Russian Arm SoC now shipping in Russian PCs running Russian Linux

How much work can you do with eight Arm Cortex-A57 cores? Russia's government and military may be about to find out


Russian fabless semiconductor company Baikal is celebrating after local PC-maker IRU started using its silicon in a workstation.

Baikal designs SoCs that employ Arm and MIPS technology. On the latter architecture, it offers the twin-core Baikal-T that it says is the "first silicon implementation of the MIPS P5600 CPU core with a wide range of high-speed interfaces".

The model-T is said to be ideal for storage, industrial automation, communications devices, and desktops.

However, it's Baikal's model-M that got the nod from IRU. The SoC uses eight Arm Cortex-A57 cores that run at up to 1.5GHz, an eight-core Mali-T628 GPU, dual-channel DDR3/4 support, 4MB L2 cache and 8MB L3 cache, PCIe 3, USB 3.0 and 2.0, and four Ethernet controllers – two at 10GB and the others at 1GB.

By way of comparison, the A57 is a predecessor of the A72, which is found in the quad-core Broadcom BCM2711 SoC used in the Raspberry Pi 4. The A72 uses rather less power and is speedier than the A57. Those changes make the Pi 4 a decent all-day desktop, but hardly a high-performance screamer. Indeed, the BCM2711 fares poorly in comparison with Intel's Core i3 silicon.

The IRU Opal and Agat PCs

The IRU Opal and Agat PCs. Click to enlarge

Curiously, IRU's web site is devoid of information about the new workstations. Baikal states that IRU offers its silicon inside a micro tower and small form factor device.

Whatever form factor you fancy, the workstations offer up to 32GB of RAM and storage options ranging from one to three terabytes.

The devices run Astra Linux, a distribution designed to be secure enough for use by Russian government and military users, in accordance with a 2010 decree requiring use of open products. Baikal said all software installed on the machines is approved by Russia's Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications and Ministry of Industry and Trade. The company also suggests one of the two models, named "Agat", as offering everything a civil servant needs to get through their day.

Another model – "Opal" – is suggested for general use.

Neither Baikal nor IRU has been kind enough to name a price for the Arm-powered hardware. And as we mentioned above, IRU hasn't bothered to mention them, never mind offer them for sale.

Such gripes aside, the machines reflect Russia's desire to be less dependent on technology sourced from its antagonists in the West. The new workstations' modest specs suggest that ambition comes at a price on the desktop. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • GPL legal battle: Vizio told by judge it will have to answer breach-of-contract claims
    Fine-print crucially deemed contractual agreement as well as copyright license in smartTV source-code case

    The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has won a significant legal victory in its ongoing effort to force Vizio to publish the source code of its SmartCast TV software, which is said to contain GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 copyleft-licensed components.

    SFC sued Vizio, claiming it was in breach of contract by failing to obey the terms of the GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 licenses that require source code to be made public when certain conditions are met, and sought declaratory relief on behalf of Vizio TV owners. SFC wanted its breach-of-contract arguments to be heard by the Orange County Superior Court in California, though Vizio kicked the matter up to the district court level in central California where it hoped to avoid the contract issue and defend its corner using just federal copyright law.

    On Friday, Federal District Judge Josephine Staton sided with SFC and granted its motion to send its lawsuit back to superior court. To do so, Judge Staton had to decide whether or not the federal Copyright Act preempted the SFC's breach-of-contract allegations; in the end, she decided it didn't.

    Continue reading
  • US brings first-of-its-kind criminal charges of Bitcoin-based sanctions-busting
    Citizen allegedly moved $10m-plus in BTC into banned nation

    US prosecutors have accused an American citizen of illegally funneling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country.

    It's said the resulting criminal charges of sanctions busting through the use of cryptocurrency are the first of their kind to be brought in the US.

    Under the United States' International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEA), it is illegal for a citizen or institution within the US to transfer funds, directly or indirectly, to a sanctioned country, such as Iran, Cuba, North Korea, or Russia. If there is evidence the IEEA was willfully violated, a criminal case should follow. If an individual or financial exchange was unwittingly involved in evading sanctions, they may be subject to civil action. 

    Continue reading
  • Meta hires network chip guru from Intel: What does this mean for future silicon?
    Why be a customer when you can develop your own custom semiconductors

    Analysis Here's something that should raise eyebrows in the datacenter world: Facebook parent company Meta has hired a veteran networking chip engineer from Intel to lead silicon design efforts in the internet giant's infrastructure hardware engineering group.

    Jon Dama started as director of silicon in May for Meta's infrastructure hardware group, a role that has him "responsible for several design teams innovating the datacenter for scale," according to his LinkedIn profile. In a blurb, Dama indicated that a team is already in place at Meta, and he hopes to "scale the next several doublings of data processing" with them.

    Though we couldn't confirm it, we think it's likely that Dama is reporting to Alexis Bjorlin, Meta's vice president of infrastructure hardware who previously worked with Dama when she was general manager of Intel's Connectivity group before serving a two-year stint at Broadcom.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022