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First benchmarks of China's Loongson 3A5000 CPU surface

by Mark Tyson on 26 July 2021, 12:11

Tags: MIPS

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaeqvv

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On Friday, Chinese chipmaker Loongson Technology launched a brand-new CPU. What is notable about the new Loongson 3A5000 is that this quad-core processor is the first to be based upon Loongson's own instruction set architecture (ISA). Previously, Loongson CPUs were MIPS-based, but the 20-year-old firm has developed and launched its own ISA, without the need for foreign licensing, according to the company.

Linux-focused news site Phoronix noticed that some people, probably from the Loongson development and support staff, have been testing Loongson 3A5000 series hardware using the Phoronix Test Suite and OpenBenchmarking.org, so has some early benchmarking results to share with those interested in this new ISA.

Phoronix sums up the first LoongArch ISA chip, quite dismissively. Compared to the modern competition from the likes of Intel, AMD and Arm, the "performance isn't that impressive" says its report. It links benchmark results/comparisons for C-Ray, Perl, and a mixed compute suite – and the Loongson 3A5000 doesn't shine in any of them. In brief, the Chinese quad-core is roughly on a par with the likes of the Intel Core i3 8109U / Core 2 Quad Q9500 / Core i5 750, or Armv8-based Phytium FT-2000.

Loongson's new 12nm processor is claimed by the company to offer up to a 50 per cent performance boost over the prior MIPS-based chips it sold. Other advantages are that they are claimed to be more energy efficient, and support up to DDR4-3200 memory. This chip development is part of China's overall goal for computational architecture independence – the 3A5000 will be shipping in domestically marketed PCs, and there is going to be a server version too.

Some Loongson 3A5000 specs are shared by CnTechPost, as follows:

  • Loongson 3A5000 quad-core 12nm CPU runs at 2.3GHz-2.5GHz
  • Each core has a 64-bit superscalar GS464V autonomous microarchitecture with four fixed-point units, two 256-bit vector operations units, and two access memory units
  • Compared to previous generation Loongson 3A4000, Loongson 3A5000 delivers more than 50 percent higher performance and 30 percent lower power consumption while maintaining pin compatibility.
  • Loongson 3A5000 integrates two 64-bit DDR4-3200 controllers with ECC checksum support, and four HyperTransport 3.0 controllers with multi-processor data consistency support.
  • Loongson 3A5000 integrates a secure and trusted hardware encryption module.
  • GCC, LLVM, GoLang compilers support the processor, as do versions of Java, JavaScript, and NET
  • You can run Loongnix or LoongOS on 3A5000 systems.

If you are interested in the LoongArch ISA, you can find documentation on GitHub.



HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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Re-inventing the wheel, Chinese government has a lot of money to burn, they should learn that the west has many dead ISA architectures that have caved in over the years. Why not take RISC-V and throw in billions? China should know they are the below the West in tech (like forever) and PRIMARILY focus on making your own citizens life better by giving them the best in basic human needs.
The instruction set seems to have emulation support, which raises the question whether these are native benchmarks or running MIPS or AMD-64 code.

Still, brave move to release a new ISA these days. It's all about software support, and even with all its backing and a lot of years development RISC-V still seems patchy.

Edit: Interesting to see Hypertransport support in there.
DanceswithUnix
The instruction set seems to have emulation support, which raises the question whether these are native benchmarks or running MIPS or AMD-64 code.

Still, brave move to release a new ISA these days. It's all about software support, and even with all its backing and a lot of years development RISC-V still seems patchy.

Edit: Interesting to see Hypertransport support in there.

With China having the population size it does, there's likely enough there to build their own internal market and the advantage of avoiding external government spying / backdoors (and placing their own) likely has appeal. Combine that with what has happened to Huawei for being too dependent on Western IP and I can see their own developers creating (likely with CCP encouragement) their own software to be self sufficient and avoid dependency.

I miss ISA slots.
philehidiot
With China having the population size it does, there's likely enough there to build their own internal market and the advantage of avoiding external government spying / backdoors (and placing their own) likely has appeal. Combine that with what has happened to Huawei for being too dependent on Western IP and I can see their own developers creating (likely with CCP encouragement) their own software to be self sufficient and avoid dependency.

I miss ISA slots.

They can have all of that with RISC-V. Completely open source.

Apart from ISA slots :)
RISC-V might be patchy but why pretend you can do things alone? The reason why USA is a super power is because their tech and products are everywhere. If the primary goal of China is to conquer the planet with its ‘unique’ products they are way too late. Unless they come up with a futuristic StarTrek level tech (unicorn).