Russian-Based Baikal 48-Core CPU Emerges, Showing Optimistic Performance

A sample of the 48-core BE-S1000 server-grade system-on-chip (SoC) from Baikal Electronics was obtained by Twitter user Fritzchens Fritz who then examined it under an infrared microscope to see what was inside. Additionally, the SoC’s benchmark results have been made public.

For various devices, Baikal Electronics has created a number of system-on-chips to swap out Russian-made x86 CPUs from PCs and other computing appliances. The BE-S1000 server-grade SoC with 48 Arm Cortex-A75 cores, which the company managed to tape out and produce the first sample of using TSMC’s 16FFC fabrication technology, should have been the apex of the company’s design capabilities, but which will never be commercially released due to international sanctions.

Image: Baikal via FritzchensFritz

The symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) configurations for the Baikal BE-S1000 SoC’s FCLGA-3467 packaging include one, two, and four processors. Since the processor only uses roughly 120W of power, no elaborate cooling systems are needed. The SoC’s die size, which is around 607mm2, is comparable to that of Nvidia’s AD102 graphics processor. 

The BE-S1000 processor also has five PCIe 4.0 x16 (4×4) interfaces, a USB 2.0 controller, two 1GbE interfaces, various general purpose I/O, and six 72-bit memory interfaces supporting up to 768 GB of DDR4-3200 with ECC memory in total (i.e., 128GB per channel). The SoC also includes a coherent mesh network connection.

In marketing efforts made available by Locuza, Baikal positioned its BE-S1000 against the 16-core EPYC 7351 (2.90 GHz) from AMD, the 20-core Xeon Gold 6148 from Intel, and the 48-core Kunpeng 920 from Huawei. Regarding performance, according to Baikal’s slides, the BE-S1000, which was planned to launch in 2022–2023, would significantly exceed Intel’s Xeon Gold 6148 (from 2017) in a variety of benchmarks. 

Image: Locuza

Overall, even though the Baikal BE-S1000 appears to have been a valiant attempt to create a server-grade SoC that may have replaced AMD and Intel processors in some servers, the device would have been released too late and slower than then-current CPUs from the x86 camp.

This might have been avoided if the price had been correct (at least for some cases). The BE-S1000 will only ever exist as an intriguing relic in laboratories as a result of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine.


Muhammad Zuhair

Passionate about technology and gaming content, Zuhair focuses on analysing information and then presenting it to the audience.
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