3Logic Group has released the Angara motherboard for Baikal-M processors under the Graviton brand. This is a compact board with dimensions of 170×170 mm for small desktop PCs – nettops. Production will begin before the end of summer 2022.
Russian board for Russian processor
The Russian company 3Logic Group informed CNews about the announcement of a new Angara motherboard designed to install the domestic Baikal-M processor in it. This solution is for ultra-compact desktop computers – nettops and tiny all-in-ones.
The Angara board belongs to the Thin Mini-ITX form factor, which should not be confused with the regular Mini-ITX. The board itself has the same dimensions (170×170 mm), but the height of the connectors is half that. In addition, the Thin Mini-ITX standard provides for the use of SODIMM memory sticks, as in laptops, instead of conventional DIMMs.
Solutions based on the new motherboard will be manufactured and supplied by the company under the Graviton brand. According to company representatives, the release of the board and devices based on it will take place before the end of summer 2022. They did not name more exact dates, noting only that Angara will form the basis of a “wide product line”, and that “the first experimental parties.”
Representatives of Graviton and 3Logic could not answer CNews’ questions about the country of production and the volume of the first batches at the time of publication of the material.
What is the Russian novelty capable of
The new creation of 3Logic, probably named after the river in Eastern Siberia, received two slots for DDR4 modules. The total supported capacity is 64 GB.
To install expansion cards in the Angara, the manufacturer has provided one expansion slot – PCI-E Gen3 x4. Separately, there are two SATA III interfaces with a bandwidth of 6 Gb / s for connecting hard drives, SSDs and optical drives.
For more modern storage media, an M.2 slot is provided for solid-state drives up to 2280 in size.
Quick replacement of the processor in the “Angara” is not implemented. Baikal-M is soldered on the system board textolite, so if it fails, the user will either have to go to a service center or get a new board of the same kind. Holes for the cooling system are available.
Self-replacement of the CPU is not provided here
The side toolbar will offer the user VGA and HDMI 2.0 connectors for connecting to a monitor or TV, gigabit Ethernet, separate headphone and microphone inputs, as well as two USB 2.0 and USB 3.2 Gen1 ports, all with additional ESD protection. Additionally, a COM port is provided for connecting specific or very ancient peripherals. There is also a power connector on the rear panel.
In addition, Angara is equipped with the control of opening the cover of the Intrusion case and control of the movement of the board in space, the opening and movement are monitored and logged in the absence of the main power supply of the board. It is possible to use external iButton keys and smart cards.
At the time of publication of the material, it was not known who the Angara fee was intended for. Representatives of Graviton and 3Logic did not answer CNews’ question about its first customers.
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The Baikal-M processor, developed by Baikal Electronics, is positioned precisely as a user solution, in addition to the server Baikal-S. The first batches of both processors arrived in Russia in October 2021.
Almost a year later, Baikal processors may be in short supply. They cannot be produced in Russia due to the inability of domestic chipmakers to produce microcircuits using relatively modern technical processes. They can only offer 65 nm at best, while Baikal-M requires 28 nm, and Baikal-S needs 16 nm.
There are relatively few interfaces on the board, but all the main ones are available
Until February 27, 2022, the Taiwanese company TSMC was engaged in the production of Baikal-M and Baikal-S. She supported anti-Russian sanctions and removed not only all the Baikals, but also the Elbrus from the assembly line. In June 2022, it became known that she refused to renew contracts with her Russian clients.
Thus, relatively few Angara motherboards can be produced, since other manufacturers also want to see Baikal-M in their devices. For example, at the beginning of June 2022, the Omsk company Promobit announced its readiness for mass production of its Bitblaze Titan laptop based on the same CPU.
Angara is by no means the first Russian motherboard designed specifically for the capabilities of Baikal-M. The first such board, as reported by CNews, appeared in July 2020 and was the result of the joint work of developers from the Edelweiss, Basalt SPO and Baikal Electronics companies. The novelty has a wide range of modern features, including two slots for DDR4 RAM and support for M.2 SSDs.
The world’s first Russian motherboard for Baikal-M
The motherboard, which received the model number TF307-MB-SC, is made in the Mini-ITX form factor (not to be confused with Thin Mini-ITX), has two full-size DDR4 DIMM slots, a PCI-E 3.0 8x slot. You can connect two SATA devices and one SSD drive in M.2 format up to 2280 with an M key (M-Key), PCI-E 3.0 x4 interface and NVMe support to it. The list of board interfaces also includes four USB 2.0 ports, an SD card slot, two gigabit Ethernet (one optional), an input for connecting acoustics, two PS / 2 connectors for a mouse and keyboard, and two video outputs for connecting a monitor – HDMI and DisplayPort P2.0. The power connector is a standard 24-pin.