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$199 kit clusters four Jetson Nano or NX modules

Dec 12, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 3567 views

Seeed’s $199 “Jetson Mate” is a carrier board for clustering up to 4x Jetson Nano or Jetson Xavier NX modules with a 5-port GbE switch, 5x USB, 2x MIPI-CSI, HDMI, a case, and cooling fan.

Ever since Nvidia’s low-cost, Linux-driven Jetson Nano module and Dev Kit arrived last year, developers have set up Nano clusters for tasks such as running Kubernetes clusters or GPU farms for AI development. How-to articles for setting up your own Nano cluster may be found here and here, with more discussion found on the Nvidia Developer site. Meanwhile, PicoCluster, which also offers Raspberry Pi clusters, sells up to 20-board Jetson Nano cluster kits.

While all these clustering projects use the $99-and-up Jetson Nano Dev Kit, Seeed has just opened $199 pre-orders on a Jetson Mate carrier board that clusters 4x Jetson Nano or more powerful, $399 Jetson Xavier NX modules. By skipping the increasingly hard to find and often marked up Dev Kit, the Jetson Mate can reduce the size and complexity of the system with a possible slight edge on price.



Jetson Mate carrier board (left) and full system with fan
(click images to enlarge)

The only other Jetson carrier we have seen that can extend more than one module is Auvidea’s ES-JNX80/ES-J180, which can load up to two Nano or Xavier NX modules.

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Pico5H

PicoCluster’s 3-board Pico3H (Pico 3 Jetson Nano) and 5-board Pico5H cost $199 and $289, respectively, at the current discounted pricing. The kits do not include the cost of the Dev Kit, which offers pre-installed Nano modules.

On their own, Nano modules sell for as low as $129 at Seeed (currently out of stock) or $149 at DFRobot. Unlike the version of the Nano used on the Dev Kit, the standalone Nano modules include 16GB eMMC, and they can also be purchased with volume discounts.

Assuming Seeed has its $129 modules available again by the Jan. 2021 ship date, a fully stocked, 4-board Jetson Mate will cost about $720 vs. about $800 for the five-board Pico5H. You can also remove the non-eMMC versions of the Nano from a Dev Kit and use them in the Jetson Mate cluster.



Jetson Mate rear view (left) and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

The Jetson Mate is equipped with a GbE port and a Microchip KSZ9896CTXC 5-port Gigabit switch that enables the four Jetson modules to communicate with each other. There is one master node and 3x peripheral worker nodes, all using SODIMM slots. Each is connected to its own dedicated USB 3.0 port and the master node is also linked to a USB 2.0 port. The peripheral nodes can all be powered on or off separately.


Jetson Mate detail portside detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The 110 x 110mm carrier board is further equipped with dual MIPI-CSI interfaces, an HDMI port, a debug UART, a wake button, and a USB Type-C port for power input. A 12V fan interface connects to the bundled, top-mounted fan, which lights up like a disco light with colored LEDs. The reverse view image above also shows an internal fan.

We read about the Jetson Mate on Tom’s Hardware, which notes that the free case provided with the carrier is a version of the enclosure used on Seeed’s Gemini Lake based Odyssey – X86J4105864 SBC. The kit does not include an Ethernet cable or power supply. The Nano modules require a 65W adapter and the Xavier NX set-up needs a 90W adapter.

 
Further information

The Jetson Mate is available on pre-order for $199, with shipments due in January. More information may be found on Seeed’s Jetson Mate shopping page and wiki, which offers instructions on building a Kubernetes cluster.
 

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2 responses to “$199 kit clusters four Jetson Nano or NX modules”

  1. How can you put 5 Jetson Nanos in the Jetson Mate when there are only 4 slots?

  2. Jeff Child, Chief Editor- LinuxGizmos says:

    Thanks for the catch billg.
    We have made the correction.

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