The move, reported in local media, could dent the business of x86 processor makers in Russia.


Government computers in Russia may soon be running on the ARM architecture that is today best known for powering mobile devices. Asccording to recent local reports, the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry wants to ditch Intel and AMD’s x86-based chips for an upcoming generation of Linux-based computers.

The new “Baikal” processors will be built by Moscow-based Baikal Electronics, a division of supercomputer-maker T-Platforms, with funding coming from tech firm Rosnano and defense giant Rostec, both of which are state-run. The first iterations, slated to appear from early 2015, will use ARM’s Cortex A-57 design and run at 2GHz. They will be manufactured using the 28nm process and used in both PCs and servers.

According to Kommersant, Russian government bodies and state-run companies buy 700,000 PCs and 300,000 servers a year, at values of $500 million and $300 million, respectively.

Some are interpreting this switch away from U.S. vendors as a product of concerns over U.S. espionage, perhaps due to suspicions of hardware backdoors. If that’s correct, then Russia is joining China in a pushback that may have as much to do with boosting local vendors as it does with state security. As it happens, Russia does not have the facilities to manufacture processors using the 28nm process, so production of the Baikal chips will probably have to happen somewhere like Taiwan.

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  1. Don’t you mean Rusnano, not Rosnano?

  2. I’ve been hearing more and more about the use of ARM cpus in the enterprise. Research shows feature parity with Intel AMD x86 when running Debian based OS for servers.

  3. This is about nationalizing a business, not about anything else. By using ARM, Russia can ensure its nationally socialistic oligarchs have direct single-bid authority in government buying contracts. Russia just banned AMD and Intel from government computers, but it also ensured government employees are going to quit Windows… cold turkey. At least it won’t be just the winters that are cold in Siberia.

  4. Kevin OConnor Thursday, June 26, 2014

    “…the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry wants to ditch Intel and AMD’s x86-based chips for an upcoming generation of Linux-based computers.”

    And the stampede away from Microsoft is picking up speed.
    Dumping the chips as well ? Yeah , that’s what you get for bugging the hardware. They’re dumping the hardware too.