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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  • willis936 - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    I’m aware. It’s hard to say whether it’s a new nintendo SKU or security fixes. Nintendo has been going hard this generation on security compared to previous generations but a new piece of silicon is not a cheap proposition. The details to come to a conclusion are in the nintendo-nvidia contract.
  • PeachNCream - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    It'd be nice if Nintendo did drop in a new SoC. The hardware is okay as-is, but longer battery life and doing away with the need for active cooling would be welcome improvements.
  • Lolimaster - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    What Switch right now needs is shrinked Maxwell Tegra to 12nm from 20nm. They could clock up a bit for the games with some frame unstability, nothing more. It could increase battery life by 1 full hour easily.
  • S A - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    But we already have a better option. The Tx2 SoC, When Nintendo dose any refresh of their handheld line up. Like Gameboy to Gameboy colour(more powerful) . Gameboy advance to Gameboy advance sp (Added a front or back lit screen and a rechargeable battery). Nintendo ds to Nintendo dsi (More power, Added the dsi shop and added cameras). And the 3ds to new 3ds (Went from dual core to quad core cpu, And doubled the ram from 128mb to 256 mb and also added more vram) So the switch pro might use the tx2
  • willis936 - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    All signs point (and Nintendo states) that Nintendo is treating the Switch like a home console from a business perspective. It isn’t expect to get the annual updates that their handhelds get.
  • S A - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    Yes but a Survey done by Nintendo shows that people mostly play the switch in Handheld mode and not in docked mode
  • S A - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    Btw the n64 had that ram expansion and also there is a possibility that SCD with GTX 1060 might come in 2021
  • cfenton - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    'Because money' is the short answer. They can sell these things to car companies for much more than they can sell them to people buying Shield products.

    There's also little reason to upgrade the Shield TV. It already does 4K video like a champ and gaming on it has always been a sad sideshow with very limited support. A new Shield Portable makes more sense, but again, they've never really been able to get developers on board and it can't just be a device to play Android games since everyone's phone can already do that.
  • nico_mach - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    Why aren't Tegras available for the chromebook/new chromepad market? I understand their own tablet failed, but there's lots of chromebooks being sold that could use a little more oomph. Samsung uses lots of other people's chips, too. Android needs some more strategic partnerships outside of frenemies Samsung and Google.
  • 0ldman79 - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    You must have missed the story where he cuts off his own hand with a rock so he could free himself to save his son and kill his brother...

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