As reported by WikiChip Fuse (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).
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 Zhaoxin's existing KaiXian KX-6000 and KaiSheng KH-30000 series are on the outdated 16nm process node.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 (opens in new tab)and feature base clocks (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab)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 (opens in new tab) and the PCIe 3.0 interface.
And now, the obligatory question nobody is asking: will it run Crysis?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.