Russian Government Orders The Development Of Homegrown ARM Chips

Russia © Alexey Usov Shutterstock 2012

The 64-bit Baikal M and M/S processors are meant to replace Intel and AMD inside public sector computers

The Russian government has contracted three domestic companies to design a series of 64-bit processors based on ARM architecture.

According to Russian news service ITAR-TASS, the new chips are meant to replace competing products from Intel and AMD, at least inside government PCs and servers.

The processors will be named Baikal, after one of the largest lakes in the world, located in south Siberia.

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The processor project is managed by Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry. The technology will be developed by T-Platforms, a Russian supercomputing company, with support from state-owned Rostec. Nanotechnology specialist Rusnano will invest part of the necessary funds.

ARM-Cortex-A15-chipRussian daily Kommersant suggests that the project could end up costing tens of millions of dollars.

The chips will be manufactured using the 28nm process – a standard for the current generation silicon. The first products to emerge from the project will be the Baikal M and M/S chips, based on the 64-bit Cortex A-57, one of the highest performing processor designs from Cambridge-based ARM, oeprating at a frequency of 2GHz.

Baikal M and M/S will be used inside both personal computers and micro servers.

According to ITAR-TASS, the Russian government buys around 700,000 PCs every year at the cost of approximately $500 million, and 300,000 servers worth around $800 million.

It’s not currently clear which operating system the Russians plan to use. The only version of Windows capable of running on ARM processors is Windows RT, a stripped-down, backwards-incompatible operating system that was originally created for Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet.

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