Russia will produce chips of the level of the 2000s, but on “sovereign” technologies

In practice, 90-nanometer “Elbrus” is only suitable for cash registers or for “some kind of special application.”

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Russia “decided to transfer” the production of chips from the Taiwanese factory TSMC to the city of Zelenograd. It is reported by 3dnews.ru with reference to RBC.

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Konstantin Trushkin, a top manager of the Russian electronics manufacturer JSC MCST, told the publication that the company intends to transfer chip production from Taiwan to Russia. According to him, processors could be manufactured at the facilities of the Mikron factory located in the city of Zelenograd.

RBC notes that the Elbrus chips, which are being developed by MCST, were produced by the Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC. However, TSMC “stopped cooperation with the domestic developer in early March,” writes the media, so the supply of new batches of Elbrus and Baikal chips (developed by Baikal Electronics JSC) stopped. For this reason, Russian developers “decided to transfer production” to the Russian Federation.

In fact, TSMC stopped working with businesses based in Russia after the government of that country ordered its troops to attack Ukraine. TSMC did not want to be associated with a toxic country, and also followed the terms of the sanctions imposed by the EU and the US. The fact is that although the chips are produced at Taiwanese facilities, the technologies by which the processors are manufactured are patented, mainly in the United States and the rights to them belong either to American companies or US citizens. Further cooperation with the Russian Federation may have negative consequences, since a company that has violated sanctions falls under them itself and risks losing customers.

3dnews.ru reports that earlier chips were produced for MCST using 16-nanometer – 130-nanometer process technology. The customers of this electronics were “mainly power and government departments.” Note that chips created using the 16-nanometer process technology entered the world market in 2014. As for the 130-nanometer process technology, processors were produced using this technology in the early 2000s.

The material says that Mikron allows the production of processors using 90 nm technology, but at the same time there are certain problems on the way to really mass production. “In only three years, Mikron from Zelenograd will be able to produce 180-90 nm processors with a circulation of 6 thousand “Monthly. Now the capacities allow to manufacture products exactly half as much. At the moment, in the Russian Federation they can create chips whose characteristics are comparable to those produced in 1999 (180-nm process technology was mastered by Intel engineers in 1999, – ed. .) To increase production, the Russians “will need about 10 billion rubles. until 2030,” writes 3dnews.ru.

“Probably, the funds will be received as part of a special national project for the development of electronics. By the way, the transfer of the production of Elbrus to the facilities of Micron will also take time and money – at least a year and several billion rubles,” the material says.

Trushkin noted that Russian production will make it possible “to create worthy processors with sovereign Russian technologies for critical information infrastructure, information security and other markets.” True, what is the uniqueness of “sovereign” technologies, he did not explain.

However, a RBC source, who wished to remain anonymous, said that even the 28-nm process technology (not to mention 16-nm) Russia will not be able to provide, either independently or with the help of other states. The source stressed that the 90-nanometer Elbrus would be suitable “except for thin clients (a thin client is a computer whose task is to transfer information processing tasks to a server – ed.), cash registers or for some special application.”

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