Executives of Loongson Technology, a subsidiary of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said at a recent conference that the next-gen Loongson 5000-series processors were on track to be released this year. The new MIPS64-compatible CPUs are aimed at client PCs as well as multiprocessor servers. Interestingly, the new chips may be the last high-end MIPS64 offerings from the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
The chips in question are the 2.50 GHz quad-core Loongson 3A5000 for client PCs and 16-core Loongon 3C5000 for servers with up to 16 processors. Both chips are set to be made using a 12nm process technology (most likely one of TSMC's nodes), reports CnTechPost, citing a small conference that was held earlier this year. Both CPUs are said to be based on a new internal architecture that is compatible with the MIPS64 instruction set, feature enlarged caches, and a new memory controller.
Based on some previous reports, the 3A5000 was taped out in April 2020, which is why it is due in the coming months; whereas the 3C5000 was taped out in August, 2020, so it will be released towards the end of 2021 if everything goes as planned.
One interesting thing about Loongson Technology is that the company is reportedly 'looking forward to join the open-source instruction consortium.' The consortium mentioned by Loongson's executives is almost certainly RISC-V International, which essentially means that going forward, the company will focus on RISC-V.
Loongson has historically developed MIPS-compatible CPU cores, so switching to RISC-V should not be too challenging for the company as the architectures have many similarities. Meanwhile, the adoption of RISC-V means that Loongson's upcoming processors (or cores) will be supported by a broad ecosystem of software and hardware, something that will inevitably make them more competitive.
Developing new RISC-V-compatible microarchitectures and cores will take several years, so for now, Loongson will have to promote its 3A5000 among PC makers and its 3C5000 among server and HPC customers.