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Russia was on the way to having some pretty good Arm SoC

by on17 October 2022

And then Tsar Putin invaded Ukraine

Russian chip maker Baikal Electronics was halfway to having an SoC series from eight cores to 48 before Tsar Putin invaded Ukraine and crippled the entire industry.

Before the inevitable sanctions were handed down, Baikal had made prototypes with TSMC. Pictures have ended up in the paws of a Russian enthusiast who's shared them with Fritchens Fritz, a tremendously talented chip photographer.

The server SoC was dubbed the BE-S1000 and had 48 Arm Cortex-A75 cores. It features a 2 GHz all-core clock and a 120W TDP. It was manufactured on the TSMC 16FFC node and measures in at an enormous 607 mm2.

In a ring around the SoC center, it has 12 compute clusters that each contain four cores and four 512 KB blocks of L3 cache. Each core contains its own 512 KB of L2 cache and two 64 KB blocks of L1 cache. In the middle of the SoC is a four-by-four grid of 2 MB blocks of L4 cache that sum up to 32 MB. Across the whole processor there are 24 MB of L3 and L2 cache and 6 MB of L1 cache: 86 MB in total, shared between 48 cores.

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Benchmarks showed that the S1000 could face of with the 20-core Intel Xeon Gold 6148, 16-core AMD Epyc 7351, and 48-core Huawei Kunpeng 920. So basically the Russians were close to the AMD and Intel CPUs but only 85 per cent as fast as Huawei's rather similar Arm-based SoC.

This gave the S1000 an impressive 14,246 points in the Geekbench 5 multi-core test, putting it on par with the Ryzen 7 5900X. In the SPEC CPU 2017 integer and floating point benchmarks it scores 76.6 points and 68.7 points, respectively, placing it in the territory of the 5800X.

While Baikal seems to have had it slated for arrival in Russian markets for either this year or next, TSMC will not make the SoC because of the sanctions so it is pretty much dead in the water.

Ironically, if this chip had come out it would have begun to look like Russia could have had a self sufficient chip industry in a decade or two. Still at least Russian has some failed 19th century-style imperialism instead. 


Last modified on 17 October 2022
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