back to article Chinese CPUs to feature in servers made by sanctioned Russian company

If you have an enormous appetite for risk, we have just the hardware for you, from Russian outfit Norsi-Trans, powered by China’s Loongson. Norsi-Trans bills itself as making “the best hardware and software solutions network systems and business intelligence and production of server equipment for data storage and network …

  1. Filippo Silver badge

    All true I guess, but...

    1) "Not the most capable server" is much better than "not a server", which is what you get if you don't have CPUs.

    2) "Four generations behind the best Intel/AMD" is pretty good. It's not pocket calculators. It's plenty enough for most tasks, especially if they are parallelizable (just use more of them), as many modern workloads are.

    3) It's money that goes into Loongson's coffers, and which they'll use to make better CPUs in the future.

    4) It's "four generations behind" now, but what will it be a few years from now? Catching up is always much easier than innovating.

    Overall, being dismissive about this sounds like short-term thinking to me.

    1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Catching Up

      I'll take some issue with your item #4. Look at the old USSR's computer hardware situation: they spent all that time and trouble cloning IBM System/360s and DEC PDP-11s, and they're still behind. They built, and tried selling, an Apple II clone ... for USD 17K (or was it 22K?). I think it's more effective to do your own innovation (they've got plenty of bright people).

      1. Filippo Silver badge

        Re: Catching Up

        A good point. However, back then, CPU advancement was really fast, with Moore's Law in full swing, every R&D department running and running across open fields. Nowadays, not so much. I'm not saying it's easier, or harder, but it's not the same context. I guess time will tell?

    2. Danny 14

      4 generations behind? Thats fine. That puts it in the early xeon range so dell x10 era's. very capable servers.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pentium 90 anyone?

      >>> silicon is about four generations behind the best Intel or AMD has to offer.

      Next time the guys at your computer shop try to sell you a 4Q 2023 "Raptor Lake" (Gen 13), just tell them you'd rather have a bunch of 4Q 2018 "Coffee Lake".

      And then look at their face. Especially the prices were approx the same at the time.

      Some China fanboys really pushing it here.

  2. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

    Whatever happened to Russia's own Elbrus2k ISA?

    1. Clausewitz4.0 Bronze badge
      Black Helicopters

      Whatever happened to Russia's own Elbrus2k ISA?

      From what I recall, Elbrus is used mainly in military equipment - thus the eletromagnetic protection. Correct me if I am wrong.

  3. DustFox

    American is taking the west down with her

    The U.S is unbelievably stupid, hypocrite and warmonger... Those words are enough

  4. Clausewitz4.0 Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    Sanctions are being bypassed

    However the mere fact that Norsi-Trans is even making the attempt to build Loongson-powered servers suggests those sanctions are working

    The one writing this article must be high on an unknow substance. Does he realize, using Loongson is a way to bypass sanctions, producing more powerful servers?

    From what I recall, Loongson is supported by Richard Stallman.

    1. nintendoeats

      Re: Sanctions are being bypassed

      The point is, if given a choice you would not build a server using Loongson chips. You would use Intel or AMD. That off-brand chips are being considered means the sanctions are working, insofar as they are preventing Russia from obtaining the higher quality hardware. That is one of the goals of sanctions.

      Imagine the Russians soldiers were all being transported in Trabants. You would not say "sanctions on APCs aren't working, look they are just using Trabants!". You'd say "sanctions on APCs are working, they are reduced to using Trabants".

      1. Clausewitz4.0 Bronze badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Sanctions are being bypassed

        Had to look up what a Trabants was. Admit.

        Your point is valid. But so it is the blowback:

        1/ More Russian servers using Loongson

        2/ Chinese manufacturer of Loongson profits more and invest more in R&D

        3/ Chinese chips gets better and Russian servers get better

        Huawei sanctions are an example - such as the release of the Huawei Mate 60 smartphone (I will probably sell my iPhone and get a Huawei Mate 60)

        1. nintendoeats

          Re: Sanctions are being bypassed

          Yes, those are concerns, but they are long term concerns. They do not mean that the sanctions are not having the intended effect. It is a logical and expected consequence that if you cut off a nation's supply of some critical resource, they will develop alternatives as quickly as possible and your leverage will eventually slip away. That's one of the trade-offs you know you are making going in. The measures for success are the degree to which the sanction impacts the nation's ability to operate, and how long it takes them to develop the alternatives.

          Now that being said, I think what you are arguing for here is that even if the sanctions are successful, they are still a mistake. Obviously that's something we can only really know in hindsight, but I feel like the threat of China using this to fund further chip development is middling at best. If it's something China really wants to do, they are going to make it happen. I doubt that Russian business is going to be the major factor that pushes China's chips to meet or exceed the performance of western designs.

          I'm quite sure there was a meeting when discussing the sanctions in which somebody said something like:

          "...and Russia will probably started getting processors from China. Here's a report on the current state of their CPU development, with projections for their performance in the next 5, 10, and 20 years under various conditions. In making a decision, we should balance the short-term impact of the sanctions against any possible long-term affects on these projections."

          1. Clausewitz4.0 Bronze badge
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Sanctions are being bypassed

            "I'm quite sure there was a meeting when discussing the sanctions in which somebody said something like:"

            Do you REALLY believe USA politicians are, by any random chance, that intelligent ?

            Look at the FED and their federal spending !

  5. Securitymoose

    One almost feels sorry for them

    In my experience of components from that part of the world, if they work at all, they work just fine until the warranty expires...

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