In context: Russian chip maker Baikal Electronics was halfway to having an SoC series that spanned from eight cores to 48 before Russia invaded Ukraine and invited sanctions that crippled its nascent semiconductor industry.
But before the sanctions were handed down, Baikal received several prototypes of its latest (and perhaps last) SoC from TSMC. Somehow, some of them have ended up in the hands of a Russian enthusiast who’s shared them with Fritchens Fritz, a tremendously talented chip photographer.
This monstrous system on a chip is the BE-S1000. It was designed for server applications and has 48 Arm Cortex-A75 cores. It features a 2 GHz all-core clock and a 120W TDP. It was manufactured on the TSMC 16FFC node and measures in at an enormous 607 mm2.
Annotations by Locuza and photograph by Fritzchens Fritz.
In a ring around the center of the SoC are 12 compute clusters that each contain four cores and four 512 KB blocks of L3 cache. Each core contains its own 512 KB of L2 cache and two 64 KB blocks of L1 cache. In the middle of the SoC is a four-by-four grid of 2 MB blocks of L4 cache that sum up to 32 MB. Across the whole processor there are 24 MB of L3 and L2 cache and 6 MB of L1 cache: 86 MB in total, shared between 48 cores.
Around the perimeter are the IO controllers. The left and right flanks house five PCIe 4.0 x16 controllers, three of which can double as CCIX 1.0 modules and enable 2-way and 4-way SMP (symmetric multiprocessing). At the top and bottom are six memory controllers that can each handle a 72-bit channel to 128 GB of DDR4-3200 with ECC, or 768 GB between them.
Baikal backs up that impressive spec sheet with some benchmark figures. It compares the S1000 in a few slides with the 20-core Intel Xeon Gold 6148, 16-core AMD Epyc 7351, and 48-core Huawei Kunpeng 920. It concludes that the SoC is approximately equivalent to the AMD and Intel CPUs but only 85% as fast as Huawei’s rather similar Arm-based SoC.
In raw numbers, the S1000 scores an impressive 14,246 points in the Geekbench 5 multi-core test, putting it on par with the Ryzen 7 5900X. In the SPEC CPU 2017 integer and floating point benchmarks it scores 76.6 points and 68.7 points, respectively, placing it in the territory of the 5800X.
It’s a shame that the S1000 will likely never reach the market. Baikal seems to have had it slated for arrival in Russian markets for either this year or next, but TSMC has almost certainly been forced to cancel or indefinitely delay Baikal’s orders because of the sanctions.
Baikal only took delivery of its first batch of processors from TSMC this time last year. It was just beginning to look like Russia’s bid to have a self-sufficient semiconductor industry could come to fruition within the next decade or two. Now it looks like that future will never come to pass, and all we’re left with are curious oddities like the BE-S1000.
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Mike Jennings / Foundry
Author: Ashley Biancuzzo, Associate Editor
Ashley is a professional writer and editor with a strong background in tech and pop culture. She has written for high traffic websites such as Polygon, Kotaku, StarWars.com, and Nerdist. In her off time, she enjoys playing video games, reading science fiction novels, and hanging out with her rescue greyhound.
Tesla finally delivers its first production Semi
Five years after CEO Elon Musk officially unveiled his Semi, Tesla’s electrified tractor trailer, the company delivered its first official production vehicle to Pepsi on Thursday during its “Semi Delivery Event” held at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory. The beverage maker has ordered 100 of the vehicles in total.
First shown off in 2017, the Tesla Semi originally was set to retail for $150,000 and $180,000 for the 300- and 500-mile versions, respectively. Those prices are significantly higher than the $60k a standard diesel cab runs but Tesla estimates that its vehicles can operate 20 percent more efficiently (2kWh per mile, Musk revealed Thursday), and save up to $250,000 over the million-mile life of the Semi.
Each rig is “designed like a bullet,” Musk said at the vehicle’s unveiling, and would come equipped with a massive 1MW battery pack. This reportedly offers a 20-second 0-60, which is impressive given that these vehicles are towing up to 80,000 pounds at a time, and a spent-to-80 percent charge time of just 30 minutes. The Semis are also outfitted with Enhanced Autopilot capabilities, as well as jackknife-mitigation systems, blind-spot sensors and data-logging for fleet management.
As reservations opened in 2017, Musk said at the time, deliveries would begin two short years later, in 2019. By April 2020, Tesla had officially pushed that delivery date back to 2021, citing production delays and supply chain issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, just two months after that, in May of 2020, Musk sent a company-wide email reading, “It’s time to go all out and bring the Tesla Semi to volume production. It’s been in limited production so far, which has allowed us to improve many aspects of the design,” as seen by CNBC. In the same email he confirmed that production would take place in Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory.
Cut to July, 2021, and the new delivery date has been pushed again, this time to 2022, citing both the ongoing global processor shortage and its own pandemic-limited battery production capability for the new 4680 style cells as contributing factors.
“We believe we remain on track to build our first Model Y vehicles in Berlin and Austin in 2021,” Musk said during the company’s Q2, 2021 investor call. “The pace of the respective production ramps will be influenced by the successful introduction of many new product and manufacturing technologies, ongoing supply-chain-related challenges and regional permitting.”
“To better focus on these factories, and due to the limited availability of battery cells and global supply chain challenges, we have shifted the launch of the Semi truck program to 2022,” he continued. Beginning in May of this year, Tesla started actively taking reservations again for a $20,000 deposit. “And first deliveries are now,” Musk said on Thursday before welcoming Kirk Tanner, CEO PepsiCo Beverages North America, and Steven Williams, CEO PepsiCo Foods North America, on stage for high fives and handshakes.
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