A monoblock came to us on Baikal for the office – “Well, what were you waiting for?”

The first Russian personal computer on the Baikal processor came to us. More precisely, Baikal-M (8 Arm Cortex-A57 cores with a frequency of up to 1.5 GHz in the Armv8-A architecture). It looks like an ordinary inexpensive monitor, to which the motherboard and other components are attached to the back. Actually, it is.

Alt Linux Workstation 9.2 is preinstalled on the monoblock, that is, the machine is quite suitable for office use. On it, you can quite standardly work with files, office applications and more or less normally surf the Internet. What is “more or less” and “normal” and what does office work look like – I will tell below. In short: users will have to be patient, but native, domestic.

I would like to start with the fact that a piece of cable was sticking out of the monoblock from the side of the ports. The monoblock looks like a regular TV with a thickened back (where the motherboard is). So, a small piece of an HDMI cable protrudes from the depths of this rear part, which protrudes from there, only to be stuck into a regular external HDMI connector of the motherboard. Quite an unusual solution.

This is how the monoblock looks like:

When you turn it on, the Baikal boot screen appears, and then there is a standard Linux boot. Desktop wallpapers are standard, no bolgen surprises.

As soon as I took it out of the box, I immediately felt that this is the first monoblock on the market and that it is for those office users who are not particularly sorry. Apparently, they assembled it quickly enough and cheaply enough (which perfectly matches the market demand), so don’t expect Apple plastic here. The back of the device is loose, creaks and feels quite cheap. Again, this is still in line with expectations: an office workplace should not be expensive.

The screen is decent, good viewing angles, the contrast in this price range is sufficient, the brightness did not cause any complaints.

Specifications

With ports more interesting. Below are standard motherboard ports: two RJ-45 for LAN, one microSD, four USB-A 2.0. On the side are two USB-A 3.0 ports. USB-C stands alone at the top center, but it’s actually USB 2.0. And it serves as both a port for the webcam and its fasteners. That is, the module with the camera is stuck directly into it and “sits” on top of the screen. By the way, the camera inside the module tilts, but does so with the sound of an old creaking wooden door in a haunted house. But it works and continues to spin, I wrapped myself around, but I could not break it. The camera module is supplied separately, this is an option. Here it is:

Screen LCD 23.8” FullHD (1920 x 1080).

The power supply is standard – 230 V, 50 Hz, the consumption of this monoblock is a maximum of 150 watts.
Weight – net 5.5 kilograms, dimensions: 540 x 323 x 90 (WxHxD), 540 x 400 x 165 with support.

Now let’s move on to the tests, and then I’ll tell you what I think about it.

Tests

Naturally, when a new device falls into your hands, you should try to break it by overheating. This is where we will begin our test program. Using the lm-sensors utility, we managed to obtain data only on the temperatures of the processor cores. Data on the temperatures of other PC components could not be obtained.

The processor temperature did not rise above 55 ° C:

As you can see, there is no overheating, which pleases. To the touch, too, everything is in order. Under the terms of providing a test sample, it was impossible for us to disassemble the switched on device (and turn on the disassembled one), therefore it was not possible to impose thermal sensors on the motherboard, but the bottleneck does not arise due to overheating.

Now let’s move on to software compatibility testing. Astra Linux, Linux Red OS, Aurora OS, Alt Linux Workstation distributions are available for installation under the aarch64 architecture. We only tested the core software on Alt Linux Workstation 9.2.

In terms of software compatibility in general, everything is not so bad, you can find the necessary analogues of popular applications for this processor. Yes, and software development is clearly underway.

In terms of performance, this is an ordinary office PC – no more, no less.

The subjective assessment is as follows: a maximum of two Mozilla windows with five tabs each, a couple of office programs such as a spreadsheet and a word processor. When trying to open two videos at the same time, the monoblock said “hrrr”, like that chainsaw from the joke, he obviously felt bad, and he began to bend over. The video began to lag noticeably, it became difficult to use the candy bar. In general, exactly what you should expect from an office computer.

Official verdict: according to the results of preliminary testing, we can assume that this monoblock solution is suitable for use as an office PC as part of import substitution.

General impressions

We need Baikal processors in order to be guaranteed to receive computers without bookmarks of the alleged enemy. And no bookmarks at all. Now they can be used relatively safely in various sensitive strategic areas, for work in state-owned companies, and so on. “Baikals” are not made for the sake of competition with ordinary office PCs: they will definitely lose both in price and performance. “Baikals” are needed only to ensure the proper level of information security. Now the combination of these two things – the possible level of information security and the ability to work in the office – has worked out. The first monoblock looks strange in places, there are questions to it in places, but it is exactly what the first serial sample should look like. There is something to improve, but the main thing here is that it already works.

The main software also works. Doesn’t fly but works.

My feelings are twofold. Of course, there is a sense of correctness because this is our processor. But at the same time there is no complete satisfaction. They took the designer, assembled the designer. ICL made the case and screen, the board and processor were domestic there, and the rest was plus or minus the usual products of the Chinese electronics market. On the other hand, the warranty is 36 months, which is very cool.

However, this thing will be indispensable for those enterprise customers who are afraid of an import ban, who are already under it, or who need guaranteed working equipment.

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