins. Pegasus, as a reminder, is a pair of Xaviers each with an unnamed, post-Volta discrete GPU attached, with a total power consumption of 500W. So to replace that with a couple of single-chip SoCs would be a significant accomplishment – and presumably a massive bump in energy efficiency.

But finally, let’s talk about the real question on everyone’s mind: which superhero is this new SoC named after? After a run in the Marvel universe, it looks like NVIDIA is back to favoring DC. A brief search shows that Orin is another name for Aquaman. Which certainly isn’t as high-profile as the likes of Kal-El, Wayne, or Xavier, but perhaps Jen-Hsun Huang is a big fan of Jason Momoa? (ed: and indeed, who doesn’t find Aquaman outrageous?)

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  • peevee - Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - link

    8-bit floats make no sense, 8-bit ENCODED floats have much better (as needed) precision and range, and all binary operations amount to simple 64kB table direct reads using 2 arguments as a 16-bit address in the table.
  • Flunk - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    Aquaman is a boring character, that's why Jason Momoa is nothing at all like the character. I like to think of him as the guy Aquaman hired to make him seem cool.
  • Holliday75 - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

  • syxbit - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    I wish they would tell us why they're not producing consumer Tegras.
    I want a Shield portable, or an updated Shield TV.
    Either they didn't sell many Shield devices, or they have some agreement with Nintendo to not use Tegra to complete against them (the shield portable and shield TV are kinda sorta competitors to Switch).
  • S A - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    Well I do think that Nvidia would need to make a new Tegra for a Nintendo Switch pro or 2! But I think it's only custom made for the switch
  • willis936 - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    They already made the new tegra though. The X2 was out before the Switch came out (which uses the X1). A switch hardware revision would almost certainly be an X2 and won't come out until the X2 earns a similar bargain bin status.
  • S A - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    Good point but let's say the Nintendo switch refresh comes in 2020 or 2021. The x2 will be over 3 years old and might not be available at that time and don't forget that ps5 and the Xbox 2 will be out in 2021! So they will have to use a custom chip since Xavier has a tdp of 30w and the x2 will be outdated
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    Note that Parker (X2) is not officially a Tegra. Tegra ended with TX1.
  • Thraktor - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    Actually, it looks like Nintendo is getting a new SoC for a Switch refresh. The latest firmware update contained references to a T214 chip codenamed Mariko, where the TX1 is designated T210 and codenamed Erista, and the X2 is T186 and codenamed Parker. It's probably just a TX1 die-shrink with some unused hardware removed (I don't think Nintendo use the h.265 codec, for example), but interesting nonetheless.

    Here's the link:
  • S A - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    I think it's a sign of a Switch mini

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