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|Type||Mixed ownership enterprise|
|Industry||Semiconductor technology industry|
|Founder||Dr.Hu Wei Wu|
|Headquarters||People's Republic of China|
Loongson Industrial Park, Building 2, Zhongguancun Environmental protection park, Haidian District, Beijing, China
|Services||Chip design, motherboard design, operating system and kernel maintenance, important software and library maintenance|
Number of employees
|More than 400 (estimate)|
|Website||Loongson Official website|
|Marketed by||Loongson Technology, Jiangsu Lemote Tech Co., Ltd, Dawning Information Industry, and others|
|Designed by||Institute of Computing Technology (ICT), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Loongson Technology, Jiangsu Lemote Tech Co., Ltd|
|Max. CPU clock rate||8 MHz to 2.0 GHz|
|HyperTransport speeds||800 MHz to 3.0 GHz|
|Architecture and classification|
|Application||Desktop, Server, Supercomputer, Industrial Device, Embedded Device, Aerospace|
|Min. feature size||180 nm to 28 nm|
|Instruction set||MIPS64 (with LoongISA extensions)|
Loongson (simplified Chinese: 龙芯; traditional Chinese: 龍芯; pinyin: Lóngxīn; lit. 'Dragon Chip') is the name of a family of general-purpose, MIPS architecture-compatible, microprocessors, as well as the name of the Chinese fabless company (Loongson Technology) that develops them. The processors are alternately called Godson processors.
The initial Godson processors, based on MIPS architecture, were initially developed at the Institute of Computing Technology (ICT), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in China. The chief architect was Professor Hu Weiwu. The development of the first Loongson chip was started in 2001.
The aim of the Godson project was to develop "high performance general-purpose microprocessors in China".
The Loongson processors are a result of a public–private partnership. BLX IC Design Corporation was founded in 2002 by ICT and Jiangsu Zhongyi Group. Based in Beijing, BLX focuses on designing the 64-bit Loongson general-purpose and embedded processors, together with developing software tools and reference platforms. STMicroelectronics fabricates and markets Loongson chips for BLX, which is fabless.
Instruction set architectures
Loongson began by using the MIPS64 instruction set architecture (ISA). The internal microarchitecture was independently developed by ICT. Early implementations of the family lacked four instructions patented by MIPS Technologies (US4814976A, unaligned load-store) to avoid legal issues.
In 2007, a deal was reached by MIPS Technologies and ICT. STMicroelectronics bought a MIPS license for Loongson, and thus the processor can be promoted as MIPS-based or MIPS-compatible instead of MIPS-like.
In June 2009, ICT licensed the MIPS32 and MIPS64 architectures directly from MIPS Technologies.
The Loongson 3 series saw the adoption of LoongISA 1.0, an expanded instruction set that is a superset of MIPS64 release 2. It can be broken down into:
- LoongEXT, general-purpose extensions, 148 instructions
- LoongVZ, extensions to the "VZ" system introduced in MIPS64 release 5, 5 instructions
- LoongBT, faster x86 and ARM binary translation, 213 instructions
- LoongSIMD, formerly LoongMMI (in Loongson 2E/F), for 128-bit SIMD, 1014 instructions
- MIPS SIMD Architecture (MSA), DSP, and VZ modules from MIPS Release 5
The Loongson 3 adds over 200 new "LoongBT" instructions over Loongson 2. Their addition has the specific benefit of speeding up Intel x86 CPU emulation at a cost of 5% of the total die area. The new instructions help with emulation performance, for example QEMU (the only known example). The new instructions reduce the impact of executing x86/CISC-style instructions in the MIPS pipeline. With added improvements in QEMU from ICT, Loongson-3 achieves an average of 70% the performance of executing native binaries when running x86 binaries from nine benchmarks.
LoongISA 2.0 was introduced for the GS464V R2 core, with the release of the Loongson 3 4000 series. Compared to LoongISA 1.0, the DSP module is removed, and a few sets are added:
- LoongEXT3 (updated)
Loongson moved to their own processor instruction set architecture (ISA) in 2021 with the release of the Loongson 3 5000 series. A Loongson developer described it as "...a new RISC ISA, which is a bit like MIPS or RISC-V. LoongArch includes a reduced 32-bit version (LA32R), a standard 32-bit version (LA32S) and a 64-bit version (LA64)". The rationale was to make Loongson and China not dependent on foreign technology or authorisation to develop their processor capability, whilst not infringing on any technology patents.
As of July 2021, the full ISA manual has not been published, but the ISA has been reported to be "MIPS64-compatible" by Loongson. It has been suggested that LoongArch is "just a fork of MIPS64r6", with slightly renamed extensions compared to MIPS64.
- GS1xx: basic embedded MIPS32 cores with hardware divider. 3- (GS132) or 5- (GS132E) stage pipeline.
- GS2xx: high-end embedded MIPS32 (GS232/GS232E) or MIPS64 (GS264) cores.
- GS232 has a 5-stage pipeline at max. 500 MHz. L1 = 16KB.
- GS232E/GS264 has a 10-stage pipeline at max. 1000 MHz. L1 = 16 KB, L2 = 4 MB shared. Out-of-order issue.
- GS464: MIPS64 core with four-way superscalar out-of-order issue. Developed from Loongson 2 cores, and first used in Loongson 3A.
- GS464 has support for MIPS64 R2 + LoongMMI (two different versions in 2E and 2F).
- GS464E has support for MIPS64 R2 + LoongISA. The cache is much larger.
- GS464V and GS464EV are variants to 464/464E with greatly increased vector capabilities.
All Loongson cores are little-endian.
The first Loongson processor, the Godson-1, is a pure 32-bit CPU running at a clock speed of 266 MHz. It is fabricated with 0.18 micron CMOS process, has 8 KB of data cache, 8 KB of instruction cache and a 64-bit floating-point unit, capable of 200 double-precision MFLOPS.
After the establishment of the company, the Loongson survey market re-established the low-end embedded product line - Loongson 1 Series. Currently known products are Loongson 1A, 1B, 1C300/1C101 (fingerprint biometric application chip), 1D (ultrasonic measurement chip), 1E04/1E300/1E1000 (1E series is Loongson Aerospace special anti-irradiation processor) 1F04/1F300 ( 1F series is 1E series supporting Loongson Aerospace special anti-irradiation bridge), 1G (audio special chip), 1H (oil drilling high temperature resistant chip), 1J (anti-irradiation single-chip chip).
The Loongson 2 is a family of MIPS III compatible processors. It adds 64-bit ability to the Loongson architecture. Initially running at 500 MHz, later revisions to Godson 2E were produced that run up to 1 GHz. The Godson 2F, released to market in early 2008, ran at 1.2 GHz.
The Loongson 3 family of processors are "...multi-core CPU[s] designed for high performance desktops, servers and clusters". They were designed as the first Loongson processors that had multiple cores. The processors were designed to use LoongISA - i.e. the MIPS64 ISA with additional extensions. The first version was the Loongson 3A, which used 4 GS464 cores.
In 2017, Loongson released latest version of 3A cpu, 3A3000. As one of the domestic CPU of China, Loongson 3A3000 is being commercialized, and in the recently exhibition in Nanjing (2017), based on the Loongson 3A3000 motherboard developers computer quietly debut.
3A3000 is designed with quad-core 64-bit and clocked at 1.5 GHz, power consumption is only 30 W. 3A3000 single-threaded performance is lower than Intel or AMD products. For comparison, the 3A3000's performance is about one-third of the Intel i5-4460 running at about twice the clock frequency (3.2 GHz/84 W), or a relative performance of roughly 66%.
In late-2019, Loongson released latest versions, 3A4000 and 3B4000. The processors are designed with four cores, 8MB of L3 cache and operating clocks between 1.8 GHz to 2 GHz.
Loongson 3 5000 series
In July 2021 the Loongson 3 5000 series was released. The processor series is Loongson's first with their own developed ISA, "LoongArch". The processors announced include the 3A5000, a four-core desktop CPU, and the 3C5000, a sixteen-core server CPU. Both CPUs are reported to be fabricated on a 12nm process.
The Loongson processors are mainly designed around using the Linux operating system. Any operating system supporting the MIPS architecture should theoretically work. Windows CE was ported to a Loongson-based system with minimal effort. In 2010, Lemote ported an Android distribution to the Loongson platform.
Loongson machines are used in the package-building and CI infrastructure of Debian and Golang, respectively. This is partially because of Loongson's status as the only vendor producing application-grade MIPS CPUs for retail.
The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is the main compiler for software development on the Loongson platform. LLVM is still inadequate due to missing workarounds for loongson's CPU errata. Loongson SIMD instructions are semi-classified and are unavailable in publicly available compilers, with Loongson 2F’s LoongMMI being the sole exception. A similar status applies to other LoongISA extensions.
Loongson microprocessor specifications
|Cache (KiB)||Peak Floating Point Performance
[ SPEC CPU2000]
|2E||1000||MIPS-III 64-bit||GS464 (r1)(Prototype)||2006||1||90||47||36||7||1.2||64||64||512||N/A||Unknown||503/503|
|1D||8||MIPS32||GS132||2014||1||130||1||6||3 × 10−5||Unknown||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Unknown||Unknown|||
|Loongson 2||2F||1200||MIPS-III 64-bit||GS464 (r1)||2007||1||90||51||43||5||1.2||64||64||512||N/A||3.2||Unknown|||
|2K1000||1000||MIPS64 Release 2 LoongISA 1.0||GS264E||2017||2||40||1900||79||5||1.1||32||32||256 × 2||1024||8||Unknown|||
|Loongson３||3A1000||1000||MIPS64 Release 2
|GS464 (r2)||2009||4||65||425||174.5||10||1.15||64||64||256 × 4||N/A||16||568/788, Single Core 2.4/2.3 (SPEC CPU2006)|||
|GS464 (r2)||2010||4+4||65||＞ 600||Unknown||20||1.15||64||64||128 × 8||N/A||Unknown||Unknown|||
|3B1500||1200–1500||MIPS64 Release 2
|1.15–1.35||64||64||128 × 8||8192||150||Unknown|||
|GS464E||2015||4||40||621||202.3||15||1.15–1.25||64||64||256 × 4||4096||16||Single Core 6~7(SPEC CPU2006)|||
|3A3000||1500||MIPS64 Release 2
|GS464E||2016||4||28||＞ 1200||155.78||30||1.15–1.25||64||64||256 × 4||8192||24||1100/1700, Single Core 11/10 & Multi Core 36/33(SPEC CPU2006)|||
|3A4000||1800-2000||MIPS64 Release 5
|GS464EV(GS464v)||2019||4||28||?||?||<30 W@1.5 GHz
<40 W@1.8 GHz
<50 W@2.0 GHz
|0.95-1.25||64||64||256 x 4||8192||128||Single Core >20/>20 (SPEC CPU2006)(@2.0 GHz)|
Currently,[when?] Loongson boxes that come with a 667 MHz Godson 2E processor or an 800 MHz Godson 2F processor are sold in China at CNY 1599 (US$200) or CNY 1800 respectively without monitor, mouse, or keyboard.
- Van der Led, a Dutch company, announced an 8.9" subnotebook, named Jisus, in April 2008. As of September 2008, however, no orders have been fulfilled, the manufacturer does not respond to inquiries, and the product is no longer on their catalogue.
- EMTEC, a French company, announced in June 2008 a 10-inch subnotebook under the brand name GdiumHome - Gdium Products | Gdium.com (beta), to be sold for "less than 399€" running Mandriva Linux. EMTEC announced the subnotebook would be available for sale in September in Europe, the United States, and China. EMTEC has already shown the devices in public events, and is reaching out to the developer community through the "one laptop per hacker" program.
As of November 2008[update] the new 8.9" netbook from the Chinese manufacturer Lemote that replaced mengloong, Yeeloong (Portable Dragon), running Debian, is available in Europe from the Dutch company Tekmote Electronics.
Loongson 3A laptop
Loongson insiders revealed a new model based on the Loongson 3A quad-core laptop has been developed and is expected to launch in August 2011. With a similar design to the MacBook Pro from Apple Inc., it will carry a Linux operating system by default.
In September 2011, Lemote announced the Yeeloong-8133 13.3" laptop featuring 900 MHz, quad-core Loongson-3A/2GQ CPU.
On 26 December 2007, China revealed its first Loongson based supercomputer with performance 1 TFLOPS of peak performance, and about 350 GFLOPS measured by LINPACK in Hefei, designated as KD-50-I. This supercomputer was designed by a joint team led by Chen Guoliang at the computer science technology department of the University of Science and Technology of China and ICT (the secondary contractor). KD-50-I is the first Chinese built supercomputer to utilize domestic Chinese CPUs, with a total of more than 336 Loongson-2F CPUs, and nodes are interconnected by Ethernet. The size of the computer was roughly equivalent to a household refrigerator and the cost was less than RMB800,000 (approximately US$120,000, €80,000).
On 20 April 2010, USTC announced successful development of Loongson 3A based KD-60-1. The new supercomputer is a cluster of standard blade servers with a total of over 80 quad-core Loongson processors, providing theoretical peak performance of 1 TFLOPS and reduces power consumption by 56% compared to the KD-50-I system that has similar performance.
On 26 December 2012, USTC announced successful development of Loongson 3B based KD-90-1. The new supercomputer is a cluster of standard blade servers with a total of over 10 octo-core Loongson processors, providing theoretical peak performance of 1 TFLOPS, and reduces power consumption by 62% compared to the KD-60 system that has similar performance.
The high-performance Dawning 6000, which has a projected speed of over one quadrillion operations per second, will incorporate the Loongson processor as its core. Dawning 6000 is currently[when?] jointly developed by the Institute of Computing Technology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Dawning Information Industry Company. Li Guojie, chairman of Dawning Information Industry Company and director and academician of the Institute of Computing Technology, said research and development of the Dawning 6000 is expected to be completed in two years.
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- Loongson Technology Co., Ltd.
- Efficient Binary Translation System with Low Hardware Cost
- Wei-Wu Hu; Fu-Xin Zhang; Zu-Song Li (March 2005). "Microarchitecture of the Godson-2 Processor" (PDF). Journal of Computer Science and Technology. 20 (2): 243–249. doi:10.1007/s11390-005-0243-6. ISSN 1860-4749. S2CID 27672171. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- LoongArch documentation