Chinese-made Loongson 3A6000 CPU makes a debut in $387 mini PC

Morefine M700S Mini PC featuring the Loongson 3A6000 CPU
(Image credit: JD)

A Chinese-made Loongson 3A6000 SoC is making its way into the retail market in the Morefine M700S mini PC. The CPU isn't a top-of-the-line performer compared to currently available AMD and Intel chips, though; The A36000 CPU's performance is equivalent to an Intel Core i3-10100F and about Zen 3 levels of IPC. 

Loongson's chip has four cores and eight threads with clock speeds between 2.0 and 2.5 GHz. At max, it supports up to 64GB DDR4-3200 SO-DIMM memory. According to the manufacturer, the SoC is made for industrial use, government, education, medicine, and other fields. 

Based on earlier reports about this CPU's performance, it makes sense to pitch such a device towards these fields, which wouldn't need the highest-end performance but will appreciate a PC with a small footprint and adequate I/O options. The M700S retails for 2,799 Chinese Yuan, the equivalent of $387.

Morefine M700S Specifications

(Image credit: JD)

The M700S looks like a NUC-style mini PC, measuring 149 x 145 x 50 mm, and weighs 812 grams. It supports 2.5G and 5G dual-band Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 with one PCIe 3.0 slot for an M.2 drive and a SATA connection for a 7 mm 2.5-inch drive. The built-in graphics supports a 4K resolution at 30 Hz and dual screens via two HDMI ports. The M700S has four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0, and one USB Type-C with 30W PD 3.0. For wired internet connection, it has one Gigabit Ethernet port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack for audio.

According to the listing, it is pre-installed with Linux-based Loongnix OS but is compatible with many operating systems like Windows 10, Windows 11, Tongxin UOS, Galaxy Kirin, and Ubuntu.

Challenges and Opportunities in Sanction-Imposed Nations

Making a CPU from scratch is no small feat. This CPU will likely be featured in desktops and notebooks intended for some fields. Loongson may make its CPUs available in Russia and Belarus as the countries have trade sanctions imposed by the EU and the US. Russia is currently struggling with its chip-making venture; about half of its recently manufactured chips are defective. The country is also transitioning towards its locally made software since Microsoft is shutting down its Office 365 cloud computing services. Loongson may enjoy a certain market share in Russia for now because of these issues.

Despite that, it will take time for companies like Loongson to make CPUs that rival Intel and AMD's performance. Intel's Pat Gelsinger has said the chipmaking companies in China are ten years behind. But as China has been on a shopping spree for chip-making tools and with opportunities to do business in countries imposed with sanctions, we'll see if it's able to catch up.

Freelance News Writer
  • nookoool
    It's only "compatible" with windows via x86 binary translation and WINE running on supported versions of Linux.
  • ThomasKinsley
    It appears graphics is China's weakest point. 4K 30hz (not sure if it's when hooked up to one or two monitors) is a significant limitation. Around 7 years old Intel igpus managed to get 60hz. I know the education market doesn't need 4k, but other minipcs can do much better at this price point. This is more than acceptable for government and education markets, but medical can benefit from higher resolutions.