Russian octacore processor schedule slips

March 14, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Fabless chip company Baikal Electronics JSC (Moscow, Russia) has revealed more detail of its Baikal-M octacore processor but also that the timetable for its delivery has slipped.

Baikal, founded in 2012, has Russian computer firm T-Platforms as a parent and is delivering its first chip, the sub-5W Baikal-T1. This is a dual-core processor based on MIPS P5600 cores aimed at WiFi routers and home gateways.

A year ago the company announced that its second chip, the Baikal-M, would be based on ARMv8-A architecture cores (see   Russia's Baikal reveals ARM processor roadmap ) and that engineering samples of this component were expected to arrive in the second half of 2016.

At the Embedded World Show taking place in Nuremburg, Germany, March 14 through 16, Baikal said the chip will include four pairs of Cortex-A57 cores with shared L2 cache. This would appear to make it suitable for little-big architecture clocking. The chip will also include an eight-core Mali T628 for graphics. The L2 caches are of 4Mbytes and an L3 cache of 8Mbyte. It is expected to achieve a clock frequency of 2GHz.

However, the chip has yet to tape out and this implies samples in the 2H17 at the earliest.

There will be hardware virtualization and ARM TrustZone support throughout the SoC as well as a  rich set of interfaces including two 10Gbit and two 1Gbit Ethernet, SATA, USB, and dual-channel 64-bit DDR3/DDR4 interface with ECC.

The Baikal-M is suitable for desktop computers, microservers, or demanding embedded applications, Baikal said. Baikal is targeting the design at the same TSMC 28HPC process (28nm CMOS) that it has used for its Baikal-T1 dual-core processor.

Mikhail Bessonov, business development engineer with Baikal said the T1 is acquiring design wins in Russia where the hardware virtualization improves security and makes the chip suitable for IoT and network-embedded equipment. "We have more than 100 companies in Russia that received development boards or samples. But typically for Russian companies the volumes are small," he said.

Which explains why Baikal unlike some its Russian predecessors are taking a more international approach and attending