Taiwan bans exports of chips above 25 MHz to Russia • The Register

The Taiwanese government has enacted a strict ban on the export of computer chips and chip-making equipment to Russia and Belarus, a move that will make it even more difficult for both countries to access modern processors following the bans on export to other countries.

The island nation is the world’s largest advanced chip manufacturing hub, so the export ban imposed by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, reported last week, will make it harder for Russia and Belarus to find chips for a variety of electronic devices, including computers, telephones and televisions.

Russia has already scrambled to replace x86 processors from Intel and AMD that it can no longer access due to export bans imposed by the United States and other countries. This has prompted Russia to source x86-compatible chips from China for laptops that will be considerably slower than most modern systems. The country is also switching to servers using its local Elbrus processors, which Russia’s largest bank has deemed inadequate for several reasons.

Taiwan’s new restrictions on chip exports to Russia and Belarus will significantly increase the pressure on both countries. Indeed, the export ban includes chips faster than 25 MHz, which means that Russia and Belarus will not be able to source chips from Taiwan faster than Intel’s high-end i386 microprocessors from 1980s. Processors as fast as Intel’s early Pentium processors of the early 1990s are totally out of the question.

This limitation alone would deprive Russia and Belarus of many microcontrollers and microprocessors that go into a variety of electronics. However, the island’s restrictions also extend to fleas with:

  • 5 gigaflops or higher performance
  • A 32-bit or greater arithmetic logic unit
  • External interconnect speeds of 2.5 MB/s or more
  • More than 144 pins
  • A base gate propagation delay of less than 0.4 nanoseconds

Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs has also banned exports of chipmaking equipment to Russia and Belarus. This includes the lithography kit which is essential for chip manufacturing.

The Chinese government did not take the news well, publishing statement monday who accused Taiwan of seeking influence and grandstanding with the new export ban.

But that should come as no surprise, given China’s continued aggression against Taiwan, its dissatisfaction with Taiwan’s rapprochement with the United States and Europe, and the Middle Kingdom’s friendship with Russia. ®

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