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Chinese Loongson 16-Core MIPS 12nm CPU for 256-Core Servers to Launch Shortly

(Image credit: HKEPC)

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.

(Image credit: HKEPC)

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.