A Russian company has now launched a motherboard for its “homegrown processor” Baikal-S for storage systems, and it looks pretty impressive, according to Cnews.
First of all, let’s talk about the Baikal-S (Baikal) processor, which was developed in Russia. This processor from the Russian company Baikal Electronics has 48 cores based on the Arm instruction set architecture (ISA).
Its 48 cores have a baseline frequency of 2.0 GHz, a maximum acceleration of 2.5 GHz, a thermal design power consumption of 120 W, support for quad parallelism, and the integration of a RISC-V architecture co-processor, also developed in-house, for secure boot and management, with performance roughly comparable to Intel Xeon Gold 6148 (20 cores @2.4 GHz) or AMD Skyline 7351 (16 cores @2.9 GHz).
Russian company Eliptech now offers a companion server motherboard, the ET113-MB, which provides six 72-bit storage interfaces, supports up to 768GB of DDR4-3200 ECC memory (128GB in a single channel), five PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, and offers a USB 2.0 controller, two Gigabit LAN ports, and three SATA and four U.2 and various other general purpose I/O ports.
While this product looks good on paper, it’s pretty much just symbolic. Because the Baikal-S1000 processor (manufactured using TSMC’s 16nm process) is no longer available in mass production due to geopolitical conflicts, the CPU used on this motherboard is still a non-mass production version.
Considering the extraordinary I/O capabilities of the Baikal BE-S1000 processor, it can support a considerable number of storage devices. However, the Eliptech ET113-MB motherboard has four U.2 ports, and they are all located on the outside, so the usefulness is somewhat limited.
At the same time, there are multiple slots for external boards on this motherboard, but they are a bit awkwardly positioned, so you won’t be able to install external card products unless you remove the bracket. The motherboard also has an audio connector, which means it can be used to create a desktop workstation, although it’s unclear how to use a desktop workstation without a graphics card.
From the looks of it, this motherboard uses the SSI MEB specification, which means it could theoretically be used for server/storage systems, but that’s debatable given the number of 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drives.