In the dynamic landscape of tech innovation, a fresh contender has emerged from Russia. Baikal Electronics, a processor manufacturing firm, has recently put its Baikal-S server processor to the test against industry titans, Intel and Huawei. The outcomes were a mixed bag, with the Russian chip’s performance trailing behind Huawei’s processor, yet surprisingly surpassing some of Intel’s older models in certain tests. This article will explore the intricacies of these benchmarks, the specifics of the processors in question, and the potential ramifications of these advancements on the Russian and Chinese markets.
Baikal Electronics, a semiconductor company without fabrication facilities, has set its sights on competing with industry heavyweights like Intel, a globally recognized CPU manufacturer, and Huawei. The company recently carried out a series of benchmarks, the results of which were shared with the Russian news platform, Cnews. The tests saw the Baikal-S server processor go head-to-head with Intel’s Xeon Gold 6230 and Huawei’s Kunpeng 920.
The Baikal-S comes with 48 Arm Cortex-A75 cores on a 16nm process node, boasting a 2 GHz base clock and a 2.5 GHz boost clock. On the other hand, the Kunpeng 920, specifically the 920-4826 model, is powered by 48 TaiShan v110 cores with a clock speed of 2.6 GHz. Interestingly, Baikal’s processor is based on an older process node compared to the Kunpeng 920’s more advanced 7nm TSMC HPC manufacturing process.
|Chip Model||Manufacturer||Year Introduced||Core Design||Number of Cores||Process||Clock Speed||Single-core Score (Geekbench 5)||Multi-core Score (Geekbench 5)|
|Baikal-S||Baikal Electronics||2021||Cortex-A75||48||TSMC 16-nm||2.0 GHz||405||14,246|
|Kunpeng 920||Huawei||2020||Taishan-v110||48||7-nm||2.6 GHz||N/A||N/A|
|Xeon Gold 6230||Intel||2019||Cascade-Lake||20||14-nm||2.1-3.9 GHz||1,058||9,165|
Intel’s Xeon Gold 6230 CPU, which was released in 2019, is a bit old and may not be the best match for the Baikal-S. It has only 20 cores (40 threads) and can run at speeds up to 2.1 GHz and 3.9 GHz. This is an improvement over the older 20-core Xeon Gold 6148 (Skylake) that Baikal Electronics used in an earlier comparison.
In a test called the CoreMark benchmark, the Kunpeng 920 was faster than the Baikal-S. It was up to 13% faster in a test that uses one thread and 23% faster in a test that uses multiple threads. But the Baikal-S did better than the Xeon Gold 6230 in this test, beating it by 43%.
The Stream benchmark is a test that measures how well a processor can handle memory. The Baikal-S did well in this test, delivering 34% more bandwidth than the Xeon Gold 6230. But the Kunpeng 920 did even better, scoring 33% higher than the Baikal-S.
The Linpack benchmark is a standard test used to rank the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers. In this test, the Xeon Gold 6230 was the top performer, beating both the Baikal-S and the Kunpeng 920. The Baikal-S did manage to outperform the Kunpeng 920 in this test, but only by a small margin of 8%.
In the 7-Zip compression tasks, the Kunpeng 920 outpaced the Baikal-S by a significant 73%. However, when it came to 7-Zip decompression tasks, the Baikal-S turned the tables on the Xeon Gold 6230, outperforming it by a substantial 67%. Despite this, the Baikal-S couldn’t keep up with the Kunpeng 920, which showed a massive 78% performance advantage over the Russian chip.
In the Geekbench 5 benchmark, the Xeon Gold 6230 showed a 112% higher single-core performance than the Baikal-S. Yet, the Russian chip managed to achieve an 80% higher multi-core score than the Xeon Gold 6230. This isn’t surprising as Intel’s processor has fewer than half the number of cores.
Despite these mixed results, Baikal Electronics remains hopeful about the future of its products. The company is currently developing a two-socket configuration and a quad-socket design. Moreover, they have already started work on the Baikal-S2, a next-generation 6nm chip. This new chip will have 28 Arm Neoverse-N2 cores running at 3 GHz and will support up to eight channels of DDR5 memory. Baikal Electronics plans to release the Baikal-S2 between the second and third quarter of 2025, with the promise of performance improvements up to six times that of the Baikal-S.
Baikal Electronics’ entry into the processor market could have a significant impact on the Russian and Chinese markets. The company’s ability to produce a chip that can hold its own against industry giants, even with mixed results, shows the potential for growth and innovation in the Russian tech industry. The competition between the Baikal-S and Huawei’s Kunpeng 920 could also drive advancements in the Chinese market.
However, it’s crucial to note that Baikal Electronics’ products are currently not in a position to compete with Intel, AMD, or even Huawei on a global scale. The company’s results support this. Yet, the development and improvement of the Baikal-S and the upcoming Baikal-S2 indicate a promising future for the company and the Russian tech industry in general.
While the Baikal-S may not have outshone its competitors in recent benchmarks, its performance represents a significant step forward for Russian processor development. With continued innovation and development, Baikal Electronics could become a significant player in the global tech industry, impacting not only the Russian and Chinese markets but potentially the global market as well. The tech world will undoubtedly be watching Baikal Electronics’ progress with keen interest.