A Russian company has announced a motherboard for storage systems with a 48-core processor from Baikal Electronics. C-newsHowever, there are some “nuances” with that system board. First, it is based on a sample version of the non-mass-produced Baikal S processor. Second, it is the only system in existence and it is highly unlikely that another will be created. Third, they are made to be almost unusable. But let’s dive into the details.
Eliptech, which was part of Sber, one of Russia’s largest state-owned banks and cloud service providers, has developed a motherboard based on the BE-S1000 server-grade system-on-chip with 48 Arm Cortex-A75s . 2.50 GHz core at 120W. The SoC has six 72-bit memory interfaces, five PCIe 4.0 x16 (4×4) interfaces, one USB 2.0 controller, two 1GbE interface, and various general-purpose I/O. While this might look good on paper, it’s unlikely to make it onto the list of best CPUs for workstations.
Given the fairly rich input/output capabilities of the Baikal BE-S1000 SoC, Eliptech’s ET113-MB motherboard can support a fairly large number of storage devices. This is two PCIe 4.0 x4 SSDs and multiple SATA hard drives or solid state drives. Since the motherboard has four U.2 connectors, there are some restrictions on expansion capabilities.
there is a limit
The motherboard appears to come in the SSI MEB form factor. So you could theoretically build on both a server/storage system and a workstation, but when it comes to 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives, you’re limited to the number of bays your case has.
Another limitation is that the three U.2 connectors for SSDs are placed outside the motherboard. This can limit its use in desktop space. As for the SATA connectors (there are three of them), it indicates that an L-shaped plug is used, which also suggests desktop use.
The motherboard, on the other hand, has multiple slots for add-in boards, but they are simply positioned in such a way that most add-in cards cannot be installed without removing the bracket. On the other hand, the motherboard has an audio connector, suggesting it could be used to build a desktop workstation. However, it’s not clear how to use a desktop workstation without a graphics card.
This goes back to the platform’s claimed purpose of being the base for storage devices. Such applications do not need audio connectors at all. You can still use expansion cards without brackets, at least in theory. Again, the L-shaped SATA connector is not exactly intended for rack/server form factors.
Which brings us back to the fact that this may be the only motherboard with a Baikal BE-S1000 processor. This his SoC was to be manufactured by TSMC with his 16FFC manufacturing technology. However, due to sanctions against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this CPU will not ship to Baikal Electronics. Russia’s own semiconductor production capacity is limited to thick film process technology.
Given the fact that few chips can be shipped from Taiwan to Russia, the question arises: “How did the 16FFC-based Baikal BE-S1000 chip get?” This question probably remains unanswered.
Russia’s inability to supply dedicated hardware for military missions is reportedly well offset by its extensive chip procurement process. Reuters We will be back in December. Large-scale operations have included Hong Kong and Turkey, and what was spotted by the highly respected news agency is, to say the least, the tip of the iceberg.
Despite all the sanctions, Russia is a huge country (over 140 million people) and a big economy that can spend huge amounts of money on almost everything. Nvidia H100 type chips can hardly be funded, but there are deep pockets for something like the BE-S1000.