China's great CPU hope – Loongson – may be only four years behind Intel

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Loongson Technology, nan institution starring China's complaint to create CPUs locally, claims its astir caller desktop effort performs astatine a level comparable pinch Intel's tenth-generation Core family.

x86 watchers whitethorn callback those Intel processors bore nan codenames Comet Lake and Ice Lake, were announced successful 2019, and dribbled into nan marketplace crossed 2020 and 2021. Core counts reached ten, turbo-boosted timepiece speeds topped 5.0GHz, and request was precocious arsenic a viral pandemic that you whitethorn aliases whitethorn not callback sparked a roar successful working-from-home and truthful besides successful PC purchases.

Intel has since released 3 further generations of silicon and stands connected nan period of delivering Meteor Lake, its 14th-gen architecture that will afloat clasp chiplets and adhd a VPU (vision processing unit) to accelerate AI workloads.

In a post connected Chinese societal web past week, Loongson shared nan results of tests conducted by nan China Electronics Standardization Institute connected its 2.5GHz quad-core Loongson 3A6000 processor. The CPU cores usage Loongson's homegrown RISC-y LoongArch architecture.

Those tests were tally utilizing nan SPEC CPU 2006 benchmark – a trial that stresses a system's processor, representation subsystem, and toolchain. The benchmark was retired successful 2018 – 2 years earlier nan debut of nan Intel silicon pinch which Loongson claims parity, and 5 years earlier these tests.

Loongson's station stated that its silicon scored 43.1/54.6 points respectively connected nan SPEC CPU 2006 guidelines single-thread fixed/floating constituent tests, 155/140 points respectively connected multi-threaded fixed/floating constituent tests, and delivered 42GB/sec bandwidth complete dual DDR4-3200 representation channels. Unixbench scores topped 7400 points.

Which is not unimpressive, fixed that Loongson's latest LoongArch architecture is younger than Intel's x64, and nan truth that nan 3A6000 is nan first procreation of nan Chinese spot designer's caller statement of processors. It's emblematic for early silicon successful a processor family to beryllium slower – and characteristic less cores – than later releases.

So possibly China and Loongson will soon person a customer processor that's comparable pinch Intel's Core i9 screamers that topped nan Meteor Lake cycle.

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But moreover if Loongson gets its enactment together, it still faces a formidable obstacle: its LoongArch CPU architecture and instruction group are proprietary and RISC-V-slash-MIPS-ish. Regardless of really blase its silicon becomes, Loongson truthful has an tremendous occupation up to build a package ecosystem. Linux is yet to support LoongArch fully.

China's authorities has much than erstwhile signalled a displacement to computers and operating systems that employment only homemade tech. That determination could catalyze an ecosystem astatine speed.

But these benchmark results show China has plentifulness of activity near to create an indigenous PC ecosystem. Even if it does, that ecosystem would time off section knowledge workers pinch overmuch little powerful machines than those disposable elsewhere, and truthful still limited connected imported tech that nan USA is happy to contradict nan Middle Kingdom successful nan sanction of nationalist security. ®