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posted by hubie on Tuesday May 10 2022, @03:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the tuck-my-worries-underneath-my-ARM dept.

UK sanctions Russian microprocessor makers, banning them from ARM:

The UK government added 63 Russian entities to its sanction list on Wednesday [04 May]. Among them are Baikal Electronics and MCST (Moscow Center of SPARC Technologies), the two most important chip makers in Russia.

The two sanctioned entities will now be denied access to the ARM architecture since Arm Ltd., the licensee, is based in Cambridge, England, and will have to comply with the sanctions.

[...] The two firms are considered vital for Russia's technological independence efforts, as they are expected to step up and cover the shortages created by the lack of processors made by Western chip-makers such as Intel and AMD.

[...] While these processors [the most advanced processors Baikai and MCST currently supply], and the much worse mid-tier and low-tier chips that carry the Baikal and MCST sticker, don't feature impressive performance, they could keep some vital parts of the Russian IT section going during shortages.

Although Russia has eased licensing regulations on other sanctioned items, such as software, that will most likely not happen here.

[...] However, it is important to remember that Baikal and MCST processors are made in foreign foundries, like Samsung's and TSMC's, and those two wouldn't infringe Arm's licensing rules and international law to facilitate Russian interests.

Baikal, which holds a valid license to produce at 16nm, only has a design license for its upcoming models, not manufacturing, so the only solution is to take the production domestically and ignore the rules.

[...] The Russian government has already approved an investment of 3.19 trillion rubles (38.2 billion USD) to counteract this in April 2022, but boosting local production will take many years. In the most optimistic scenarios, Russian foundries will be able to produce 28nm chips by 2030.

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  • (Score: 2) by r_a_trip on Wednesday May 11 2022, @02:42PM (1 child)

    by r_a_trip (5276) on Wednesday May 11 2022, @02:42PM (#1244056)

    Well, this is a paper tiger in so far as it is unenforceable on Russian territory. Putin can just claim imminent domain and waive any rights of foreign entities.

    The trouble is Russia's fabbing prowess (or lack there of). Lowest node they can currently produce is 65nm. So they either have to drastically scale back the bloat in their software (going back to Risc OS?) or they will have to go massively parallel with heatsinks the size of a space heater.

    They are planning to go 28nm in 2030, so they are about a little less than 2 decades behind. They say necessity is the mother of all invention, so this might bring a renaisance to the Russian semiconductor sector. It might even be wildly successful in the secluded, post-invasion Russian bubble.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @04:54AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12 2022, @04:54AM (#1244297)

    The thing is: so what if they find themselves two decades "behind"?

    You just get on with life and enjoy it, right?

    But in the end, they'll just re-purchase off China and India. What's the US/EU/Oz going to do about it, exactly?