China to unveil homebrewed chip in 2013

China to unveil homebrewed chip in 2013

Summary: The showcase of its Godson-3B1500 processor demonstrates China's chipmaking ability and helps it wean off its dependency on foreign vendors.


China will unveil its locally-developed 8-core Godson processor in 2013, which will be used to power PCs and servers, as it looks to wean itself off foreign-made processors.

A ComputerWorld report Tuesday said manufacturer Loongson Technology, which is partly funded by the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), will share details about the Godson-3B1500 processor at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) next February. 

The Godson-3B1500 has a clock speed of 1.35 gigahertz (GHz), and provides 172.8 gigaflops of performance while drawing 40 watts of power, it noted.

Godson cores also differ in design from both ARM and Intel and AMD's x86 architecture. It is based on a MIPS64 CPU instruction set from chip designer MIPS, and does not support Windows operating system (OS) but runs variants of the Linux OS instead, the report added.

The Godson processor has been several years in the making. Research for the chip started in 2001 and the 32-bit Godson-1 was the first CPU developed as part of the country's efforts to produce its own chips. Since 2008, chips based on 64-bit Godson CPU have been in use in low-power laptops such as the Lemote netbook and ShenWei supercomputer.

The impetus was further accelerated when China's three supercomputer organizations--CAS' Institute of Computing Technology, the Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology, and the National University of Defense Technology--were directed to use locally-developed CPUs by end-2011, the report noted.

Hu Weiwu, deputy of the National People's Congress and chief architect of the Loongson CPUs, said: "Our information industry is using foreign technology. However, just like a country's industry cannot always depend on foreign steel and oil, China's information industry needs its own CPU."

One Intel executive had earlier argued that China would be better served by working with chipmakers to meet its needs. Rajeeb Hazra, general manager of Intel's technical computing group, said while the efforts to develop chips may spur China's own academic community, it might not be the smartest things to do if it wants to be a world technology leader.

"Our goal is to demonstrate that for countries that may be contemplating that path, it's in their best interest, the best economic interest, to actually work with us and help us understand what they need rather than having to do something that is purely driven by a nationalistic boundary as opposed to more pure technology goals," Hazra said.




Topics: Processors, Hardware, China

Jamie Yap

About Jamie Yap

Jamie writes about technology, business and the most obvious intersection of the two that is software. Other variegated topics include--in one form or other--cloud, Web 2.0, apps, data, analytics, mobile, services, and the three Es: enterprises, executives and entrepreneurs. In a previous life, she was a writer covering a different but equally serious business called show business.

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  • China is a rising star in IT

    They are not burdened by the Windows legacy.
    • Hug?

      Microsoft gave that country, also known for "borrowing" IP, source code... Add in melamine, lead, suffering in drywall, no environmental regs, human rights abuses, worker suicides, etc, and the star is tainted slightly...
      • And China Calls the US protectionist?

        "CAS' Institute of Computing Technology, the Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology, and the National University of Defense Technology--were directed to use locally-developed CPUs by end-2011"

        okay, you must stop using ARM and X86 processors even though all your software is written for those architectures. why? because the almighty communist party commands it. you must also start using only Chinese software to run on these MIPS chips.

        These Chinese MIPS processors will take years to get to the point (both hardware and software wise) that ARM & X86 are at right now.
  • An interesting development

    If China begins making its own chips and gets production costs low enough and quantities high, they're likely to seriously challenge Intel and Windows OS in developing world markets in the not too distant future. That would permanently bring to an end any hopes of acquiring the next billion first time PC users - these were supposed to be supplied by the developing world population, which makes up a whopping 70% of the world's 7 billion inhabitants.

    Right now, both companies are already struggling to find answers to the challenge mounted by the ARM-driven smartphone and tablet markets that are quickly taking off in these sectors largely at the expense of all things x86-based. MIPS-based Android tablets are already in production in China, and Google plans to include native support for MIPS in its Android developer's kit. Given the nature of the Chinese government and China's strong ties to leaders in developing countries, I don't see a future that favors Intel or Windows in the long term.
  • Which world have you been for last couple years?

    loongson, or previously known as Godson, had been in market for at least 5 years. And you know what, no one really uses it. Pretty much dead when arriving.
  • And the shift of power begins ...

    This is a concrete example of the basic shift in power. The US is in decline and China and India are ascending. With much lower labor costs, a government not concerned about "a level playing field" for every idiot who can scrape together a handful of investors, and 1.3 billion potential DOMESTIC individual customers plus eventually tens of millions of business customers, it will eventually have its own version of Linux running on its own hardware, using a writing system that requires memorizing over 10,000 characters to be able to use the (human, not computer) language.

    This will eventually lock the US and EU out of the two largest markets in the world. It won't matter if they don't have the fastest processor with the most cores, etc. Windows 7 runs fine on 7-year old hardware with a Celeron from the Pentium 4 era. Plus, they'll be able to flood the US and EU markets with cheap Linux-based PC's that can do everything the average user actually needs to do.
  • why is it the best interest for themust the world

    work with Intel?