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CNews Has Compared the New Baikal Processor with the Intel Chips. The Results Are Encouraging

24 April 2020

By Denis Voeykov


Taking the opportunity to directly test the performance of the new domestic Baikal-M mobile processor, CNews tested it using several popular performance tests, comparing the results with those similar in base characteristics of the Intel chips.

Baikal-M Processor Test Conclusions

The first independent testing of the new Russian Baikal-M mobile processor allows saying that its performance is at the level of modern foreign chips of the initial segment, in particular, similar to the industry-leading Intel’s Atom E3940 and Core i3 7300T in basic parameters of processors. Such conclusions were made by the Zoom.Cnews laboratory, which had received at its disposal the domestic chip from its developer—Baikal Electronics.

Let’s recall that unlike the company’s first Baikal-T1 chip on the MIPS architecture (created under the RISC concept, that is, for processors with a reduced instruction set) Baikal-M, released in October 2019, was implemented on the ARM architecture (Advanced RISC Machine), mainly in demand around the world for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). Baikal Electronics believes that their brainchild can also be used in PCs, microservers, multimedia equipment, network communications, industrial automation, and management and engineering infrastructure.

To measure the Baikal-M performance, the algorithms were applied that had been used in real-world applications to determine the performance of the CPU on the integral and the floating-comma operations, memory bandwidth and time, GPU performance, and web browser performance (JavaScript). Besides, comprehensive and applied performance tests were conducted by Zoom.Cnews.

The results of the Zoom.Cnews testing showed that Baikal-M was inferior to the boards of foreign competitors in memory and cache operations (LMbench test), when working with JavaScript engines operating with the code of resource-intensive web projects (Octane 2.0 test), and also with the operation of the PHP interpreter, SQLite engine, and Python parser (Phoronix Test Suite test).

At the same time, Baikal-M significantly outperformed the Intel Atom E3940 and was close to the Intel Core i3 7300T on the CoreMark integral performance test, which, among other things, processed cohesive lists and matrix, and determined that the input symbol flow contained valid numbers in the decimal record, etc.

A similar result was provided by the 7-zip test. “But since we’re analyzing two tasks: creating a data archive and unpacking thereof, each of them has different metrics,” says Zoom.Cnews. “In compression operations, the speed of which is highly dependent on the speed of the memory and cache operation, the Intel Core i3 7300T has slightly burst forward, but Baikal-M has become an undisputed leader in terms of unpacking the data.”

As expected in Zoom.Cnews, Baikal-M overtook competitors in the GPU performance test for OpenGL ES (glmark2 test). But surprisingly, the Russian processor surpassed the Intel Core i3-7300T in the efficiency of processing numbers with a floating comma at the HPLinpack 2.2 test. However, the results of this test for Baikal-M were obtained by the laboratory on the trial version of the proprietary compiler and the Arm HPC tools linear algebra package, and for Intel, the results were obtained using the gcc compiler and the Atlas open library. The SunSpider browser benchmark gave Baikal-M averages compared to the Intel processors.

Details of comparative analysis in the form of visual tables and graphs with numerical parameters are presented on the Zoom.Cnews page.

Testing Conditions

The Baikal-M performance was assessed on the MB-M1.0 (Form Mini-ITX) system unit provided by Baikal Electronics, equipped with two Crucial 8GB DDR4 2400 MHz UDIMM Memory Modules (CT8G4DFD824A), and WD Green PC SSD 240 GB. The MB-M1.0 board is manufactured by Baikal Electronics under the license of the T-Platforms parent company. The device being tested was a miniature computer running the Debian 9.3 operating system.

For comparison, Intel Atom E3940 configurations on the GA-SBCAP3940 with 8 GB SODIMM DDR3-1866 and SATA-III WD GREEN PC SSD 240 GB, as well as the Intel Core i3 7300T on the Asus Prime B360M-A board with two memory modules of 8 GB DDR4-2400 and SATA-III WD GREEN PC SSD 240 G disk were used.

“These assemblies were chosen as a reference since they were close to the device under test in terms of characteristics and could be an alternative upon selection,” Zoom.Cnews noted.

Baikal-M Options, Availability, and Price

The Baikal-M processor is a 28 nm so-called crystal-based system based on eight 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 (ARMv8-A) cores; four clusters of two cores each, with a frequency of up to 1.5 GHz and an eight-core Mali-T628 GRAPHICS processor with a frequency of up to 700 MHz. The tier 3 cache (L3) is 8MB. RAM parameters: 2 × DDR3/DDR4-2133 64-bit DRAM, ECC. The declared energy consumption is less than 30 W.

The built-in interfaces included two 10 Gb Ethernet (10G Base-KR/KX4), two 1 Gb Ethernet (RGMII), three PCI eGen.3 (8/4/4 lines), two SATA 6G, six USB 3.0/2.0, 4K video-decoder, and HDMI 2.0. The processor is produced at the Taiwan-based TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) factory in Russia, which does not have production capacity with the necessary nanometreage yet.

Representatives of Baikal Electronics assure that Baikal-M will go on retail in the second quarter of 2020 (if the coronavirus pandemic does not prevent it) at a retail price of about $250 per processor and $500 per the MB-M1.0 board with a soldered chip.

Baikal Electronics is currently developing the Baikal-S processor. It will also be a crystal-based system with ARM architecture designed for general-purpose servers requiring high performance, low power, and extensive configuration capabilities. The release is scheduled for 2021.

Source: CNews, 24.04.2020