NVIDIA Unleashes The First Jetson AGX Orin Module

Back in March, NVIDIA introduced Jetson Orin, the next-generation of their ARM single-board computers intended for edge computing applications. The new platform promised to deliver “server-class AI performance” on a board small enough to install in a robot or IoT device, with even the lowest tier of Orin modules offering roughly double the performance of the previous Jetson Xavier modules. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a catch — at the time, Orin was only available in development kit form.

But today, NVIDIA has announced the immediate availability of the Jetson AGX Orin 32GB production module for $999 USD. This is essentially the mid-range offering of the Orin line, which makes releasing it first a logical enough choice. Users who need the top-end performance of the 64GB variant will have to wait until November, but there’s still no hard release date for the smaller NX Orin SO-DIMM modules.

That’s a bit of a letdown for folks like us, since the two SO-DIMM modules are probably the most appealing for hackers and makers. At $399 and $599, their pricing makes them far more palatable for the individual experimenter, while their smaller size and more familiar interface should make them easier to implement into DIY builds. While the Jetson Nano is still an unbeatable bargain for those looking to dip their toes into the CUDA waters, we could certainly see folks investing in the far more powerful NX Orin boards for more complex projects.

While the AGX Orin modules might be a bit steep for the average tinkerer, their availability is still something to be excited about. Thanks to the common JetPack SDK framework shared by the Jetson family of boards, applications developed for these higher-end modules will largely remain compatible across the whole product line. Sure, the cheaper and older Jetson boards will run them slower, but as far as machine learning and AI applications go, they’ll still run circles around something like the Raspberry Pi.

Hacked On SO-DIMM Slot Was Worth A Shot

Finding unpopulated pads on a circuit board is often a sign that the device in question has some untapped potential. These blank spots on the board could be left over from features or capabilities that were deleted from the design, or perhaps even represent an optional upgrade that wasn’t installed on this particular specimen. So we certainly understand why [d0rk] was fascinated by the empty SO-DIMM footprint he recently found on a laptop’s motherboard.

The budget Celeron machine shipped with 4 GB of RAM installed in its single socket, a situation [d0rk] hoped he could improve upon with the addition of a second module. But could it really be as simple as pulling the socket from a dead motherboard and soldering it into place? Would other components need to be added to the board? Could the BIOS cope with the unexpected upgrade? There was only one way to find out…

Room to grow

At first, it seemed like the patient didn’t survive the operation. But a close look uncovered that the power button had actually gotten damaged somewhere along the line. Once [d0rk] fixed that the machine started up, but unfortunately the operating system didn’t see the extra RAM module. Even after upgrading the BIOS, the computer remained oblivious to the additional memory.

When he went back in to inspect his solder work for shorts or bad joints, disaster struck. For reasons that aren’t immediately clear, the computer no longer starts. Even after pulling the transplanted SO-DIMM slot off the board entirely, [d0rk] says it won’t make it through the self-test. Obviously a disappointing conclusion, but we respect the effort he put into the attempt.

While this memory upgrade didn’t go according to plan, we’ve seen enough success stories over the years to balance it out. From old wireless routers to cutting-edge video cards, plenty of gadgets have received a memory boost courtesy of a soldering iron and a steady hand.

[Thanks to Timothy for the tip.]