TMSC delivers first batch of Russian-made Arm ICs

Why is it important: Russian company Baikal Electronics received its first batch of SoC Arm from TSMC this week. This was an important step towards the goal of the Russian government to create a self-sufficient electronics industry.

Baikal’s new processor, the second in history, is called the BE-M1000. It’s an octa-core Arm design with an emphasis on connectivity. The first production cycle of TSMC produced about 5000 chips, which were sent to Lake Baikal in one large and very expensive box.

Although 5,000 processors are not enough to attract market interest, especially from a company that has not established itself, Baikal claims to have already partnered with several systems integrators to produce computers that will be released within a few months.

Chief among them is iRU, the largest domestic system integrator in Russia. It’s recently announced plans to start selling office computers based on the BE-M1000 in the first quarter of 2022. The company’s lineup will include a series of laptops and small form factor PCs under the Opal brand, as well as a series of all-in-ones under the Agate brand.

iRU reports that they already have buyers, including large companies with a government contract. Thus, the computers will come preloaded with government-approved software, including Astra OS or Red OS based on Linux, Microsoft Office’s My Office alternative, and ViPNet SafeBoot security software.

Baikal expects to receive monthly shipments of 10,000 to 15,000 processors by the time iRU wants to sell its systems. Baikal had already hoped to be at this stage, but it was stopped by the continuing shortage of chips. This week’s deliveries were originally scheduled four months ago, but despite the setbacks, Baikal Electronics CEO Andrey Evdokimov says the company has processed the deficit is good.

“We managed to adapt to market conditions: we started working on organizing mass production almost two years ago and were able to book production lines in advance on time,” Evdokimov told the Russian website CNews. “Thus, we entered the crisis prepared. Our good relationship with major international suppliers throughout the entire production line helped us a lot. ”

Baikal has also capitalized on the use of a 28nm node in its design, which is less stressed than newer and more popular nodes.

V BE-M1000 contains eight Arm Cortex-A57 cores, clocked at 1.5 GHz. It has 4MB L2 cache and 8MB L3 cache. It also has eight Mali-T628 GPU cores clocked at 700-750 MHz. It has a TDP of 30-35W, although it can probably be customized.

The BE-M1000’s connectivity is more impressive than its performance. It has a dual channel memory controller supporting up to 32GB DDR3 or DDR4 and 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes. It can also support six USB ports, two 10Gbps Ethernet ports, and two 1Gbps Ethernet ports.

According to CNews, which verified an engineering sample of the processor from last year, it works similarly to the Intel Core i3-7300T. While this is not impressive performance, it is sufficient for the workloads the processor is targeting, and commendable in terms of Baikal’s very little experience in processor design.

Credit to masthead: Laura Ockel

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