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Nano-iTX carrier for Jetson TX2 offers mini-PCIe add-ons

Apr 13, 2017 — by Eric Brown 4,222 views

Aetina’s Nano-ITX “ACE-N620” carrier board for Nvidia’s Linux-driven Jetson TX2 and TX1 modules offers optional mini-PCIe expansion cards from Innodisk.

Aetina’s Nano-ITX form-factor ACE-N620 carrier board offers some more development options for Nvidia’s Jetson TX2 COM, as well as its earlier, pin-compatible Jetson TX1. Already, Connect Tech has released three carrier boards for the Jetson TX2 and TX1, and Auvidea is prepping a J140 carrier for the Nvidia Tegra-based modules.

ACE-N260 front and rear views

The 120 x 120mm ACE-N260 is designed for applications including AI, security, drones, autonomous robots, and mobile medical devices. Aetina offers its hardened iNAVI version of Linux optimized for the Jetson modules (see farther below).

The ACE-N260 stands out from the Connect Tech and Auvidea carriers by offering a pair of mini-PCIe slots that can be fitted with optional, driver-supported Innodisk peripheral cards. Connect Tech’s Pixhawk drone-focused Spacely and GigE Vision enabled Cogswell boards each offer a single mini-PCIe slot, while its basic, $99 Sprocket model has none.


Aetina and Connect Tech have teamed up before on a Tegra-based embedded board. Connect Tech’s CMG601, an Ubuntu-driven COM Express Compact Type 6 module featuring a Tegra K1, was built by Aetina. There appears to be no collaboration on the Jetson carriers, however.

ACE-N260 coastline ports

The ACE-N260 is equipped with a GbE port, microSD slot, a USB 3.0 port, a micro-USB 2.0 port, and a serial port. For displays, you get a HDMI port, as well as an eDP header. The board also supplies a MIPI-CSI interface, 12V DC jack and a fan connector. The product page twice mentions -20 to 70°C support, although the spec sheet only lists 0 to 55°C.

One of the two full-size mini-PCIe slots supports PCIe and USB 2.0 while the other supports PCIe and mSATA. Available Innodisk mini-PCIe modules include:

  • CANbus — USB to 2x isolated CANBus 2.0B
  • RS232/422/485 — 4x RS232/422/485
  • DIO — USB to 32-bit DIO
  • USB 3.0 — 4x USB 3.0
  • GbE — 2x isolated Gigabit Ethernet
  • RS-232 — USB to 2x isolated RS-232

The ACE-N260 is available with Aetina’s iNAVI Customized Operating System, a tailor-made, customizable version of Linux designed for back-up system recovery and security. The distribution offers features like one-key system recovery from kernel or system, as well as tailor-made security control for hardware pairing at boot, says Aetina.

Jetson TX2 background

Nvidia’s Jetson TX2 module runs Linux4Tegra on a hexa-core Tegra Parker SoC with 256-core Pascal graphics, offering twice the performance and/or efficiency of the TX1. Tegra Parker adds two high-end “Denver 2” cores in addition to the four Cortex-A57 cores found on the Jetson TX1’s Tegra X1.

The TX2 offers 8GB of 58.3GB/s LPDDR4 RAM and 32GB of eMMC 5.1, both of which are twice the capacity of the TX1. Like the Jetson TX1, the Jetson TX2 communicates with carriers via a 400-pin connector, and offers a GbE controller, 802.11ac, Bluetooth, and support for up to 6x cameras.

Other continuing features include support for DisplayPort 1.2, eDP 1.4, and HDMI (now 2.0), as well as USB 3.0, micro-USB 2.0, SDIO, SATA, UART, SPI, I2C, I2S, and GPIO interfaces. You can run the module in an under 7.5 Watts Max-Q mode or crank up the performance with a high-power Max-P mode that runs at less than 15 Watts.

Further information

The ACE-N260 carrier board for the Jetson TX2 and TX1 appears to be available now at an undisclosed price. More information may found in Aetina’s ACE-N260 announcement and ACE-N260 product page.

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