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A Tiny PC Based on the Baikal Processors and with the Russian OS has Been Created

17 April 2020

By Denis Voeykov

In Russia, a mini-PC based on the Russian Baikal processor with the Russian ALT Linux OS has appeared. The prototypes have come out. Due to the pandemic, the release of an industrial batch has been postponed until autumn 2020. Business and the public sector are prospective customers.

Baikal-based Mini-PC

The dimensions of the new HR-MPC-1 are 115 x 115 x 35 mm. The 28-nanometer Baikal-T1 (new name BE-T1000) of Baikal Electronics was used as its processor. The ALT Linux OS by Basalt SPO was selected for pre-installation.

Both companies were Hamster partners in the project. Baikal provided consulting services, Basalt SPO modified the drivers of its OS for the computer.

In a conversation with Cnews, one of the Hamster Heads, Roman Burmistrov, noted that the mini-PC had been an initiative development at his company’s own expense, without grants, subsidies, and external investments.

Hamster Robotics Baikal-based Mini-PC

The design of the product and technical documentation for it were ready in early 2020. Currently, the company has prototypes which in April-May will be available for testing by potential customers. The expected timing of the first industrial batch, significantly delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, is autumn 2020.

Hamster has its own production facilities in the city of Zheledorozniy near Moscow, where the company is ready to produce batches of over 10 thousand pieces for specific projects in a relatively short time.

As a concept, Burmistrov considers HR-MPC-1 to be an analogue of the famous Intel range of productive desktop PCs of the NUC (Next Unit of Computing) family. These PCs do not take up much space, are easily transported, can be attached to the back of the monitor, and can interact wirelessly with most of the periphery. To fully work, a mSATA (or 2.5” SATA) data storage medium is separately connected to them.

Characteristics, Price, and Potential Customers

The processor used in the Hamster’s mini-PC has two superscalary p5600 MIPS 32 r5 cores. DDR3 RAM at 1,600 MHz is used. Power consumption is less than 5 Watts.

The novelty is equipped with a Wi-Fi module, has two 1 Gb Ethernet ports, two SATA 3.0 ports, PCIe Gen.3 controller, USB 2.0 interfaces, I2C, SPI, GPIO, UART, RS-232, RS-485, HDMI, and DVI. Retail price is estimated to be RUB 25-30 K.

Taking into account the latter, and also because the Russian OS, and especially processors, are exotic for private users, Roman Burmistrov admits that only corporate customers, including those from the public sector for whom domestic stuffing is an attractive factor, and not vice versa, will now be interested in the product.

According to Burmistrov, we can conclude that Rosatom and Russian Railways had prior experience with HR-MPC-1. Moreover, Hamster expected to take part in the scandalous billion-dollar tender of the railway monopoly for the supply of 15,000 computers based on domestic CPUs, although in the end, it had to abandon these plans for several reasons.

A Few Facts about Intel NUC

NUC was first introduced by Intel in 2013. The first generation operated on Celeron Sandy Bridge processors, the second—on the Core i3 and the Core i5 Ivy Bridge, and the third was based on the Haswell architecture.

In early 2017, the seventh NUC Baby Canyon family was introduced on Intel Core i3, i5, and I7 chips of Kaby Lake-Us TDP generation from 15 W to 28 W. In March 2018, Intel introduced NUC Hades Canyon based on the four-core Intel Core Kaby Lake processor with the Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics chip.

In November 2019, CNews wrote that Intel would discontinue seven NUС models and stop supplying them after February 2020. These included Crimson Canyon (NUC 8 Home) devices based on 10-nanometer Cannon Lake processors that have never become widespread.

At the end of January 2020, it was announced that Intel intended to develop the NUC range to increase performance while reducing overall energy consumption and maintaining the supercompact form factor of 10x10 cm.

Source: CNews, 17.04.2020