back to article Export bans prompt Russia to use Chinese x86 CPU replacement

With Russia cut off from foreign processor makers Intel and AMD, the country has been scrambling to switch to more local CPUs and components. Russia's latest step in securing supply chains for new computers comes in the form of a newly released desktop motherboard designed to support x86-compatible CPUs made by Chinese chip …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Russian? CPUs?

    Russia was building their own CPU's back in the 80's, maybe not "their own" but a copy to the PDP11 CPU's, e.g the K1801VE1. That's just what happened nearly 40 years ago, looking at the worldwide shortages it seems like the best option for all counties in the future is to make their own versions of some common components.

    1. thames Silver badge

      Re: Russian? CPUs?

      The Elbrus series of CPUs mentioned in the story are made by MCST. It dates back to the 1970s I believe, but is actually the trade name for a series of architectures rather than one specific architecture.

      After several generations of CPU they settled in the current incarnation which is a VLIW architecture. It apparently has a binary translator which translates x86 instructions to Elbrus VLIW instructions dynamically.

      Performance of the binary translation process is not very great and currently they are working on getting developers to produce native ports rather relying on the translator. I suspect this will improve performance quite significantly.

      MCST also produce a line of Sparc chips, although I don't know how much of their market that will account for.

      The advantages of switching to RISC-V are obvious in that they will be able to use open-source software as is instead of creating, testing, and debugging their own ports to Elbrus VLIW.

      1. An_Old_Dog Bronze badge
        Holmes

        Re: Russian? CPUs?

        [re: approach:] "... translates x86 instructions to Elbrus VLIW instructions dynamically.". Sounds like the same sort of approach used by the long-dead company Transmeta.

        [re: speed:] I have a Transmeta Crusoe CPU in one of my old laptops. It's still fast enough for DOS, for resource-efficient, minimalist Linuxes, and for Unixes. But trying to run (modern-ish) Firefox on it was an exercise in pain management -- it was s-l-o-w.

        I recently was compiling on two similar netbooks. Each had an Intel Atom n270, uni-core, hyperthreading CPU @ 1.6GHz in it. Using "make -j 2 ...", System A, with OpenBSD installed on a class 10 flash card, compiled the kernel in ~26 minutes, and X11 in ~2.1 hours. System B, with OpenBSD installed on an internal SSD, compiled the kernel in ~51 minutes, and X11 in ~5.3 hours. This was startlingly counterintuitive to me, so I carefully checked things over. I found that System B had only one GB of RAM, while System A had two GB of RAM.

    2. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: Russian? CPUs?

      @anon

      "looking at the worldwide shortages it seems like the best option for all counties in the future is to make their own versions of some common components"

      I'm inclined to agree. In fact, sitting here in the UK, I'm inclined to suggest reinvestment in market gardens in the green belt around cities as we had in the 60s. Why am I buying a bag of onions for £1 in Tesco from Egypt? How is that even viable for farmers in the Delta?

      @all

      Quote from OA

      "Habr said the KX-6640MA should still be suitable for a "wide range of office tasks," and at least the processor will be compatible with x86-based software. But its slow nature underlines the issues Russia has created for itself by committing atrocities against a neighboring country."

      Should be enough to keep the bureaucrats going. Below is an interesting perspective on the Russian import situation from Branko Milanovic who spends a lot of time thinking about this kind of stuff...

      http://glineq.blogspot.com/2022/04/the-novelty-of-technologically.html

      1. rcxb1

        Re: Russian? CPUs?

        > Why am I buying a bag of onions for £1 in Tesco from Egypt?

        Because you (and many others) insist on buying produce out-of-season. That necessitates global supply-chains.

        1. keithpeter Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Russian? CPUs?

          Out of season? Onions? In the UK?

          I'd better tell my older relatives with veg gardens.

          Seriously: UK onions widely available - root veg can be stored for long periods with care. I grew up near three square miles of market gardens in the 60s that supplied a town of 100k.

          1. Buttons

            Re: Russian? CPUs?

            Cured, braided and stored in a cool well ventilated space, you should have onions most of the year with spring and autumn planting. Assuming you have the space to do this.

            There are other ways of storing onions, by canning and bottling, making chutneys, that kind of thing. You could freeze or dry them, but those, might need a bit of added energy.

            I wondered whether global supplies are not just about all year round convenience, but also about people living in small spaces with not many resources to grow their own food, at least in the UK. Nonetheless, local growers should be able to supply local needs I would imagine. Like the market gardens, I also remember local produce aplenty at large local weekly markets.

          2. philstubbington

            Re: Russian? CPUs?

            Probably down to cost, size, demand, lack of sufficient supply locally.

          3. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Russian? CPUs?

            >I grew up near three square miles of market gardens in the 60s

            Almost certainly now covered in "executive" homes...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Russian? CPUs?

          Absolutely. They’re flown into Heathrow, where they are (or were a few years ago) put in temperature controlled tents (the IAG Ascentis cargo warehouse isn’t suitable) before onward distribution.

          1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: put in temperature controlled tents (the IAG Ascentis cargo warehouse isn’t suitable)

            Can you change the title when you do this please?

            I thought you were still talking about Russian CPU's.

      2. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Russian? CPUs?

        "Why am I buying a bag of onions for £1 in Tesco from Egypt?"

        Why are you? Tesco sell a 1kg bag of British onions for 0.49p. According to their website their main ingredient is 100% onion, which is how I prefer my onions. I'm not a connoisseur though, maybe Egyptian onions taste better.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Russian? CPUs?

      Look at it as an opportunity to get rid of the crappiest CPU architectures ever..... If only

      As for benchmarks, they only matter if you have to run bloatware.

      I note that my 2020 PC doesn't actually appear to be any faster than my 10 years older version on its software from the period .... and I don't see an order of magnitude improvement in the software either.

      Hey we got ribbons ...

      Sometimes revolution is t the only way forward.

      But just make sure you are on the winning side ...

  2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    Alert

    6502

    It's it's good enough for Bender in 2999...

    https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-truth-about-benders-brain

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: 6502

      Yes, but it only has a puny 8-bit bus to the rest of him.

      Unless I’ve misinterpreted “Byte my shiny metal ass”…

      1. b0llchit Silver badge
        Go

        Re: 6502

        But Bender reminds us of Byte my shiny metal ass so often that it could be interpreted as a very wide-Byte machine or actually a parallel machine. He may not have multiple asses, but there are definitely many Byte-sizes in that one ass.

        And he will blindside any computation with the shiny ass polish anyway.

        1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

          Re: 6502

          I really don't see how byting the poor equine is justified, is being shiny so offensive?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please - somebody start a rumour

    A story about all the Chinese spyware built into processors :-)

    1. Clausewitz4.0

      Re: Please - somebody start a rumour

      That would be also true for Intel/AMD x86/x64

      1. Spanners Silver badge

        Re: Please - somebody start a rumour

        I've felt for years that anything from the USA is pretty much guaranteed to have spyware in it. Whether it is from Uncle Sam or from some of the very rich people who are in control there is unclear though.

        1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

          Re: Please - somebody start a rumour

          Uncle sam.

          And there is nothing you can do about it.

  4. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

    Yablochka redux?

    One does kind of wonder how the chips benchmark against a Raspberry Pi 4... Be embarrassing to be beaten by something that inexpensive.

    1. thames Silver badge

      Re: Yablochka redux?

      Well, you're in luck. The same site that The Register chose to cite for CPU benchmarks also benchmarks the CPU used in the Raspberry Pi 4, the BCM2711.

      For the KX-6640MA the "Average CPU Mark" is 1,566. For the BCM2711 it's 834. So the KX-6640MA is roughly twice as fast.

      While I take synthetic benchmarks with a very large grain of salt, if we accept the above numbers as valid then it should be just fine for doing office work and the like provided the GPU is reasonable. You may not want to use it for playing games however.

      I used a Raspberry Pi 4 as a desktop PC for a day when my regular desktop was broken. It was adequate for everything except full screen video, and I suspect the latter was due to the GPU limitations.

      The most likely reason to want to use the KX-6640MA under these circumstances is to run Windows desktops. Several years ago Russia announced a plan to move all government operations off of American IT kit onto RISC-V by 2025, I assume using Linux. This means the KX-6640MA may be seen as just an interim solution.

      The KX-6640MA by the way is one of Zhaoxin's slower low end chips, and they have faster ones. This one may have been announced because Dannie already had a motherboard for it.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Yablochka redux?

        The only reason why my Pi4 didn't do full screen video is that the chipset overheated. Once I fixed the cooling it just worked.

        My regular PC is about as fast. Its an older all-in-one but it works fine, especially if I'm running Linux. The only reason why you need to run a bazillion cores on the desktop (or the phone) is software bloat -- multiple cores save the nuisance of having to design multi threaded software. There will be exceptions to this -- games and other simulations but you really don't need a lot horsepower for most tasks, its just nice to have.

        1. pavel.petrman Silver badge

          Re: Yablochka redux?

          Re software bloat

          Spot on. I find that desktop software (even with pixel based rendering) tend to work fine on computers which were low end ten years ago. What we need to have sixteen cores and high bandwidth memory lanes today is web browsing. I used to ascribe it to omnipresent advertising and snooping, but it seems that even electron-based desktop applications without any advertisement (though usually much heavier weights in DOM complexity and manipulation) can hog a PC quite the same.

          Given that Russia's access to latest software from big vendors seems quite as restricted as its access to hardware, they may need to revert to older versions which are not as easily subjected to sanctions. Or licencing checks, for that matter.

          Which would mean that a readily available PCs capable of competing with low-end Wintels of last decade's vintage might turn out to be a passable solution for office work. Meanwhile I'll keep waiting for the Thinkpad my company ordered for me some five months ago...

          1. iron Silver badge

            Re: Yablochka redux?

            > What we need to have sixteen cores and high bandwidth memory lanes today is web browsing.

            Tell me you don't really use your computer without telling me you don't really use your computer.

            I think you'll find that 16 cores are useful for video editing and rendering, code compilation and more if you actually perform tasks that use them.

            1. thames Silver badge

              Re: Yablochka redux?

              I've been using my Raspberry Pi 4 (running 64 bit Ubuntu) for converting a large number of videos from MPEG 2 to MPEG 4 and it works quite well for that. It's not as fast as my PC, but it can run the conversion job quietly on its own while I use my PC for other things.

              A Pi 3 running 32 bit Rasbian is many, many, times slower however, and I wouldn't recommend it for this. I don't know if that's mainly a CPU difference or 32 versus 64 bit (and associated SIMD instructions) difference, but it is very noticeable.

              Also, you want to have a case with a cooling fan for doing anything like this. Ffmpeg will use all cores to the max and it needs cooling.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Yablochka redux?

            "Given that Russia's access to latest software from big vendors seems quite as restricted as its access to hardware, they may need to revert to older versions which are not as easily subjected to sanctions. Or licencing checks, for that matter."

            In the early days of the home computer revolutions, what was available behind the Iron Curtain was knock-off Spectrums and C64 at best, often with low RAM specs. Some very efficient and innovative coding came out of eastern Europe, especially when The Wall came down and access to the latest Western kit became possible.

            I can easily imagine a similar situation developing in Russia now, possibly a major shift to Linux if not just outright hacks of Windows so there's no registration or phoning home. It's not like anyone can successfully sue them now.

            1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

              Re: Some very efficient and innovative coding came out of eastern Europe

              Casting my mind back to the days when usage of computer time was heavily constrained by limited resources, or charged to the user's account, coding was much more disciplined. You had to make sure that, if your "batch" or session failed, you had ample diagnostics in your results output to not only find out what was wrong, but to move on to the following stage of coding at your next available batch submission/TTY session. The IDE's available these days enable us to make very inefficient use of "core time", but this is justified by the fact that we have dedicated use of the pc, nobody else will use it in the meantime (apart from e.g., MS for updates lol).

              I have heard that many EE coders still code in these time/resource restricted environments, and that points towards organisations employing coders that produce reliable, effective code quickly. By effective I mean concentrating on the job in hand, rather than spending time on providing options for mainly cosmetic reasons.

        2. iron Silver badge

          Re: Yablochka redux?

          > multiple cores save the nuisance of having to design multi threaded software

          Lol there is something wrong with the logic of your premise. If your software is not multi-threaded then it will run on only 1 core making those multiple cores useless. Multiple cores leads to multi-threaded software, not the other way round.

        3. thames Silver badge

          Re: Yablochka redux?

          My Pi 4 worked with full screen video on Youtube, but just barely and it dropped frames now and again. I would call that not quite adequate, but possibly acceptable if that's all you've got. I don't know how well it would handle a Zoom conference or the equivalent, as I didn't test that. I suspect that with a better GPU that problem would go away entirely.

          The Pi 4 isn't designed to be a desktop replacement but it's entirely acceptable as a temporary backup for one if that's what you have.

          I didn't buy my Pi 4 specifically for use as a desktop replacement, but I got the 8 gig version so that I could use it as one in an emergency. It came in handy mid-pandemic (and pre-vaccine) when I was able to keep on doing what I needed to do while waiting for a part to replace the one in my broken PC (and even used it to order the part on line). I had an SD card prepared and ready to go for that eventuality.

          1. RubberJohnny

            Re: Yablochka redux?

            Pi4 definitely makes a more than adequate desktop PC for me. I don’t watch video on it though, because I have a telly for that.

      2. Plest Silver badge

        Re: Yablochka redux?

        Get a feck off big fan or water cooling on those Pi chips and they make superb retro gaming stations in full screen mode for under the TV! Retro games often used very low res, usually max 640x480, so they don't need a ton of graphic type grunt, easily handled by the main CPU for the retro gaming apps. Getting to play Speccy games on a modern 50" TV, nice way to waste a Saturday afternoon while the wife is round her sister's house for a cuppa!

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Yablochka redux?

        "I used a Raspberry Pi 4 as a desktop PC for a day when my regular desktop was broken. It was adequate for everything except full screen video, and I suspect the latter was due to the GPU limitations."

        Depends what you mean by full screen video. My RasPi4 running Kodi plays 1080p full screen with very low CPU usage. That's X265 video in the main. It depends what codec the video needs and if there is any hardware acceleration in the GPU to support it and software to make use of it.

      4. bpfh

        Re: Yablochka redux?

        So back to Pentium MMX levels. Be fun running cracked copies of Office 2020 on those...

  5. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

    Military implications?

    One wonders what effect shifting to these slower, less capable, chips will have on Russian military hardware. What, for instance, does the yet to be mass produced T-14 Armata tank really need? All of this especially in light of their obvious need to replace a lot of--at least nominally--"smart" munitions that have been expended flattening Ukraine.

    1. thames Silver badge

      Re: Military implications?

      I don't know what is in the Armata specifically, but MCST's Elbrus processors are used extensively in Russian military kit. It's probably their biggest market. They're made in Russia in a fab in or near Moscow.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Military implications?

      The Russian military has lots of equipment, but it is all 70s Soviet Era - and mostly rusting in storage. Anything modern that they have has almost certainly already been deployed. The lead time for new weapons (if they can afford to make them) is measured years...

      1. thames Silver badge

        Re: Military implications?

        The Russians modernized a lot of their military kit starting before 2010 and carried on doing so up until today. They have reasonably modern kit for their "contract" (full time professional) army, but they also have big reserves of older and simpler hardware which they can pull out and use at need, including with their reservists.

        Their main problem is that they will have limited manufacturing capacity to replace modern kit lost in combat, and modern warfare eats equipment at an alarming rate. This is simply a result of the finite size of their economy.

    3. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: Military implications?

      Not much. These weapons applications do not need ultimate CPU speed. Power consumption and robustness against adverse environment are probably more important.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Military implications?

      One wonders what effect shifting to these slower, less capable, chips will have on Russian military hardware.

      They won't be running Micros~1 authored software, so slower CPU and less RAM should be fine.

      (yeah that was a SLAM on Micros~1® BLOATWARE™)

      As for the sanctions, which we ALL know are nothing more than VIRTUE SIGNALLING at this point (if they were serious they would OPEN UP U.S. OIL PRODUCTION and CUT OFF PUTIN'S CASH FLOW, but i digress), it's yet ANOTHER way to ENABLE and PROMOTE our competitors in China to UNDERCUT U.S. manufacturing in the long term.

      * great job promoting Chinese alternatives to U.S. higher end CPUs

      * great job empowering China (and Russia) to develop replacement tech by FORCING WORLD OIL PRICES HIGHER so PUTIN MAKES MORE MONEY

      * great job DRIVING CHINA AND RUSSIA INTO MORE/CLOSER PARTNERSHIPS on things

      * great job NOT dealing with the CAUSE of the Russia/Ukraine war (and Putin's war-funding machine)

      * great job HURTING RUSSIAN CITIZENS and *NOT* *POOTIE*

      etc.

      I could keep going but I'll stop for now. I'm all over the place on this one so I'll use the pirate icon...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Military implications?

      You will find that most military hardware uses these versions, or equivalents, anyway.

      Milspec products are never bleeding edge.

      Often 3 - 10 years behind what you find in consumer products

    6. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Military implications?

      You don't put bleeding edge parts in military gear, you need technologies that are proven to work at extreme temperatures and under continuous shock loading. You also don't put imported parts into your equipment unless you're very sure of the security of the parts supplies.

      We tend to overestimate how much processor everyday tasks actually need because our personal experience is mostly in a very inefficient desktop environment that invariably has a lot of crudware running on it.

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    It's a good opportunity for China to implant trojans.

    Well done Putin Khuylo! Thanks to your Stalinesque appetite for invading neighbours, you are sending Russia 20 years in the past. I know you would prefer 70 years, but it's a beginning anyway.

  7. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Performance may not be great

    But this can be compensated for by efficient coding.

  8. An_Old_Dog Bronze badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Using slower CPUs

    If they drank the "Microsoft Kool-Aid", they are now in a world of pain.

    Relevant military strategic issue: do you effectively own your own data?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Using slower CPUs

      Yeah, that Chinese X86 close isn't going to run Win10/11 very well, I'd imagine. Maybe MS can make Win11 and Office(whatever) even more resource hungry? Oh wait....that's SOP already.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Using slower CPUs - Chinese x86 CPU Replacement

        From some digging, it seems the CPU can run "Windows 10"

        However, what isn't clear is whether this is x86_32 or x86_64 - in general x86 is taken to be x86_32....

        Nor can I find a reference as to which generation of x86 it is supposed to be instruction set compatible with, other than assume because it can run Windows 10, it must support a post-486 x86 instruction set.

        As for performance, it is significantly better than some Intel CPU's Microsoft say Windows 10 supports -but I still wouldn't want to be running W10 on this CPU...

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: From some digging, it seems the CPU can run "Windows 10"

          Never mind that. Will it run Windows 7?

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: From some digging, it seems the CPU can run "Windows 10"

            In theory yes - as would W2K and XP, but in practice you will need relevant W7 motherboard chipset drivers, whether these exist is another matter...

  9. CheesyTheClown

    Russian politics aside

    WOW!!!

    Ok... I'm in complete disagreement from a technical perspective from the author. I feel as if there's a bit too much "Queen and Country" happening here. Patriotism and propaganda is fine, but there is so much more to this article than just "We're so much better than they are." In fact, this article should make the author seriously reevaluate that.

    So, not long ago, China was embargoed and they were cut off from western technology. Since then they have

    - launched a multi-pronged plan to mitigate the loss

    - used ARM under a strange "ARM China is not ARM LTD" clause that allowed them to keep using ARM like crazy.

    - moved approximately 50-200% faster on die process advancements than their western peers... depending on how you evaluate this. But whatever the case, it simply makes sense since their peers have to do things never done before and they only have to learn from what is already known.

    - either licensed, bought or created most of the peripheral infrastructure surrounding CPUs including audio, video codecs, USB, MMU, interrupt controllers, DMA controllers, ethernet and more.

    - launched a slew of RISC-V based processors and advanced RISC-V technology at least in terms of synthesis more than anyone else on earth.

    - managed to use loopholes in the Cyrix x86 license via Via Tech to get a hold of x86 ISA (at least until Intel figures out how to go after this) x64 never really had these issues.

    - Grabbed what I believe is S3 graphics tech which is nothing to write songs about but is a truly solid foundation for building on as they should be able to tack on a pile of specialized RISC-V cores to build most of the processing capacity and with some serious focus on memory technologies... meaning finding an HBM2 like solution and solving some pretty serious cache coherency issues, make a modern GPU.

    Yesterday I was in front of a classroom and a student asked me to look at his progress on a project on his laptop. His machine was a several generation old Core i3 with 8 gigs of RAM. It was sluggish, but it was entirely usable even when loaded down by a very processor intensive application. I'd only guess that if I searched for a benchmark of this machine relative to the motherboards seen in this article, they'd be quite similar.

    For HPC, Intel is not a requirement. Huawei and others solved this problem by producing CPUs which are less energy efficient than Intel or AMD but using solar energy and batteries for power. If you join a meeting with Huawei to buy a super computer, they present to you systems which they can deliver at any scale (as in Top500 systems) using Chinese technology and they can deliver power through solar. This is not a problem. And frankly, so long as it has a fully functional Linux toolchain including Python, Numpy, Scipy, Julia, C, C++, Fortran... I really don't care which instruction set I'm using. The only really important missing tool on the systems is Matlab, but it does have Octave ... which isn't really a replacement, but it could be good enough.

    For telephones, there's ARM and soon RISC-V

    For normal desktop, this x86 solution looks like it should be perfectly suitable for most users. Toss on a copy of Deepin Linux or ReactOS and it'll be fine.

    Gaming and graphics workstations... that will require something else. And while everyone loves western and Japanese game studios... China is producing a crap ton of pretty good games these days... mostly on Unity and Unreal (I think) which I think could cause issues, I can honestly see China pushing Chinese and Chinese owned publishers to produce for a Chinese architecture. And let's be honest... most of the best games out there these days are well known for "they could run on a toaster"

    At China's current rate of progress, they should meet or exceed western tech on every front within a few years... not necessarily always by looking at benchmarks and such, but based on user experience.

    We can thank Donald Trump and Joe Biden for this. If it weren't for them, China probably would have kept chugging along at a moderate pace and had been happen just to keep using and licensing western tech. But thanks to the embargos which forced China to increase their efforts so drastically, we're going to see some truly amazing advancements in tech. This will be simply because the speed China can and is moving at is IMMENSE and soon everyone else will have to really push it into overdrive to avoid being left in the dust.

    The tech world is going to be truly amazing now. I can't wait to see what comes from this.

    What is so exciting is that there's absolutely nothing that can be done to slow China down now. Not only are they hellbent on never being crippled by the west again, but they need to do this for their economy. For them it's full speed ahead or bust.

    1. PhilipN

      Re: Russian politics aside

      China has been fostering its semiconductor industry for many years.

    2. Tams

      Re: Russian politics aside

      What was the point of this essay?

      The only thing I can take from is it that you are salty that we're having a bit of irreverent fun. And if that's the case... then maybe this site ain't for you.

      *I didn't actually bother reading it all as it really just seemed like a long boast about how great China is. And you have gall to call us pompous...

      1. CommonBloke

        Here's the TLDR

        Attempting to choke Russia on the tech sector will just boost China's own and might (big if there) accelerate Russia's tech independence from the west.

        The rest of the comment is how imposing all those sanctions against China years ago only sped up their own tech independence, mainly due to a loophole with their ARM company. The next step is making RISC-V stuff, which is 100% free from outside interference.

      2. iron Silver badge

        Re: Russian politics aside

        I think he was trying to point out he's a Russian troll without actually saying it?

    3. Pinero50

      Re: Russian politics aside

      I did detect a certain hint of Jingoism in the article.. Of course, China and Russia are masters of Jingoistic rhetoric, so a little from our side can't hurt..

      1. CheesyTheClown

        Re: Russian politics aside

        Honestly… I am an American and I’m just excited about where the tech is going. I really never had an interest in taking sides with anyone. Let the gorillas thump their chests and grunt. From a tech perspective, there is nothing but good things to expect to come from this.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Russian politics aside

        Acknowledging accomplishments and seeing them in a clear light isn't really "Jingoism" but rather a national pride in a positive kind of way. Or, good old fashioned flag-waving patriotism. 'Queen and Country' is fine with me, even as a US'ian. (aggressively saying how great you are in order to bully or intimidate or manipulate would be true Jingoism).

        It's sort of like saying "if it's true, it ain't bragging".

        (and my experiences working with UK engineers has been pretty positive, especially when compared to China)

    4. iron Silver badge

      Re: Russian politics aside

      Russia is not China.

      You need to have engineers, scientists, high tech facilities and money to grow your semiconductor industry. What you don't need is a war with your closest neighbour that has made all the engineers flee the country for Norway and Finland.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Russian politics aside

        Well Russia certainly has the engineers and scientists. The high tech facilities and money could be a problem though.

    5. YetAnotherJoeBlow Bronze badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Russian politics aside

      Looking at your other posts like this makes me feel sorry for your students.

      1. CheesyTheClown

        Re: Russian politics aside

        Thank you! Compared to your normal posts… this was was nearly a marriage proposal ;)

    6. Spanners Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Russian politics aside

      The biggest difference I can see is money.

      China has long had a huge income and has been investing it. It wasn't hard for them to target what was embargoed and spend money on it.

      Russia, and its earlier incantation, has only had 2 main exports - conflict and (more recently) its oil industry. Conflict may have been successful until the 70s but that doesn't seem to be doing them much good now.

      The world had already decided to cut down on oil and this has sped up the process!

      They will no more be able to build up a microprocessor industry to make what they can't buy any more than we, in the UK, can return to our imaginary past as an economic superpower!

      Russia is going broke and the only way they are going to get back into the global community is to reform and put people like Vlad and his pals on trial

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Russian politics aside

      "At China's current rate of progress, they should meet or exceed western tech on every front within a few years..."

      Unless, as you haven't mentioned, their 'progress' is derived from Western tech. China can't stealborrow what hasn't been invented yet. I somehow expect China will be "behind the curve" for quite awhile.

    8. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Russian politics aside

      brevity being the sole of wit, and admittedly TLDR, I shall summarize a rebuttal

      You appear to be forgetting a few details...

      * Under COMMUNISM, the constant looming threat of "getting disappeared" or bad social credit STIFLES true innovation. Seen enough examples of it to confirm. "The nail that sticks up gets the hammer"

      * Much of their "progress" was literally STOLEN from universities and corporations that were acquired or "partnered" with over the last decade or so (this is well established)

      * They routinely do not respect intellectual property. "4th shift" was a term coined about the all too frequent off-the-books manufacturing that violates copyrights, patents, etc. for "internal consumption" (mostly, not always). Seen that, too. FTDI knockoff chips a few years ago is an example of it getting out of hand.

      In short, if engineers in China regularly INVENTED something of significance over what is invented in EU, UK, and USA (etc.), I would be concerned about China having the potential to dominate the technological world. But they won't unless we DELIBERATELY HAND IT TO THEM. So what we (the rest of the world) need to do is stop them from COPYING our stuff, through illegal and unethical means, starting now, and moving into the future.

      (and having stuff BUILT there is just TEACHING THEM how to make OUR tech)

      1. CommonBloke

        Re: Russian politics aside

        Good luck convincing companies to stop outsourcing production to China.

    9. My Coat

      Re: Russian politics aside

      > For HPC, ..., so long as it has a fully functional Linux toolchain including Python, Numpy, Scipy, Julia, C, C++, Fortran... I really don't care which instruction set I'm using.

      Tell me you've never used an HPC without saying you've never used an HPC...

      Clue: it's not the hardware that HPC vendors sell, it's the expertise to use that hardware properly.

  10. Grunchy Bronze badge

    I buy all my obsolete Xeons from China e-waste salvagers, it’s quite hilarious that’s the place where you can still get the best deals!

    (Yeah, those old Xeons are wasteful of energy, big deal! Russia has lots of energy, shut up already.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > I buy all my obsolete Xeons from China e-waste salvagers [ ... ]

      Considering the fact that Intel Xeons have been under Export Control regulations since at least 2010, and that Intel's China export licenses for Xeons have been, and are being, routinely denied by the US Department Of Commerce, your statement is very problematic to say the least.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Intel's China export licenses for Xeons have been, and are being, routinely denied

        If the White Van teams that ply my neighbourhood for e-waste can come a knocking on my door speculatively enquiring about the big pile of old pc's nestling in my porch (sans hard drives), then I'm sure that the industrial bins in the commercial sector are constantly monitored for tech stuff that has been fully depreciated. Or not... are corporate excesses the same as they ever were? Anyone want a Herman Miller chair? Once they hit the unlicensed circular economy, they could end up anywhere, surely?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Intel's China export licenses for Xeons have been, and are being, routinely denied

          > Once they hit the unlicensed circular economy, they could end up anywhere, surely?

          So, a used Xeon originating in the US would have to surreptitiously travel to China in order to be re-imported into the US. That sounds like a bit of a stretch to me.

          For starters, trying to ship one Export Control Xeon to China, from the US, will land the shipper in hot water. Trying to ship a box of them will land the shipper in jail, no bail. Possibly with an espionage charge to boot. Pretty hard to explain in court when caught trying to ship 100+ Export Control chips to China. The Feds will probably want to have a little chat.

          USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc will ask for a US Customs declaration at shipping. Since this is material goods, not correspondence, they have the right to inspect it. There is no expectation of privacy. And chips show up on X-Rays.

          One can try the Mexico route. Is it worth it if that someone gets caught. Mexico might not go for it. They might ask for a Mexico Customs declaration. Pretty weird having a US tourist show up at the Mexican Post Office, no permanent address anywhere in Mexico, trying to ship to China microchips smuggled from the US.

          I'm not saying it doesn't happen. China does get their hands on small quantities of smuggled high-end and not-so-high-end Xeons.

          Computers in general aren't really corporate trash pile material. Disposing of obsolete computers or computer parts is regulated because of environmental concerns first and foremost.

          For example, the NYC Department of Sanitation will not come to your office's back door to pick up trashed servers or office PC's. You have to call one of those computer kit secure disposal companies. Big companies have an ongoing contract. Small ones do this on-demand. This is not specific to NYC at all.

          There's a whole industry in the US for the secure disposal of obsolete corporate computer kit. We don't hear much about them because they try to be discreet, due to the nature of their business.

          1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: Computers in general aren't really corporate trash pile material.

            Over the years I've been called upon to repurpose quite a few servers.

            Either the acquiring company does a deal with the liquidators of a bankrupt company, (even had a case once where the liquidators themselves took on such equipment), or - more usually - a company does a moonlight flit and the landlords seek to recoup their losses by utilising whatever equipment is left behind. Whatever the official line is, this is what happens in reality.

            Usually the "free lunch" is not worth it, the erstwhile owners having cut corners on their hardware purchases as well as their business practices, but we do these things having pointed the snags out beforehand.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Computers in general aren't really corporate trash pile material.

              What does any of this have to do with illegally exporting Xeons to China?

              If the acquiring company gets some Xeon servers from the acquired company, so what? That's not illegal anywhere in the US, as long as there is no export attempt. Whether they keep them for themselves, or resell them, or trash them, that's their business.

              At any rate: you seem to do work for some shady companies. I wouldn't advertise it so openly if I were you. And I wouldn't work for them in the first place.

              Have you ever seen the inside of an export controlled Xeon server? They all have a big huge yellow sticker on the inside, with the export control warning. You can't miss it.

              If you really want live through the experience of attempting to export Intel Xeon servers to China, from the US, you can always try it out on your own. My prediction is that it won't end well.

              1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

                Re: And I wouldn't work for them in the first place.

                Difficult to judge until you start to work with a company.

                I've "lost" many clients by refusing to compromise my ethics.

              2. RubberJohnny

                Re: Computers in general aren't really corporate trash pile material.

                I don’t think US is the only nation disposing of obsolete Xeon based hardware.

              3. philstubbington

                Re: Computers in general aren't really corporate trash pile material.

                The list of people who do it is public knowledge. Just search for the US DPL (Denied Parties Listing).

  11. PhilipN

    VIA and Cyrix

    More than 2 decades ago. That's not even glacial progress in the silicon business.

  12. Tams

    O Danny/Dannie boy...

    And 'Tonk' is such an appropriate for a Russian manufacturer.

    All thoroughly deserved by the bastards.

  13. msobkow Silver badge

    The only thing the Russians ever made that was worth buying was Schtolichnaya Vodka. :P

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The only thing the Russians ever made that was worth buying was Schtolichnaya Vodka."

      It has to be said that Russia also does quite a fine line in hot babes, and some of them can certainly be 'bought' as well…

      (I'm - hopefully obviously - certainly not implying that 'transactional' relationships involving people are a good thing, but the world is what it is…)

    2. Ace2 Bronze badge

      I have a bottle of Stoli right here that says:

      “Proudly produced and bottled at the historic Latvijas Balzams, … , Riga, … Latvia.”

      So I can still drink it as an FU to Putin!

  14. MarkMLl

    Who cares?

    The bottom line is that you don't need a supercomputer to read propaganda.

    And it doesn't matter whether that propaganda comes from Vlad the Insane or Elon the Erratic.

  15. razorfishsl

    you know..... it would be far more effective to recycle ewaste....

  16. conscience

    Russian Zen?

    These chips made in partnership with VIA sound OK, but VIA were never known for being high performance.

    How did AMD's partnership with Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Company (THATIC) work out? THATIC licenced the original Zen micro-architecture for use in Chinese produced CPUs, and AFAIK Hygon began mass-producing x86 processors codenamed "Dhyana" but I've not heard anything since then. Anyone know? If these Chinese Zen parts are now a thing it could go a long way to cover the gap in performance, and they could be a handy drop-in replacement for the Russians as well as the Chinese.

  17. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Coat

    The net performance should be about equal to Western chips

    Fast Western CPUs are saddled with a bloated capitalist operating system, 'free' spyware, marketing advertisements, secret corporate trackers, and other unwanted garbage. They struggle to find enough spare compute left for the user to run productivity software.

    Slow Russian CPUs are likely using most of their compute resources for productivity.

    The net-net for an end user's abiltty to 'get stuff done' should be about the same.

  18. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Ready for ..

    .. Windows 11?

  19. colin79666

    Sounds plenty fast enough for office work, especially since the export bans presumably include bloated Microsoft Windows. Their friends in North Korea seem to get on fine hacking the rest of the work from their Red OS Linux distro.

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