Lenovo adopts Chinese Loongson CPUs for cloud servers — 16-core Loongson 3C5000 chips necessary to rebuff US sanctions

(Image credit: Inspur)

This week, Chinese CPU developer Loongson published 105 programs from 53 developers that natively support its 5000- and 6000-series processors based on the proprietary LoongArch architecture. As the list revealed, Lenovo has quietly deployed Loongson's processors in its datacenters and is running cloud services on them, reports The Register. The scale of the deployment is unclear, but the revelation highlights Lenovo's commitment to using Chinese CPUs.

For now, Lenovo offers three software packages that support Loongson's LoongArch-based platforms: Wentian WxSphere Server Virtualization System Software V8.0 (16-core 3C5000L/3C5000), Wentian WxCloud Cloud Computing Management Platform V3.0 (16-core 3C5000L/3C5000), and Wentian WxStack Hyper-converged System Software V8.0 (quad-core 3A6000). For Lenovo, this is enough to deploy Loongson's 5000-series CPUs commercially for its cloud services and prepare to deploy the next-generation Loongson's 6000-series processors. 

Loongson has quietly gained traction in China with mini PCs aimed at the channel, NAS, and the education sector. These moves align with China's increasing urgency to replace Western technology with homegrown solutions, driven by policy objectives and necessity due to U.S.-led sanctions. 

Deploying 16-core 3C5000 processors for cloud services is something new, but it shows that Lenovo is confident in these CPUs and their successors, which will feature up to 128 cores. Lenovo's support for Loongson's architecture is crucial in making Chinese hardware a viable alternative to existing enterprise technologies. This support is expected to challenge companies like AMD and Intel, especially given China's vast market, which includes major telecommunications companies with extensive customer bases. 

It is unclear whether it makes much financial sense to use 16-core CPUs for cloud services nowadays, as there are more powerful equivalents from traditional x86 CPU vendors specifically architected for such workloads. However, Lenovo needs to learn how Loongson's CPUs behave with its instances today and try out the next-generation DragonChain microarchitecture-based processors that will be rolling out over the next couple of years.  

Notably, Lenovo's software stack is not the only cloud platform in China to support Loongson's processors; there are ten more platforms from various vendors, so there are more Loongson-based cloud deployments in the country. 

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • craigss
    Wonder how as a Chinese based company Lenovo are able to use banned CPUs in its products
  • The Historical Fidelity
    craigss said:
    Wonder how as a Chinese based company Lenovo are able to use banned CPUs in its products
    Lenovo was determined to have no ties to the CCP or PLA. Thus they are not subject to the western sanctions designed to prevent western technology from being dual used for military applications.