Chinese chip maker hopes to rival Intel, AMD, ARM with custom CPU

By on November 27, 2012, 4:30 PM

China is preparing to unveil details about an 8-core processor designed and developed entirely within the country. The CPU is expected to eventually challenge powerhouses AMD, ARM and Intel in the PC, server and supercomputer categories.

Development on the chip initiative began in 2001 by Loongson Technology, a group that is partially funded by the Chinese Academy of Science. The first processor to roll off the assembly line was the 32-bit Godson-1. It was followed by the 64-bit Godson years later; those chips have been used in low-power notebooks since 2008. Just last year, the Shenwei supercomputer went online powered by this same design.

The latest revision is the Godson-3B1500, a chip that has a clock speed of 1.35GHz and is able to churn out 172.8 gigaflops of performance while consuming just 40 watts of power. The CPU is being manufactured using a 32nm process and contains 1.14 billion transistors.

A preview from the International Solid-State Circuits Conference to be held in San Francisco starting February 17 shows the new chip is about 35 percent more power efficient than the previous Godson-3B design built on a 65nm process. It has nearly double the number of transistors as well.

It’s worth pointing out that Loongson CPUs aren’t compatible with Microsoft Windows which will likely lead to lower adoption rates. Of course at this stage in the game, there are plenty of platforms that are very successful without Windows – just think mobile.

We are told that full details on this CPU will be unveiled at the ISSCC early next year.

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