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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  • TheReason8286 - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    wow Orin is my actual name.. However im not a big fan of Nvidia lol. /facepalm
  • bug77 - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    Not that it helps you any, but while I've buying their hardware for years, I wouldn't say I'm a fan either. Just like I'm not a fan of pretty much any company. I buy from those that offer what I need at a given time, knowing fully well in a few years the situation can be turned on its head (i.e. at some point my system sported an AMD CPU and an ATI video card; if I were to update today, instead of Intel I might go with AMD).
  • mode_13h - Monday, April 2, 2018 - link

    Cool story, bug.
  • evilpaul666 - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    Bury the lead, much? Did anyone click other than to find out who an "Orin" is?
  • dromoxen - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    orin is an anagram of iron .. I never liked aquaman .. something fishy about him... Aquawoman , however, is a completely different kettle of fish.
  • vailr - Thursday, March 29, 2018 - link

    It's spelled "Xavier", not "Xaiver"
  • patrickjp93 - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    I just want AWS and Google Cloud to offer ARM-based Linux instances for super cheap micro service instances, including Lambda on ARM.
  • LinuxDevice - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    The most recent Tegra is not the TX1, it is the TX2. The TX1 did not have the Denver cores mentioned in the Parker series ARM table...this is the TX2.

    The TX2 (Parker) is actively developed.
  • Tterraneya - Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - link

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  • eastcoast_pete - Thursday, April 5, 2018 - link

    I know I am a bit late to the party, but...
    Could "Orin" be the chip for the upcoming PS 5 from SONY? Right now, MS has bested the PS 4 Pro at least in sheer numbers (CUs, Tflops, memory), and while there are distinct features (how upscaling is handled etc.), the bottom line is that customers (i.e. us) can right now compare apples to apples (AMD custom core to AMD custom core). So, why think of NVIDIA? I would be surprised if the next generation of consoles will NOT have some AI/neural networking/machine learning circuitry in them, if only so one can brag about it when those new machines launch. Plus, AI circuitry just makes a lot of sense for gaming, at least for me. NVIDIA is a heavyweight in this area, and a contract to supply tens of millions of custom chips for SONY's new PS is the kind of order even chipzillas like NVIDIA will find tempting. Plus, unlike self-driving cars, consoles haven't killed anybody yet, so there is that upside, too.
    So, has anybody heard any rumors of SONY hiring a larger number of programmers with ARM and CUDA experience?

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