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China-Based Zhaoxin Targets 2021 for 7nm CPUs With PCIe 4.0, DDR5 Support

(Image credit: Dmitriy Rybin/Shutterstock)

As reported by WikiChip Fuse this week, Chinese CPU maker Zhaoxin has outlined the designs for its next-generation KaiXian and KaiSheng processors. This reveal comes on the heels of a Bloomberg report this fall that China is pushing hard to decrease the country's dependency on U.S. technology.

Zhaoxin has two primary product lines. The KaiXian chips are designed for the consumer market, while the KaiSheng processors are tailored towards the server market. Zhaoxin's existing KaiXian KX-6000 and KaiSheng KH-30000 series are on the outdated 16nm process node. However, the Chinese company expects to reach parity with Intel and AMD by 2021.

KaiXian KX-7000: Marching to PCIe 4.0 and DDR5

Current KaiXian KX-6000 processors are based on the LuJiaZui microarchitecture and produced with TSMC's 16nm manufacturing process. The chips max out at eight cores and feature base clocks up to 3 GHz. However, the upcoming KX-7000 chips will seemingly employ a new processor microarchitecture, which Zhaoxin hasn't unveiled yet. 

TSMC is reportedly in charge of producing the KX-7000 chips for Zhaoxin with the foundry's 7nm process node. Going from 16nm to 7nm is a pretty big jump and should allow Zhaoxin to squeeze more megahertz into the KX-7000 chips. If the new microarchitecture is legit, Zhaoxin should be able to close the performance gap between it and Intel or AMD.

The 7nm KX-7000 parts are expected to come with a new iGPU (integrated graphics processing unit) that's compatible with DirectX 12, as well as support for the latest PCIe 4.0 interface, (which Intel chips don't support yet), and DDR5 RAM.

According to WikiChip, Zhaoxin has started working on sub-7nm designs for several mobile and desktop CPUs as well. The Chinese semiconductor company is keeping a tight lip on the details. However, the publication believes that Zhaoxin could hit TSMC up for its N5 or N5P manufacturing process.

KaiSheng KH-40000: Leaping to 32 Cores

Similar to Zhaoxin's consumer offerings, the existing KH-30000 chips feature the same LuJiaZui microarchitecture and 16nm node. They sport up to eight cores and base clocks up to 2.7 GHz. The KH-40000 series will be the direct replacement and debut with a new and improved microarchitecture. 

Sadly, the KH-40000 will be stuck on the 16nm process node. Nonetheless, Zhaoxin is promising to quadruple the core count from eight to 32 cores. This would effectively put the KH-40000 on the same ground as AMD's Threadripper chips - at least from a core perspective. It remains to be seen how the Zhaoxin's new microarchitecture fairs against its rivals.

The KH-40000 processors seemingly come with dual-socket support, so it will be possible to combine two of them for the possibility to have up to 64 cores in a single system. The 16nm chip's other attributes include continued use of DDR4 RAM and the PCIe 3.0 interface.

  • StewartHH
    I am curious this is the same china chip that AMD gave technology to. I am curious if this has connection to recent tariffs. Something smells really dirty.
    Reply
  • justin.m.beauvais
    It is Chinese. It will probably be inferior and they will just lie and say it is superior. Like they do with their military hardware, and cars, and other electronics, and dog food. I am surprised they are going to be working with TSMC though. China and Taiwan don't exactly see eye to eye on much. I guess business brings the world together... in the name of profit and beating America.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    StewartHH said:
    I am curious if this has connection to recent tariffs. Something smells really dirty.
    China always had plans to do everything home-grown eventually, much of it started over a decade ago. Tariffs simply put those plans on the fast track.

    And now, the obligatory question nobody is asking: will it run Crysis?
    Reply
  • bit_user
    StewartHH said:
    I am curious this is the same china chip that AMD gave technology to.
    No, it's based on a home-grown microarchitecture.

    AMD also said they took precautions to prevent theft of their IP, though I'm not sure if details were ever released on specifically what that entailed.

    StewartHH said:
    I am curious if this has connection to recent tariffs. Something smells really dirty.
    The tariffs only accelerated what China was already working towards.

    The dirty part would be if it has a "secure boot" feature, like modern x86 CPUs, and if The Party is the one who owns and controls the keys to sign each OS release. Then, they could simply refuse to sign any image that didn't have their government-mandated back doors. It's one thing, if they want to sell those systems to their own people, but don't think for even a minute they won't be exporting these and "dumping" them on the rest of the world.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    justin.m.beauvais said:
    It is Chinese. It will probably be inferior and they will just lie and say it is superior. Like they do with their military hardware, and cars, and other electronics, and dog food.
    ...for a while. But they'll eventually catch up. Just like Japan, then Korea, and even Taiwan did.

    justin.m.beauvais said:
    I am surprised they are going to be working with TSMC though.
    Nothing special, here. China has been fabbing stuff on TSMC, for a long time. On the flip side, most Taiwanese electronics (motherboard, video cards, monitors, etc.) are actually manufactured in mainland China.

    justin.m.beauvais said:
    China and Taiwan don't exactly see eye to eye on much. I guess business brings the world together... in the name of profit and beating America.
    Wow, way to throw Taiwan under the bus. Taiwan can't afford to lock out China. That doesn't mean they're doing anything other than trying to keep their economy afloat. Would you say that the US doing manufacturing in mainland China is in the name of beating Taiwan?

    Before you vilify them, consider it's the US who officially de-recognized Taiwan, in the late 1970s! China is like 50x their size, and they don't have tens of thousands of US troops stationed there, like South Korea and Japan do, yet China is just like 100 miles off their coast. Just how high a price should Taiwan pay, just to flip China the bird? Because even if they did, it wouldn't be much more than a speed bump for China.
    Reply
  • justin.m.beauvais
    bit_user said:
    ...for a while. But they'll eventually catch up. Just like Japan, then Korea, and even Taiwan did.
    Oh I 100% agree that eventually they will get there, and once they do they will probably become a fearsome competitor on the world stage, but lets be honest, it is still at LEAST 5-10 years off, and a lot of it has come on the back of blatant theft of other countries technology and intellectual property.

    bit_user said:
    Wow, way to throw Taiwan under the bus. Taiwan can't afford to lock out China. That doesn't mean they're doing anything other than trying to keep their economy afloat. Would you say that the US doing manufacturing in mainland China is in the name of beating Taiwan?
    I wan't implying that Taiwan is doing things in the name of beating America. The CCP has openly stated that they are in an unrestricted war with the US. They REALLY want to beat us in any and every way they can. I know all of China doesn't share that sentiment, but the people don't run China, the CCP does.

    bit_user said:
    China is just like 100 miles off their coast. Just how high a price should Taiwan pay, just to flip China the bird? Because even if they did, it wouldn't be much more than a speed bump for China.
    There are a lot of reasons China hasn't reintegrated Taiwan, and international pressure isn't even the top reason. Don't get me wrong, Taiwan has a lot to fear from China, but most of Taiwan's success and wealth comes from dealing with the west, not China. As for China doing business with Taiwan, it makes sense, I just figured China would try to grow their semiconductor industry by working with their own companies. After all, nothing says reducing foreign dependency like going outside your country to have your things made... of course China still thinks Taiwan is China, so they probably see it differently.
    Reply
  • Geef
    Two things.

    They will by default have something so Chinese government can take over the computer.

    They most likely stole the technology they didn't get for free elsewhere.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    justin.m.beauvais said:
    As for China doing business with Taiwan, it makes sense, I just figured China would try to grow their semiconductor industry by working with their own companies. After all, nothing says reducing foreign dependency like going outside your country to have your things made...
    China is building & expanding its own domestic fabs, but they're still a couple generations behind. China has decided to switch to its own computer hardware designs, without waiting for its fabs to catch up, and they understandably don't want to take huge leaps backwards in compute capability, in the meantime.

    That's how I read it, anyhow. You also have a point that it probably makes a difference whether they fabbed in Taiwan vs. South Korea. They probably figure they'll eventually take control of Taiwan, so it's no big deal if they have to use its fabs for the time being - it's still sort of indigenous.
    Reply