Nvidia’s Orin SoC chipset had been on Nvidia’s roadmaps for over 2 years now, and last December we got the first new details of the new automotive oriented silicon chip, revealing characteristics such as it containing 12 core cores of Arm’s newest “Hercules” microarchitecture (A77 successor).

Orin is meant to be the heart of Nvidia’s upcoming DRIVE automotive platforms, and today the company is ready to reveal a few more important details such as the scalability of the SoC and the different DRIVE solutions.

NVIDIA ARM SoC Specification Comparison
  Orin Xavier Parker
CPU Cores 12x Arm "Hercules" 8x NVIDIA Custom ARM "Carmel" 2x NVIDIA Denver +
4x Arm Cortex-A57
GPU Cores Ampere iGPU
(?? cores)
Xavier Volta iGPU
(512 CUDA Cores)
Parker Pascal iGPU
(256 CUDA Cores)
Manufacturing Process 7nm? TSMC 12nm FFN TSMC 16nm FinFET
TDP ~5-45W 30W 15W

Specifications wise, the newest revelations about the Orin design is that it features Nvidia’s newest Ampere architecture as its integrated GPU. Generally, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given the timeline of the SoC.

Nvidia still doesn’t disclose exact configurations of the GPU, but if the mock-up die-shot of the chip is anything to go by, we’ll be seeing a 32SM configuration – which fits nicely with the claimed peak 200 INT8 DL TOPs that Nvidia claims for the chip.

Manufacturing wise, we again don’t have exact details, but we’re assuming a 7nm-class process node. One interesting disclosure today however was the fact that Orin is supposed to scale from 5W to up to 45W platforms, which is a very wide range.

The 5W platforms claims up to TOPs inference performance, and it’s meant for ADAS solutions as depicted above, designed to fit behind a windshield. Nvidia being able to scale Orin down to a 5W TDP is extremely interesting, but undoubtedly will have the chip disable much of its capabilities, or clock down to very low frequencies to achieve this power envelope.

The chip is also offered in an L2+ automotive solution, enabling the full power of Orin at up to 45W. Here we see the full 200TOPs of inference performance that Nvidia had disclosed back in November. We're seeing 8 DRAM chips on the depicted board, likely pointing out to a 128-bit memory controller setup.

Finally, Nvidia is bringing out the biggest guns in its DRIVE line-up for the robotaxi solution, an L5 automotive solution is meant to power fully autonomous robotaxi vehicles.

The platform here has two Orin SoCs paired with two Ampere GPUs for total power envelope of 800W and up to 2000 TOPs of performance. The GPU here, judging by its size and form-factor with HBM memory is seemingly the newest GA100 Ampere GPU. Nvidia disclosed that this GPU alone scales up to 400W in the SXM form-factor. Clocking two of these slightly lower and adding two 45W Orin SoCs gets us to the massive 800W power envelope.

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  • Sivar - Thursday, May 14, 2020 - link

    How does Orin compare with Tesla's hardware 3.0 FSD chip? Reply
  • brucethemoose - Thursday, May 14, 2020 - link

    Orin has more transistors, at the very least. Reply
  • cyrusfox - Thursday, May 14, 2020 - link

    Do they have any partners using this for Autonomous driving? Is tesla or Mobileye going to be customers? Or is Nvidia doing their own independent Autonomous driving push I haven't heard about? Reply
  • cyrusfox - Thursday, May 14, 2020 - link

    Looks like I am mighty ignorant, looks like they may have the lionshare of the market https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/self-driving-cars/par... Reply
  • Yojimbo - Thursday, May 14, 2020 - link

    Mobileye is a competitor, not a customer. Tesla plans on using their own. And as you noted, most of the rest of the industry is using NVIDIA's chips for development, although not that many have actually brought anything to production, yet. Instead, they are using Mobileye ADAS. That's probably why NVIDIA is bringing Orin down to 5W. Self-driving cars look like they will take a lot longer than people hoped for 5 years back, so NVIDIA is trying to get the car companies to use NVIDIA chips for ADAS while they develop autonomy algorithms. That could be a cost-savings if they can create a smooth transition from one to the other, rather than developing two completely different systems, one for ADAS using Mobileye and one for self-driving using NVIDIA. I think Mobileye are converging their ADAS and autonomy so that would give them a leg-up in the competition to attract development efforts in autonomy if NVIDIA doesn't also offer competitive ADAS solution that can converge with their autonomy solutions. Reply
  • npz - Friday, May 15, 2020 - link

    The irony is that this whole pandemic has given us in the US the best time to drive ever. Yeah "shelter at home" and so called lockdowns does not mean its illegal to drive, Indeed you still have to use your own transportation to get your own grocercies, etc. So speeds are way up, and accidents are way, way down. Insurance companies report accident rates lowest in 50 years, again despite the sky high speeds. Even enforcement is down. It's beautiful being part of the 1% -- the people who love cars and are driving enthusiats. The 99% can isolate themselves at home, and we can practice mobile isolation at triple digit speeds haha. Reply
  • Qasar - Friday, May 15, 2020 - link

    there have been some doing just that here, and some have been caught, hefty fines, and cars impounded. loving cars, is fine, just dont act like a moron behind the wheel just because there are less cars on the road Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, May 15, 2020 - link

    👆👍 Reply
  • npz - Friday, May 15, 2020 - link

    Germany has it even better that has lead to what's called "Corona Autobahn"

    Driving heaven on earth for anyone with power to spare!
  • npz - Friday, May 15, 2020 - link

    BTW I don't know if you're aware, as most millenials are not, but Montana did not have a speed limit until mid 1999 (they did briefly a while before, but mostly went without). Accident rates actually increased afterward and they've never gotten better in fact. So don't think laws are for safety. It's all about revenue. If high speeds are the primary cause of accidents then we'd have an major increase in accidents right now, but it's actually the complete opposite. And Germany's unlimited sections would be death traps. But they're one of the safest ever by far.

    Empirically I can verify that despite daytime rush hour being +20 mph *on average* over the limit, with a few always going higher like +30 mph, there's miraculously no accidents on Google maps. Pre-pandemic, I'd see several accidents all day, every day all, around even when everyone's going -20 mph under the limit! And I've always witnessed accidents occurring at slow speeds right in front of me and near misses from drivers behind me not nearly stopping in time me too. I've concluded that it's almost always inattentiveness that has caused most of the crashes and not speed. Most of the real morons not paying attention, not 100% focused on driving, listening to the radio or turning their heads to talk with other passengers, etc are thankfully off the road during this pandemic

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