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The x86 independent new architecture is about to come out! Domestic CPU performance may be greatly improved

Release on : Jan 10, 2022

The x86 independent new architecture is about to come out! Domestic CPU performance may be greatly improved
x86 domestic CPU
Recently, Zhaoxin announced in its official public account that it may launch a new server processor and desktop processor with a new independent architecture design in 2022, which will further enrich Zhaoxin's product line and provide users with smooth application migration and information security. strong guarantee.

Source: Zhaoxin
As the representative of domestic x86 CPU, Zhaoxin is also the only CPU company in the world that can manufacture x86 architecture except Intel and AMD. If Godson is the representative of domestic independent CPU, then Zhaoxin's x86 CPU will have the opportunity to compete with Intel in the consumer market.
Zhaoxin's x86 Road
As the most important component in consumer electronic products, the importance of CPU in the current information age is self-evident. However, from the market point of view, thanks to the long-term efforts of Intel and AMD, x86 has become a leader on the PC side. Even the later Arm architecture cannot shake the status of x86.
This is mainly because x86 has established a huge ecosystem on the server and PC side, including the mainstream operating system Windows, which is developed based on x86. The powerful ecological environment makes x86 almost invincible, and many software are also designed for x86.
But for China, national defense and security are very important, and it must use a completely domestic CPU, so it has Godson. For government departments and related institutions, it is best to have a chip that can run related software and be completely autonomous, so there is Zhaoxin.
Interestingly, as one of the few companies that can legally use the x86 architecture, how did Zhaoxin get this architecture? You must know that Intel will basically not license x86 to the outside world. If Intel did this, there would be no Arm for it.
The so-called x86 authorization actually refers to the patent cross-licensing agreement of the x86 family, and the instruction set itself is just a string of numbers without any legal protection. You can use the simulator to simulate the latest instruction set at will.
However, it should be noted that although the instruction set is not protected by patents, the implementation of these instruction sets, that is, the specific hardware circuit, can be patented, which is why it is very difficult for CPU design to bypass Intel and AMD. difficult.
In order to ensure that personnel in relevant departments can use general-purpose software with confidence, the x86 architecture must be used. In the past, only three companies in the world owned x86 intellectual property rights, Intel, AMD in the United States and VIA in Taiwan, China. Zhaoxin has successfully obtained the legal property rights of x86 through a joint venture with VIA, and is no longer subject to Intel and AMD.
VIA's acquisition of x86 CPUs mainly came from the acquisition of Cyrix and Centaur. Interestingly, Cyrix did not actually reach any agreement with Intel, but produced CPUs compatible with Intel pins through clean room reverse engineering.
Intel angrily sued Cyrix for producing x86 CPUs without authorization, but lost the case because Cyrix's 486-compatible CPUs didn't use any of Intel's patents. What is even more bizarre is that Cyrix countersued Intel for infringement, and the two parties finally settled and reached a patent cross-licensing agreement.
In 1999 VIA purchased Cyrix, which also had the ability to produce x86 CPUs. In 2001, Intel sued VIA's CPUs and chipsets for infringing the company's patents, but VIA then countersued Intel, generating Intel's CPUs that infringed Centaur's patents, and then VIA settled with Intel and signed a 10-year patent cross License Agreement. This authorization was later extended to 2018.
Now the patent cross-licensing of both parties has expired, but don't worry, the previous patent cross-licensing is permanently valid, which means that Zhaoxin can use the x86 before 2018, but can no longer obtain Intel's latest x86 architecture.
Intel, also known as the "toothpaste factory", has long used the Skylake architecture to squeeze toothpaste, and the IPC instruction set has not changed. It was only in the past two years that Intel began to add new AI instruction sets and AVX512 to consumer-grade CPUs, but AMD does not support these AI instruction sets, so almost all software except Intel's self-developed closed-source AI acceleration library can be used. Runs on Zhaoxin's current CPU.
At the same time, VIA merged with Zhaoxin in the past not only has CPU, but also Northbridge, Southbridge, audio chip and other technologies. It can be considered that Zhaoxin can provide a complete PC solution at present. For example, if Intel cannot sell processors in China under extreme circumstances, Zhaoxin's products can be the best alternative.
Zhaoxin, a self-developed architecture, began to break the shackles of Intel
At present, Zhaoxin also masters the three core technologies of central processing unit, graphics processing unit and chipset, and has the ability to independently design and develop relevant IP. Compared with Loongson, due to the advantages of the x86 architecture, Zhaoxin has a wider range of application scenarios, and there is no need to worry about the ecosystem.
On Zhaoxin's official website, the latest products of PC and server processors are the KX-6000 and KH-3000 series, which will be released in 2019, using a 16nm process with a maximum of 8 cores at 3.0GHz. In terms of performance, relevant institutions have done tests, and the single-core performance of Zhaoxin KX-U6780A is equivalent to 44% of i5-7400, while the multi-core performance is about 82%.
The processor models currently sold by Zhaoxin (Source: Zhaoxin)
According to the CPU development roadmap announced by Zhaoxin itself, the KX-7000 series will adopt a new independent architecture design, with DDR5, PCIE4.0 and other features, and some industry insiders predict that the series will use 7nm process technology.
Zhaoxin chief engineer Wang Weilin once publicly stated that the performance goal of KX-7000 is to reach the level of AMD CPU in the same period. Of course, at present, AMD has launched Zen4 with 5nm process, which has stronger performance. If KX-7000 can reach 7nm process Zen3 is already amazing.
Of course, the value of Zhaoxin does not stop there, even if the current processors can already support the operation of most general-purpose software, which is undoubtedly extremely important to the market.
For example, although the current information systems and PCs of many enterprises have been upgraded, the computers of most enterprises are still running Windows 7 or Windows XP systems, such as the maintenance programs of high-speed rail locomotives and some bank ATM programs. Under XP system.
The computer has a lifespan, and it needs to be replaced after running for more than 10 years. It is difficult to guarantee the reliability of relying on the second-hand PC market to purchase old hardware. For example, before the U.S. space shuttle was grounded, to replace hardware equipment, it was forced to go to the second-hand market to buy 8086.
The main reason is that the original core functions of the business are the same, and the business has not changed. Re-development of the system is just a waste. To replace a new computer, the previous interface, driver and even software cannot be supported. At this time, the value of Zhaoxin is reflected. It can support a full set of drivers under XP, and its reliability is much stronger than that in the second-hand market.
Moreover, with Zhaoxin, many industries can no longer follow Andy Beer's Law, because after many software upgrades, the core functions have little progress, but the system requirements have increased a lot. In most cases, users only need the core functionality, not the additional functionality of the new version.
Under the hardware control of Zhaoxin, many industries can always choose to use the old version software, such as AutoCAD2000, which is easy to use, and can continue to use it. If Word2003 can support the current work, there is no need to upgrade the latest version, and the occurrence of compatibility problems is also reduced.
Because the upgrade of the software version is actually a lot of expense for the entire company, and the compatibility problem can only be solved after the upstream and downstream enterprises communicate with each other. This is also the current true value of Zhaoxin.
Of course, Zhaoxin has not rested on its laurels. Just like the announcement that it will use a new architecture to design processors, Zhaoxin, which has an x86 architecture, will also be compatible. At that time, China will have a national CPU with high performance and without considering the ecological environment.