China’s semiconductor industry has picked up the pace, achieving double-digit growth last year. Part of this is due to the Chinese government pouring funds into the manufacture of ICs through the “National Integrated Circuit Industry Development Program.” It is through this program that Via Alliance Semiconductor has announced it has entered into a joint venture with Zhaoxin Semiconductor which will be producing an x86-64 SoC.
The KX-5000 CPU will come in four- and eight-core versions. According to Chinese tech website EEFocus, the chips will feature integrated graphics, HD video decoding, SATA and USB controllers, PCIe 3.0 interfaces and a dual-channel DDR4 memory controller, all on a TSMC-made 28nm process. Zhaoxin says the chips will clock in at 2GHz.
EEFocus was not forthcoming with any other details but Tech Report notes that Via is known for designs focused on low-cost and power efficiency and expects the chip to perform similarly to Intel’s Atom cores.
The KX-5000 is only the first in a line of KX SoCs that Zhaoxin has planned. In the coming years, we can expect to see a KX-6000 and KX-7000. The 6000 will use essentially the same architecture as the 5000 but will be compressed onto a 16nm process. It is also looking to increase the clock speed to 3.0GHz and will support DDR4-3200 RAM.
The KX-7000’s forecast is understandably a bit vague since it is still a ways out but Zhaoxin hopes to have it 40 to 50 percent faster with a new architecture. It may also support PCI Express 4.0 and DDR5 and be contained on a 7nm process according to Weiwenku, another Chinese tech site. With the KX-7000, Zhaoxin aspires compete with AMD’s Zen processors.