Russia doesn’t have many homegrown processors — the Elbrus and Baikal are probably the two most popular chips in the country. While they may not be among the best CPUs, their importance has grown now that major chipmakers AMD and Intel halted processor sales to the country. They’re also apparently capable of gaming, as we can see from a series of gaming benchmarks from a Russian YouTuber. They even used Russia’s own domestic operating system for the tests.
The Elbrus-8SV, a product of TSMC’s 28nm process node, comes with eight cores at 1.5 GHz. Moscow Center of SPARC Technologies (MCST) developed the Elbrus-8SV to be the successor to the original Elbrus-8S, which had eight cores at 1.3 GHz. As a result, the Elbrus-8SV arrives with double the performance of the Elbrus-8S. The Elbrus-8SV offers 576 GFLOPs of single precision and 288 GFLOPs of double precision. In addition, the octa-core processor rocks 16 MB of L3 cache shared between each core, contributing to 2 MB per core.
By default, the Elbrus-8SV supports up to four channels of DDR4-2400 ECC memory with a memory throughput of 68.3 GBps. It’s a significant upgrade over the Elbrus-8S that embraced DDR3-1600 memory. The Elbrus-8SV’s attributes may not sound impressive, but there aren’t many options in the Russian market.
YouTube channel Elbrus PC Play (opens in new tab) put the Elbrus-8SV through its paces in some childhood classic titles, such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The reviewer paired the Elbrus-8SV processor with 32 GB of DDR4 ECC memory and an aging Radeon RX 580. The test system was on Russia’s domestic Elbrus OS 7.1 operating system, based on Linux 5.4.
The Elbrus-8SV ran The Dark Mod pretty well, delivering frame rates between 30 FPS and 60 FPS at low settings. The chip had no problems with The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, either. But, again, the frame rates oscillated between 30 FPS and 200 FPS, depending on the complexity of the scenes.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat gave the Elbrus-8SV a hard time. At medium settings, the frame rates hardly surpassed 30 FPS. They were between the 10 and 20 FPS range, with occasional freezes during the test. The chip didn’t have much luck with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky. The reviewer observed similar performance and scenes where the Elbrus-8SV was at 10 FPS flat. Elbrus PC Play also tested a few less popular titles, and the performance was a mixed bad.
The results speak for themselves. The Elbrus-8SV is far from being a gaming powerhouse. Some of the tested titles were over ten years old. Then there’s the question of compatibility. Unfortunately, the Russian chip isn’t on the compatibility list for many modern titles, so it’s relegated to running older games or console emulators.
MCST has already taped out the company’s new Elbrus-16C, a 16nm chip that wields 16 cores operating at 2 GHz. It’ll also support eight-channel memory and supply up to 32 PCIe 3.0 lanes. In addition, the 16-core chip will bring the single and double precision numbers up to 1,500 GFLOPs and 750 GFLOPs, respectively. That’s a 160% improvement over the Elbrus-8SV. It’ll be fascinating to see how much higher gaming performance the Elbrus-16C will bring to the table. The only problem is who’ll fabricate the chips for Russia since Taiwan has banned the exports of processors that operate at 25 MHz or higher.