Launched desktop and all-in-one Linux computers with the Baikal-M processor

When we last wrote about Baikal Electronics, the Russian company was offering MIPS-based processors, but now they’ve announced that several iRU-branded desktops and an all-in-one computer have been introduced with Baikal-M Octa-core Cortex-A57 processor with Mali-T628 GPU, and support up to 32GB DDR4 RAM, up to 3TB HDD.

The computers are targeting the Russian market, particularly business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) customers, with the use of the Astra Linux distribution which contains Russian “data protection tools” such as ViPNet SafeBoot, PAK Sobol and others.

iRU Opal Baikal-M Arm Linux SFF and Microtower Computers

We used to find Arm processors in really compact fanless systems, but this is the case for iRU Opal computers with two form factors offered: SFF (Small Form Factor) and MT (Microtower).

The company says the systems come with up to 32GB of DDR4 DIMM memory, up to 1TB of SSD storage and up to 3TB of HDD storage, but not much else, even in the photo these look like standard computers.

Since I don’t know any Russian at all, I went looking for information about the Baikal-M processor directly on the Baikal Electronics website to better understand what’s under the hood.

Baikal BE-M1000Baikal-M appears to be a family of Arm processors, and the correct part name is Baikal BE-M1000 with the following key features and specifications:

  • Processor – 8-core Arm Cortex-A57 @ 1.5GHz with 4MB (L2) + 8MB (L3) cache
  • GPU – 8-core Mali-T628 GPU
  • Memory I/F – Dual channel 64-bit DDR3/4 interface with ECC support up to 32GB
  • Storage – 2 SATA III controllers up to 6Gbps
  • Video output – HDMI 2.0 up to WQXGA (2560×1440) @ 60Hz (so no 4K?) and LVDS video interfaces
  • Networking – 2 x 10Gbps Ethernet controllers and 2 x Gigabit Ethernet controllers with VLAN and traffic shaping support
  • USB – 2 USB 3.0 ports and 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • PCIe – PCI Express Gen root complexes. 3 (4 + 4 + 8 lanes)
  • Other peripherals – 32x GPIO, UART, SPI, I2C, SMBus, I2S, etc…
  • Estimated TDP less than 30 watts
Block diagram of Baikal-M
Block diagram of Baikal-M

There’s everything you need to create an Arm PC with support for up to 32GB of RAM, dual SATA interfaces, USB 3.0, PCIe, and more, plus 10GbE interfaces that make it suitable for microservers, and a good amount of I/O for embedded systems. The processor is clearly not optimized for low power with a high enough TDP, perhaps because of the 28nm manufacturing process.

iRU Agat All-in-One (AiO) computer

The all-in-one version of the computer has pretty much the same features with up to 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 3TB HDD, and a 23.8-inch IPS display with Full resolution. HD (1920×1080).

The AiO computer is running Astra Linux Special Edition with the Russian office application package “myoffice_ru”, and an unnamed web browser and mail client, all approved by the “Ministry of Telecommunications and Mass Communications” as required for the work of civil servants in Russia.

Astra Linux Special Edition and Common Edition

We shouldn’t expect to see them selling outside of Russia anytime soon, and I’m not sure they’ll sell to individuals given the B2B and B2G markets the new computers are targeting. Looking ahead, server company Yadro and silicon design company Syntacore have teamed up to develop RISC-V processors for computers, laptops and servers for the Russian market with the aim of having government and educational systems RISC-V by 2025.