Zhaoxin's First Discrete GPU Pictured

GlenFly Technology
(Image credit: GlenFly Technology)

Zhaoxin, a joint venture between China-based Shanghai SASAC (which controls an 80% stake) and Taiwan-based CPU developer Via Technologies (which owns the remaining 20% stake). Last year it unveiled plans to launch a standalone graphics processor and it appears that Zhaoxin managed to produce one.

GlenFly Technology, a graphics subsidiary of Zhaoxin that is a formal assignee of Zhaoxin's graphics patents, recently published (thanks to @Loeschzwerg_3DC for the link) an image of a graphics card that is running the Unigine Heaven benchmark on a 22-inch Full-HD LCD at 32 frames per second (FPS). Considering the fact that GlenFly is not supposed to be running third-party hardware, we can assume that the board is indeed based on a Zhaoxin GPU.  

(Image credit: GlenFly Technology)

Last year Zhaoxin promised a standalone graphics processor supporting a DirectX 11.1 or DirectX 12-level feature set with a 70W thermal design power implemented using TSMC's 28 nm fabrication process. Such a GPU is not going to set performance records by today's standards, but it can certainly serve entry-level desktops. Until fairly recently, Via Technologies used S3 Graphics-developed GPU cores for basic processors, so using the same IP for something else is a possibility. 

The depicted card features a low-profile form-factor, does not have any auxiliary PCIe power connectors (i.e., its power consumption is below 75W supplied by a PCIe x16 slot), uses a modest cooler, and has an HDMI and a D-Sub display output. 

(Image credit: GlenFly Technology)

The Unigine Heaven is a 2009 benchmark that relies on DirectX 11-level capabilities and is designed primarily for stability testing. Modern graphics cards can easily hit hundreds of FPS in this test, but since we are not aware of GlenFly's test settings, we will refrain from making any conclusions about performance of the GPU.  

There is a claim based a post in a Chinese forum that the portrayed GPU is Zhaoxin's Ji Rui 3000 that has been cancelled, though we could not verify it. Keeping in mind that the image was published in 2021 and usually old benchmarks are run on GPUs during their bring up process, it might be too early to say that the chip has been cancelled. 

Neither Zhaoxin nor GlenFly Technology have ever formally announced a discrete GPU, so it is impossible to draw any conclusions about the graphics card pictured by GlenFly. Meanwhile, it is pretty evident that the two companies have actually built a standalone GPU for desktop PCs. 

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.

  • ReallyBigMistake
    I think AMD, Nvidia and Intel wont take this seriously and in a few years the Chinese will be making competitive GPUs. Same thing is happening with CPUs right now as Chinese x86 are increasing in power every year and soon China wont need to buy a single western x86 cpu. Intel really shot themselves by not buying the VIA x86 a few years ago when they could and taking away the Chinese ability to compete. At least Jensen will be kept in check and wont be able to sell 1000+ gpus anymore once chinese gpus flood the market
  • InvalidError
    ReallyBigMistake said:
    I think AMD, Nvidia and Intel wont take this seriously and in a few years the Chinese will be making competitive GPUs.
    One of China's major problems with catching up on tech is that it has extremely limited access to EUV equipment. It will need to come up with home-grown EUV before it becomes capable to compete against Intel, TSMC, Samsung and others. That alone will set China back several years as far as making home-grown chips able to compete with current-gen stuff is concerned.

    If China does manage to catch up though, it'll be unstoppable.