Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX

Date of introduction:  February 25, 2011
 Available: May 2011
Display technology:  LCD dot matrix
 16-bit color, backlit
New price:  $154.99 (SRP 2011)
 $165.00 (SRP 2013)
Display size:  240 * 320 pixels 
Size:  7.5" x 3.4" x 0.65"
 190 x 87 x 16 mm3
Weight:  8.5 ounces, 242 grams Serial No:  2088012637 
Batteries:  3.7L1230SP Li-Ion Date of manufacture:  mth 08 year 2011 (C)
AC-Adapter:  AC9211U Origin of manufacture:  China (P)
Precision:  14 Integrated circuits:  CPU: ET-NS2010B-0 (T6UJ1XBG-0002)
 SDRAM and Flash MCP: Samsung K511F12ACA
Program steps:  64M Bytes, 100M Bytes Flash ROM Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

Texas Instruments introduced at the 2011 T3 International Conference held on February 25-27 in San Antonio, TX with the TI-Nspire CX and TI-Nspire CX CAS their first graphing calculators with full color, backlit displays. Since its introduction in 2007 the original TI-Nspire with Clickpad received quite some criticism and it took just two steps in evolution to overcome them completely:

Step 1:
• Crowded, confusing keyboard: Introduction of the TI-Nspire with Touchpad in April 2010.
• High consumption of disposable AAA batteries: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery available as
    option for the TI-Nspire with Touchpad.

Step 2:

• Low-contrast of the display and rather bulky housing: Announcement of the TI-Nspire CX in February 2011.
• Lack of 3D graphing: Upgrade of all TI-Nspire calculators to Operating System 3.0 (April 2011).

But there is no free lunch, the new TI-Nspire CX handhelds shed some size and reveals an outstanding design but the concept of replaceable keyboards are gone – and with it the TI-84 Plus compatibility.

The TI-Nspire CX and its sibling TI-Nspire CX CAS feature a 16-bit, 320 x 240 backlit display capable of 65,536 colors. The scanning process used for the images provided by the Datamath Calculator Museum can’t reproduce the one-of-a-kind quality of the calculator screen and we had to invest in some new equipment to photograph it accordingly.

Casio introduced already in October 1985 with the fx-7000G the world’s first graphing calculator and created in 1996 with the CFX-9850G a variation with a 3-color screen, but it took till January 2011 to reveal with the Casio Prizm (fx-CG10, fx-CG20) the first models with a high-resolution (384 x 216 pixels) full color display.

Dismantling this TI-Nspire CX manufactured in August 2011 by Inventec Corporation in its Pudong Campus in Shanghai, China reveals a very compact design based on just two printed circuit boards (PCBs) with just a few main Integrated Circuits. The Date code P-0811C of the featured TI-Nspire CX refers to Revision C, also known as Firebird Color or original design. Texas Instruments introduced in March 2013 with Revision J the first major redesign of the TI-Nspire CX, known as NSC CR (Cost reduction) and in April 2014 with Revision O the second redesign known as NSC CR II, followed in October 2014 with Revision T, known as NSC CR III. Texas Instruments changed in November 2015 the design of the hardware completely and Revision W, known as NSC CR IV, consolidated all electronics of the TI-Nspire CX onto one PCB and increased teh CPU speed from 132 MHz to 156 MHz. Since April 2016 we know NSC CR VI (Revision Y) and in March 2017 NSC CR VII (Revision AA) was introduced, both sporting a new ASIC with an ET-LC2015C (T6UJ1XBG-0003) marking.

Processor: The ARM9 CPU is integrated into an ASIC with the markings ET-NS2010B-0 (T6UJ1XBG-0002), obviously from Toshiba, Japan. The ARM9 core is clocked with 132 MHz compared to the 90 MHz of the previous TI-Nspire. Learn more about the Hardware Architecture of TI’s Graphing Calculators. Based on observations from the original TI-Nspire and the above mentioned Revision W (NSC CR IV), we assume that the ASIC incorporates a ROM with a capacity of 128k Bytes used for the first-stage bootloader ("Boot 1") and a SRAM with a capacity of 128k Bytes.

Memory: Both the NAND Flash-ROM and the SDRAM with are integrated into a Multichip Package with the part designation Samsung K511F12ACA-B075. Deciphering the part number reveals the capacity of the Flash-ROM (128M Bytes) and SDRAM (32M x 16 bits):

• Product Family K5 = Samsung MCP (2 chips)
• Device Type 1 = NAND Flash Rom + Mobile SDR
• NAND Flash Density, Organization 1F = 1 Gbit, x8
• RAM Density, Organization 12 = 512 Mbit, x16
• Operating Voltage A = 1.8V NAND, 1.8V DRAM
• Flash Block Architecture C = Uniform block
• Version A = 2nd Generation
• Package Type B = FBGA
• NAND Flash Speed 0 = None
• RAM Speed 75 = 7.5 ns (133MHz@CL3)

Texas Instruments announced together with the TI-Nspire CX family a new Wireless Network Adapter to connect the calculators with the TI-Nspire Navigator system. A huge progress compared with the previous TI-Nspire Wireless Cradle used for the original TI-Nspire calculators.

The TI-Nspire CX Docking Station charges up to 10 units in 6 hours. It can also be used to update the Operating Systems of the calculators.

The new TI-Nspire Operating System 3.0 allows not only 3D graphing but the import of real-world images to view, graph and analyze for example the outline of the path of a basketball. The new OS is compatible with the original TI-Nspire calculators, too. Obviously it will display color images only in grayscale. The new TI-Nspire Lab Cradle requires the new Operating System 3.0 (introduced in May 2011) or higher.

To reduce theft of school-owned TI-Nspire CX's a "school bus yellow" edition is available.

Texas Instruments introduced in 2019 the successor of the TI-Nspire CX family with a 2 ½ times faster processor, don't miss the TI-Nspire CX II and TI-Nspire CX II CAS.


• TI-Nspire CX (May 2011)
Boot1 Code Version: 3.0.99
Boot2 Code Version: 3.0.127 (September 2011) (June 2012) (June 2012) (December 2012)


You can check the ROM version of your TI-Nspire CX using the following key sequence and reading the number on your screen:

[HOME] [5] [4] (3.0)

Exam acceptance:

Since the TI-Nspire CX lacks a QWERTY keyboard it is permitted (as of March 10, 2011) for use on SAT, ACT, PSAT and AP exams.


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© Joerg Woerner, May 31, 2013. No reprints without written permission.