What is SoC?

At the end of 2018 we launched our first ever one-chip-system, the TEGRA 2. Its special feature: It is based on a SoC-chip. What that is and which benefits this architecture has, we explain in this article.

System-on-a-Chip

When the most important components, or even all the components of a system are combined on one single chip, it is called a system-on-a-chip. The most important part of such is the main processor, no matter if it’s an 8bit- or QuadCore-processor, the market serves everything you can imagine. Sometimes also other processors, for instance for graphics or for decoding and controlling audio data in smart phones, are soldered. The next piece is the RAM, which is integrated via one or more memory chips. All internal components are connected via the system bus (for transmitting data between CPU, RAM, Cache) and the peripheral bus (for USB amongst others). 

Application fields of SoC

SoCs are mostly used in the field of mobile devices and applications and in the control and automation technology (for instance in washing machines or the industrial automation).

Advantages of SoCs

Due to the special architecture, a system on a chip on one hand saves up an enormous amount of space, so that they can be used almost everywhere not matter how small a space is. On the other hand expenses can be saved. Furthermore, a system on a chip has a lower power consumption. 

Nvidia Tegra SoC has it all

As already mentioned, the TEGRA 2, which we released in 2018, is the first (and at the moment the only) system among all the spo-comm Mini-PCs that is SoC based. Or more precisely, it is based on an Nvidia SoC-chip. It integrates all that is needed for applications in the digital signage field: An 8GB RAM, a 32GB eMMC Flash, the namesake Nvidia Tegra X2 CPU, as well as a LAN- and WiFi-module. And everything fits into the housing with dimensions of only 160 x 132 x 51 mm (W x D x H). With the TEGRA 2 it is not only possible to play content in a resolution of 4K@60Hz on two display at once. Thanks to the 256 integrated CUDA cores, the TEGRA 2 is also capable of deep learning applications and for real time calculations and video processing in the automobile field.

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3 Dec 2018 Array ( [id] => 362 [title] => NEW: spo-book TEGRA 2 – Next level digital signage based on SoC [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => With the spo-book TEGRA 2 we welcome our next newcomer. The passively cooled Mini-PC is based on SoC-chip developed by Nvidia and is equipped with everything needed as standard. Thanks to the integrated CUDA-cores and the particularly for this hardware adjusted Linux version, the TEGRA 2 is the perfect digital signage player for developers. [description] =>

TEGRA 2: first SoC based spo-book

What makes the newcomer special is the way it is build. The TEGRA is not a common x86-computer but it is based on an Nvidia-SoC-chip. Such chips are mostly used in mobile devices so that every millimeter can be used. By now even PCs in the industrial field such as the TEGRA 2 count on this design. With its dimensions of 160 x 132 x 51 mm the TEGRA fits into every little corner.

Tegra SoM has integrated everything

In addition to the small dimensions it has another really important advantage. The TEGRA is a so-called "System on a module" ("SoM"). This module is already equipped with all the needed components. This includes an 8GB DDR4-RAM, a 32GB eMMC flash memory, the namesake Nvidia Tegra X2 CPU and also a LAN and WiFi module.

Linux Vibrante and CUDA

For their Tegra series Nvidia uses their self-developed Linux distribution, which is called Vibrante and is the counterpart to Ubuntu. Just more special and exclusive for this hardware. Vibrante has a much bigger GNU toolkit and also brings more Nvidia related libraries. The Tegra chip also provides a developer kit, which – in combination with the 256 integrated CUDA-cores – enables a various amount of different applications.

Next level digital signage – Deep learning, AI & automation drive

Due to the Nvidia related libraries data and images can be processed a lot faster and more efficiently. That’s why the spo-book TEGRA 2 is the perfect PC for everyone, who is searching for a passively cooled next level digital signage player. Although it is possible to play content in 4K@60hz resolution on up to two displays at once with the HDMI and DisplayPort, thanks to its special features the Mini-PC can do even more: regarding real time calculations and video editing in the automobile field the TEGRA can score. But also for camera applications with face recognition, which can be for instance found in display panels in malls, or general deep learning applications, the spo-book TEGRA is the perfect solution.

Range of interfaces for different applications

Next to the power button, an SD-card reader and two USB 2.0-ports are affixed on the front panel of the Mini-PC. The back of the TEGRA 2 also holds various interfaces: a COM-port, two USB 3.0-ports and the LAN-port find its place. Also three audio connectors and two antennas for WiFi are located here. The multimedia interfaces HDMI and DisplayPort are located on the back panel, too.

Technical facts:

•    CPU: Nvidia® Tegra X2
•    256 CUDA-cores
•    GPU: Nvidia® Pascal
•    32 GB eMMC Flash
•    Max. resolution: 4K@60Hz on up to 2 independent displays
•    Dimensions (W x H x D): 160 x 132 x 51 mm
•    1 x HDMI and 1 x DisplayPort
•    2 x USB 2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0
•    Integrated WiFi

##Configure your TEGRA now!

##See more digital signage player

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products
NEW: spo-book TEGRA 2 – Next level digital signage based on SoC
With the spo-book TEGRA 2 we welcome our next newcomer. The passively cooled Mini-PC is based on SoC-chip developed by Nvidia and is equipped with everything needed as standard. Thanks to the integrated CUDA-cores and the particularly for this hardware adjusted Linux version, the TEGRA 2 is the perfect digital signage player for developers.
6 May 2020 Array ( [id] => 514 [title] => What is Flash Memory? [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => How is data stored in our smartphones? How do countless photos fit on a small SD card in the camera? With the same technology as for SSDs: the flash memory. We took a closer look at that. [description] =>

Flash memory is a non-volatile memory based on semiconductor chips. The exact name is Flash EEPROM because it was developed from EEPROM (which stands for Electrical Erasable and Programmable Read Only Memory). The storage of data is identical to EEPROM, however, it is read, written, deleted or reprogrammed block by block in data blocks of 4, 8 or 16 kilobytes.

Flash memory is characterized above all by its fast response times and high data transfer rates, which is why it is also suitable for high-performance applications such as video editing or 3D. It is also efficient, impact-resistant, compact and contains no moving parts. In contrast to RAM (Random Access Memory), the data in Flash is retained even after the power supply is switched off, which is why it is mainly used in SSDs, USB sticks, smartphones, cameras and memory cards.

Advantages of flash memories

  • Data is retained even without a power supply. As a result, the storage type also consumes less power and has less heat development than HDDs.
  • It works silently and has no problems with vibrations.
  • Inexpensive.
  • High reading and writing speed.

Disadvantages of flash memories

  • Wearout is higher and therefore Flash a limited number of write and erase processes.
  • The duration of data storage is also limited, which is why Flash is not suitable for archiving data.

We already explained the difference between HDDs and SSDs in a knowledge article. More about flash memory and a detailed explanation of how it works can be found at Explainthatstuff.com and in the TechTarget.com.

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know-how
What is Flash Memory?
How is data stored in our smartphones? How do countless photos fit on a small SD card in the camera? With the same technology as for SSDs: the flash memory. We took a closer look at that.
4 Mar 2019 Array ( [id] => 389 [title] => What is CUDA? [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => While launching our new Mini-PCs QUADRO P1000 and TEGRA 2 we already talked a lot about NVIDIA CUDA and the so-called CUDA cores. But what is CUDA actually? [description] =>

What means "CUDA"?

The term CUDA is the acronym of "Compute Unified Device Architecture".

What is CUDA?

CUDA is an NVIDIA architecture for parallel calculations. The computing power of a PC is increased by using the graphics processor as well.
In the past, OpenGL and DirectX were the only way to interact with GPUs, but these APIs were mostly suited for multimedia applications. In contrast, calculations were only performed on the CPU.

Since graphics cards are ideal for computation-intensive, parallel processes, new operating systems (Windows 7 and up) no longer use GPUs only for graphics calculations, but as a general-purpose parallel processor that can be accessed by any application. Like that, calculations run parallel on the CPU and the graphics processor, which increases the performance enormously. NVIDIA CUDA supports this and enables easy and efficient parallel computing. There are now thousands of applications, countless research reports and a wide selection of CUDA tools and solutions.

What is a CUDA core?

Usually, CUDA cores are considered equivalent to CPU cores. However, the CUDA cores are less complex and at the same time appear in much larger numbers. While the usual Intel CPUs have between 2 and 8 cores, for example, the NVIDIA Quadro P1000, which is installed in our identically named Mini-PC, has 640 CUDA cores. High-End graphics cards, such as NVIDIA’s Turing generation, often have over 4000 cores. This high number is necessary because often many complex graphics calculations have to be performed simultaneously. However, since GPUs are specialized for this purpose, the cores are also constructed much more specific and are therefore smaller than the cores of CPUs.

A detailed explanation of this topic can be found at Gamingscan. If you want to get even deeper into the topic and are interested in the exact difference between CUDA cores and CPU cores, you should check out the video "Why CUDA 'Cores' Aren’t Actually Cores" from Gamers Nexus.

In which areas is CUDA used?

CUDA is used in a variety of fields. On the one hand in image and video processing, but also in the medical field, for example in CT image reconstructions. The fields AI, deep learning and machine learning also often rely on CUDA, because they require sophisticated development environments. Other topics include computer biology and chemistry, raytracing, seismic analysis and more.

Which is the current version of CUDA?

Since CUDA was introduced in 2006, it has evolved enormously. In October 2018, CUDA 10 was unveiled, along with the launch of the new Turing GPUs. More information about the new features can be found on the NVIDIA Developer Blog.

How is CUDA programmed?

When using CUDA, the programming languages C, C++, Fortran, Python and MATLAB can be used.

How can CUDA be used?

With CUDA you can work under Windows, Linux and MacOS – given that you have the right hardware. These are the graphics cards of the NVIDIA series GeForce, Quadro and Tesla as well as NVIDIA GRID solutions. An overview of CUDA enabled GPUs can be found on NVIDIA’s website. The CUDA Toolkit can be found there as well.

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know-how
What is CUDA?
While launching our new Mini-PCs QUADRO P1000 and TEGRA 2 we already talked a lot about NVIDIA CUDA and the so-called CUDA cores. But what is CUDA actually?