Russia to ditch Intel, AMD in favor of homegrown ‘Baikal’ chips; will use GNU/Linux


Is it yet another cold war that we are entering into? Russia’s deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin announced in May that the country will reject a U.S. request to use the International Space Station (ISS) after 2020 in retaliation for trade sanctions imposed due to the Ukraine crisis. And now, the Russian government is reportedly preparing to move away Intel and AMD in favor of the domestically-produced Baikal microprocessor.

According to a Russian business newspaper, state departments and state-run companies have no plans to buy PCs built around Intel or AMD processors. Instead, beginning in 2015, the government will order some 700,000 personal computers annually worth $500 million and 300,000 servers worth $800 million based on the Baikal chip.

The overall government plan is to use GNU/Linux for all the systems.

The Baikal processors will be built by Moscow-based Baikal Electronics, a unit of T-Platforms, with funding coming from state-run tech firm Rosnano and defense giant Rostec. The first products will be Baikal M and M/S chips, designed on the basis of 64-bit nucleus Cortex A-57 made by UK company ARM, with frequency of 2 gigahertz for personal computers and micro servers. The overall government plan is to use GNU/Linux for all the systems, the report said.

How do you think the U.S. government would react to this move by Russia, which is all prepared to live without Western technology?

Monika Bhati
Formerly a senior assistant editor at EFY, Monika loves disseminating what she absorbs through her journey as a writer. She is fascinated by science and technology, and Paulo Coelho, homemaking and games are among some of her deep passions. When she’s not writing for the site, you can find her spending quality time with her two lovely daughters.
  • Pierre

    in all reality, the Russian Gov’t is probably being quite smart,
    in reducing it’s reliance on US based technology.
    – China should do the same.

    • Juan

      agreed. with the NSA revelations, why should the Russian government buy anything from the U.S.?

    • brwtx

      Yes, I just wish we Americans would ditch the Russian rockets and all of the stuff we have built in China as well.

    • usetheguillotine

      Yes, China is well on their way already.

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  • Tuxavant

    As an American, I can’t wait to get out from under the microscope of my authoritarian government by also dumping Intel/AMD and using one of these hawt Russian Linux computers. I just hope I can get it shipped to me without having it visit one of those NSA loading benches.

    • Adam Elteto

      Hmmm. If it is getting importe from another continent, what makes you think it has not been on someone else’s bench?

  • leandro g faria corcete dutra

    russia is quite competent, but it still seems a tall order. if they had already migrated to free software and it was just a question of a new processor architecture, i would not doubt so much.

  • bedrockq

    switching to linux ok sounds great. very doable and other governments have done just that. switching to an arm based processor for everything including servers. good luck with that. don’t see it happening in this lifetime. there is over 30 years of engineering in intel/amd hardware. you are not going to switch everything over just like that and run more than a few things.

    desktop stuff could theoretically work since we already have things like android running on arm with many desktop type apps but it’s still going to be a stretch. servers just aren’t going to happen. total absolute 100% bluff or they just don’t know better.

    • usetheguillotine

      several linux distributions have already been ported to arm architecture – the most consumer oriented platform is the raspberry pi. server software is not a significant issue. there is precious little software that is architecture dependent. clearly, the russians have friendly connections to silicon fabs in china, where several arm licensees currently manufacture.

      • bedrockq

        lol….you are not going to run government on Raspberry Pi…Haha!

        • usetheguillotine

          In case you don’t know: Raspberry Pi uses ARM architecture and has multiple Linux distributions available. ARM has standard support from leading Linux distributors, like Red Hat, Ubuntu and others. Therefore, any compatible architecture machine, including 8-core 2 Ghz processors can also run standard Linux – while sipping only a few watts from their power supplies. Don’t knock Raspberry Pi, it enabled an entire universe of alternate architecture machines.

    • Adam Elteto

      “Look how much effort it was for the city of Munich to switch to Linux.”

      Yes, not to mention having to repel Ballmer at the gates!

  • drew

    I’m stoked because it could mean more competition that could drive the already dirt-cheap ARM processors down even further. There’s already a lot of interesting sub-$100 ARM SOCs and this could mean even more.

  • Socksmusicalcat

    Thought this might be interesting, then I read that Baikal’s processors are just ARM clones. Oh well, if they wanna make ARM into a desktop platform, then all the more power to them. Good luck keeping compatibility with the rest of the world.

    • PiratesCanDIAF

      There is no such thing as an ARM clone given the nature of ARM cpus. ARM Ltd. creates the specs for each version then license it out and other OEMs create the chips. IE there is no ARM branded cpu but instead you have Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, NVIDIA, and other ARM chips.

  • Jonathan Lyng

    This isn’t a reduction of reliance on Western tech, it’s using ARM, it’s doing the exact same thing as Apple or Samsung!

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