What’s new in Chips?
- China has successfully produced a new high-performance quad-core CPU, the Loongson 3A6000, using their own LoongArch instruction set architecture.
- Shanghai Micro Electronics has developed advanced 28nm immersion lithography machines domestically in China, which are capable of manufacturing 7nm chips through multiple exposures.
Recently, a significant milestone in China’s pursuit of independent CPU design has been achieved with the successful production of the new generation quad-core processor, the Loongson 3A6000. This processor, based on the LoongArchitecture, marks a notable advancement in the technological landscape.
The R&D Laboratory of the China Electronics Technology Standardization Institute conducted a comprehensive series of tests on the Loongson 3A6000 quad-core processor. Operating at a frequency of 2.5GHz, the processor demonstrated a single-thread integer/floating point score of 43.1/54.6 in SPEC CPU 2006 base, and a multi-thread integer/floating point score of 155/140 in SPEC CPU 2006 base. The dual DDR4-3200 memory channels exhibited a bandwidth exceeding 42GB/s, with Unixbench measurements surpassing 7400 points. These test results, evaluated holistically, suggest that the overall performance of the Loongson 3A6000 processor rivals that of Intel’s 10th generation quad-core processors launched in 2020.
The test platform used for these results comprised a Loongson 3A6000 with four cores and eight threads operating at 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR4 3200 memory, 256 NVME hard disks, and the Loongnix (V20.4) operating system alongside the LoongArch64 gcc8.3 compiler.
The Loongson 3A6000 processor utilizes the independently designed LoongArch™ instruction set. This architecture, from high-level structure to instruction functionalities and ABI standards, was created totally with homegrown design and without licensing from any other country. Numerous international open-source communities associated with instruction sets, as well as operating systems like Unisoc, Kirin, Euler, LongLizard, and HarmonyOS, have lent their support to LoongArch. This backing, combined with foundational applications such as WPS, WeChat, QQ, and DingDing, has fostered an ecosystem parallel to X86 and ARM.
Representing the inaugural product of Loongson’s fourth-generation microarchitecture, the Loongson 3A6000 integrates four high-performance LA66464-bit processors with six emission cores. The primary frequency reaches 2.5GHz, and it supports both 128-bit vector processing extension instructions (LSX) and 256-bit advanced vector processing extension instructions (LASX). The processor also features simultaneous multi-threading technology (SMT2), allowing for a total of eight logical cores. The Loongson 3A6000 includes a DDR4-3200 dual-channel controller and a trusted security module, offering secure startup solutions and national cryptographic (SM2, SM3, SM4, etc.) application support.
Compared to its predecessor, the Loongson 3A5000 desktop CPU, the Loongson 3A6000 boosts single-thread performance by over 60% under the same process. The overall multi-thread performance has seen a significant growth, delivering a smoother user experience. Future Loongson server CPUs are expected to multiply the performance of the previous 16-core Loongson 3C5000 and 32-core Loongson 3D5000 servers.
The Loongson 3A6000, along with other LoongArch CPUs, also achieve remarkable level of software compatibility. Loongson recently submitted a patch to the Linux upstream community, supporting the detection and scheduling of hyper-threading features of the 3A6000 and enhancing features. The Loongson 3A6000 further refines the level of software and hardware cooperation for binary translation, enabling the operation of more cross-platform applications. It caters to a wide range of large and complex desktop application scenarios.
In another significant development, Shanghai Micro Electronics has made a major breakthrough in the development of 28nm immersion lithography machines, according to a Securities Daily report. Expected to launch by the end of the year, the domestically-produced 28nm lithography machine is capable of manufacturing 7nm chips through multiple exposures.
Building on their previous 90nm technology, Shanghai Micro Electronics intends to mass-produce 28nm immersion lithography machines. Their first domestically-produced SSA/800-10W lithography machine is slated for delivery in 2023.
The fourth-generation lithography machine, using an ArF light source with a wavelength of 193nm, reduces the gap between China and ASML in the field of lithography machines to a single generation. This achievement allows Shanghai Micro Electronics to leapfrog Japanese manufacturers like Canon and Nikon, becoming the second most advanced lithography machine manufacturer in the world after ASML in the Netherlands.
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