China's Zhaoxin KX-7000 CPU doubles performance of prior-gen chip, still trails 6-year-old AMD and Intel processors

Zhaoxin's KX-7000 CPU.
(Image credit: Zhaoxin)

A leaked Geekbench 6 result for Zhaoxin's new KX-7000 CPU shows that it's over twice as fast as its old KX-6000 series KX-U6780A. The benchmark score indicates that not only has Zhaoxin substantially improved clock speeds, but also instructions-per-clock (or IPC) with its latest CPU architecture. However, the KX-7000 is only about on par with competing AMD and Intel CPUs from the mid-to-late 2010s.

Zhaoxin isn't the only CPU designer in China, but it is unique given that it has a license to the x86 architecture that AMD and Intel use for their processors. The company announced its KX-7000 CPUs late last year, and claimed they would be twice as fast as the prior KX-6000 series. The spec sheet indicated roughly a 20% frequency gain and significantly faster DDR5 and DDR4 memory support (KX-6000 only supports DDR4).

Those improvements alone probably wouldn't double performance, but the purported architectural advancements may make up the difference. Zhaoxin boasts that KX-7000 and its latest Century Avenue architecture feature a new front-end, introduce out-of-order execution, and a better cache and memory system. 

KX-7000 adds 32MB of L3 cache to the mix for a total of 36MB combined L2 and L3 cache, compared to KX-6000's 8MB of L2. Plus, KX-7000 supports faster DDR5-4800 and DDR4-3200 RAM while KX-6000 only supports stock DDR4-2666.

In the table below, we've compared the KX-7000 chip's score to a KX-U6780A result, as well as the aggregate score of the Ryzen 5 2500X and the Core i3-8300, according to Geekbench. For the KX-U6780A, we selected the median result benchmarked in Windows (just like the KX-7000 was), though there were both significantly faster and slower scores.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
KX-7000 Geekbench 6 Score
Row 0 - Cell 0 KX-7000KX-U6780ARyzen 5 2500XCore i3-8300
Base Frequency3.0 GHz2.7 GHz3.6 GHz3.7 GHz
Boost Frequency3.3 GHzN/A4.0 GHzN/A
Single-Core Score8233161,1031,301
Multi-Core Score3,8131,4803,8013,825

Though KX-7000 is apparently rated for up to 3.7 GHz, Geekbench says that it only hit 3.3 GHz. Nevertheless, the CPU was almost three times as fast as the KX-U6780A, which is the second-fastest processor in the KX-6000 lineup. Although we don't know what kind of RAM the KX-7000 sported during benchmarking, we can conclude that KX-7000's architectural improvements are largely responsible for the uplift in performance, assuming that this is a legitimate result.

Similarly performing AMD and Intel CPUs include the quad-core Ryzen 5 2500X and Core i3-8300. These chips had a pretty similar multi-core score, but pulled ahead substantially in the single-core score. These AMD and Intel CPUs have a clock speed roughly 20% faster than the KX-7000, but are about 40% and 60% faster respectively, implying that much of the performance gap is down to architectural design.

While this isn't an amazing position for KX-7000 to be in, the new CPU supports as many PCIe lanes at 4.0 speeds and as much RAM as more recent-gen AMD and Intel platforms. Zhaoxin does lack PCIe 5.0, but given that only SSDs at the moment are taking advantage of PCIe 5.0, it's not a massive disadvantage.

Although KX-7000 clearly won't be breaking any records, for China it's a big improvement. Technological autonomy is a priority for the country, and while performance leadership would be nice, it's not necessary. With performance roughly on par with CPUs like the 2500X and the 8300, KX-7000 could power decent PCs made entirely from Chinese hardware.

Matthew Connatser

Matthew Connatser is a freelancing writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes articles about CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, and computers in general.

  • JamesJones44
    The single core scores are more inline with low end Haswell and Bulldozer based CPUs from 10 years ago.
  • nookoool
    Anyone know the backstory of their license? Do they have a perpetual license for x86 or some restriction that they can only be sold in x countries??
  • artk2219
    JamesJones44 said:
    The single core scores are more inline with low end Haswell and Bulldozer based CPUs from 10 years ago.
    Yep, right between Ivy Bridge and Haswell in single threaded performance (closer to haswell), and slightly better than haswell in multicore performance. That is definitely a usable CPU, its not some amazing firebreathing monster, but its perfectly fine for general usage and low end gaming. Id love to see its power usage measurements to get an idea of its efficiency.
  • artk2219
    nookoool said:
    Anyone know the backstory of their license? Do they have a perpetual license for x86 or some restriction that they can only be sold in x countries??
    If I remember correctly it comes from VIA since they are co-owners of Zhaoxin. Intel probably doesn't want to rock that boat since I'm pretty sure they're using some of VIA's IP in their products, causing both of them pain if they ever decided to go down that road. Its the same reason they would never go after AMD's x86 license, they would lose the 64 bit extensions for x86, which would not be fun in a 64 bit world. Isn't mutually assured destruction a wonderful thing?
  • Rabbit_AF
    Centaur Technology CHA001 MBCentaurHauls 2500 MHz (8 cores)
    UploadedSep 26, 2023
    Single-Core Score790
    Multi-Core Score3560

    Not too far off my Centaur Technology CHA CPU. Zhaoxin has a CPUID software and it identifies my CPU as a ZX-F. I have 2 of these Motherboards and CPUs, but have yet to test one.