Russia to Replace US-made Microchips Intel and AMD with their Own Baikal Chips

According to a recent report coming from the press agency ITAR-TASS, Russia wants to replace US-made computer chips with local-made processors. The news comes after four years ago, Vladimir Putin said he wants all of the government’s computers to be replaced with Linux. And now it seems that Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry is making a step forward in this direction, looking to replace US microchips Intel and AMD with thr domestically-produced micro processor Baikal.

The report comes from the Russia business daily publication Kommersant which says that the project is worth a few dozens of millions of dollars. Development of the Baikal micro processor is said to start next year, and it will be designed by a unit of T-Platforms, which is a producer of supercomputers, along with support from state defense conglomerate Rostec. The name ‘Baikal’ is after the world’s most voluminous freshwater lake in the world and also the deepest one.

The first microchips, the Baikal M and M/S, will be based on the 64-bit nucleus Cortex A-57 made by ARM, having a frequency of 2 gigahertz for PCs and micro servers. This is quite a big deal for the Russian government, since it purchases annually around 700,000 personal computers that are used in government institutions and government-owned corporation, like Gazprom, Rosnano, Rosneft, Aeroflot and others.

The Russian government also spends a great deal of money on servers, as it shells out almost $800 million per year on more than 300, 000 servers. Thus, one of the reason for switching to domestically-produced microprocessors could be the decrease in costs, but it could also be influenced by the government’s concern over spying.

This is going to be a big hit for the big chipmakers from the US as part of their business is crucially dependent on its contractual ties with governments form all over the world. The first Baikal chips are said to make their way in early 2015, so the companies have time to rethink their strategy.

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