Hardware NVIDIA Jetson Nano Developer Kit - is it possible to use them like Nintendo Switches?


Well-Known Member
May 27, 2019
United States
I just managed to get one of these boards since last weekend (it retails for $99, without any accessories); more details about this single-board computer can be found at https://developer.nvidia.com/embedded/jetson-nano-developer-kit. The board + DDR4-style module looks like:

Here are this board's specs:
  • GPU: 128-core Maxwell
  • CPU: Quad-core ARM A57 @ 1.43 GHz, 64-bit capable
  • Memory: 4 GB 64-bit LPDDR4 25.6 GB/s
  • Storage: microSD (not included, slot located on module); production versions of the module ship with 16GB eMMC 5.1 instead, and those cost $129
  • Video Encode: 4K @ 30 | 4x 1080p @ 30 | 9x 720p @ 30 (H.264/H.265)
  • Video Decode: 4K @ 60 | 2x 4K @ 30 | 8x 1080p @ 30 | 18x 720p @ 30 (H.264/H.265)
  • Camera: 1x MIPI CSI-2 DPHY lanes
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, M.2 Key E
  • Display: HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4
  • USB: 4x USB 3.0, USB 2.0 Micro-B
  • Others: GPIO, I2C, I2S, SPI, UART
  • Mechanical: 69 mm x 45 mm, 260-pin edge connector
  • Audio: HDMI/DisplayPort; USB adapters can also be used
  • Power: 5V 2A microUSB, 5V 2A - 4A DC barrel jack
  • AI Performance: 472 GFLOPs
Compared to the Nintendo Switch, one thing that I recall is that this kit's module has 128 GPU cores instead of the 256 in the former. The form factors and the connectors exposed are completely different, due to the different intended usage scenarios.
I bring up this board as I feel that this single-board computer is the most closely-related to the Nintendo Switch hardware. L4T Ubuntu provided by NVIDIA is the primary OS used on this board (similar to the L4T Ubuntu efforts for the Nintendo Switch, but not tailored for those consoles). This makes it possible to develop and test Switch homebrew on very similar hardware, but not all functionality can be tested.
What I dream to see: Use an NVIDIA Jetson Nano Developer Kit as if it was a Nintendo Switch, albeit without all functionality. Especially with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as they can only be added with an M.2 Key E card (underneath the module). I know that there's bootloader security that isn't active on these computers, no info built into the CPU that holds unique console information, and any RCM payloads would have to be rewritten to use this hardware. There is also no game cartridge slot, so loading and playing games can only be done with digital files, unless the GPIO pins can be repurposed. There is no place to charge and use Joy-Cons, so they can only be used with Bluetooth, and they must be charged with a separate device, also unless the GPIO pins can be repurposed. CFW can bypass some of these limitations, but only if they can run completely off of a microSD card.
If I hear that my dream is possible, carry on. If not, I will simply turn my kit into another one of my portable computers I can take with me in place of a laptop.

hippy dave

Apr 30, 2012
United Kingdom
People have talked about these on Reswitched, opinion seems to be that they can be useful for really low-level development for Switch stuff, but don't expect to see Horizon or games running on them.
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