Zhaoxin

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Shanghai Zhaoxin Semiconductor Co., Ltd.
IndustrySemiconductors
Founded2013; 9 years ago (2013)
Headquarters,
Area served
China
ProductsCentral processing units
Microprocessors
Websitezhaoxin.com

Zhaoxin (Shanghai Zhaoxin Semiconductor Co., Ltd.; /ˈʒʃɪn/, Chinese: 兆芯; pinyin: Zhàoxīn [ʈʂâu ɕín]) is a fabless semiconductor company, created in 2013 as a joint venture between VIA Technologies and the Shanghai Municipal Government.[1] The company manufactures x86-compatible desktop and laptop CPUs.[2] The term Zhào xīn means million core.[note 1] The processors are created mainly for the Chinese market: the venture is an attempt to reduce the Chinese dependence on foreign technology.[3][4]

Background[edit]

Zhaoxin is a joint venture between VIA Technologies and the Shanghai Municipal Government.[1] In 2021 it was reported that VIA has a 14.75% shareholding in the company.[5] China has a domestic policy to "replace all foreign hardware and software from its public infrastructure with homegrown solutions" by 2023 (the so-called 3-5-2 policy).[6] VIA holds a x86 licence which allows its subsidiaries to produce compatible microprocessors; this allows Zhaoxin to develop x86 computer chips.[5]

Architecture[edit]

The architecture of the initial ZX family of processors is a continuation of VIA's Centaur Technology x86-64 Isaiah design.[7][8] The ZX-A and ZX-B are based on the VIA Nano X2 C4350AL.[9] The ZX-B is identical to the ZX-A, except that it is manufactured by Shanghai Huali Microelectronics Corporation (HLMC) .[9] The ZX-C is based on the VIA QuadCore-E & Eden X4.[9] Zhaoxin calls this architecture "Zhangjiang", however it is thought that the basis is the VIA Isaiah 2 architecture.[8] Like the VIA processors they were based on, early ZX processors were ball grid array chips sold pre-soldered onto a motherboard.

Zhaoxin came to the attention of the Northen American and European technology press when, in late 2017 and early 2018, it launched the ZX-D processor and revealed plans for future products.[1][2] Zhaoxin calls the ZX-D architecture "Wudaokou"; this is a complete re-design of the VIA Isaiah. It is also a departure from earlier microarchitectures, such as ZhangJiang, which were a lightly modified version of a VIA Technologies (Centaur) architecture. WuDaoKou was a new and complete SoC design.[10][8] Changes implemented in the ZX-D included the integration of a northbridge, like in modern x86 designs, as well as the addition of Chinese cryptographic functions.[8] The ZX-D series also had an integrated graphics processing unit (iGPU) based on S3 Graphics technology (previously owned by VIA).[11][12]

The former ZX naming was dropped around 2018 in favour of the KX ("KaiXian") designation for desktop processors and the KH ("KaisHeng") designation for server processors.

The successor to the ZX-D, the KX-6000 system on a chip (also called ZX-E), was demonstrated to the press in September 2018.[11] The architecture, an evolution of the ZX-D architecture, was called "Lujiazui".[10] The KX-6000 was formally launched in 2019.[13] In June 2019 the KX-6000 was reported to being built on a 16 nm TSMC process.[14] The chip has a DirectX 11.1 compatible iGPU.[11][12] In 2022, Zhaoxin was noted to have added ZX-E specific compiler support for the GNU Compiler Collection.[13]

The successor to the KX-6000, the ZX-F or KX-7000 processor series was planned for release in 2021. As of March 2022 there had been no launch and no further announcements about the processors, however. The chip is planned to be released on a 7 nm process with DDR5 support.[13]

Discrete GPU[edit]

In 2020 Zhaoxin announced it was planning to release a dedicated graphics card.[12]

Summary of architecture[edit]

Family Microarchitecture codename Year of introduction Process Cores Clock speeds Features Notes
ZX-A[2][7] VIA Isaiah 2014 40 nm 533 MHz to 1066 MHz Based on the VIA Nano X2 C4350AL
ZX-B[2][7] VIA Isaiah 2014-2015 40 nm 533 MHz to 1066 MHz Identical to ZX-A[9]
ZX-C[2] Zhangjiang 2015 28 nm 4 2.0 GHz
Based on the VIA QuadCore-E & Eden X4
ZX-C+[2] Zhangiang 2016 28 nm 4/8 2.0 GHz AVX2, AES-NI[15] A TDP of 35W[16]
ZX-D / KX-5000[2][17] / KH-20k[16] Wudaokou 2017 28 nm[18] 4/8[18] 2.0 GHz
Manufactured by TSMC
ZX-E / KX-6000[19] / KH-30k[16][12] Lujiazui 2019 16 nm[11][12] 8 (up to)[11] 3 GHz (up to)[11]
Kaixian KX-6000G[22] 2022 16 nm[23] 4 (up to) 3.3 GHz (up to)[23] GPU supports: DX12, OpenCL1.2, OpenGL4 .6.
DDR4[23]

PCIe 3.0

SoC

With GT10C0 Integrated GPU[24]
Kaisheng KH-40000[23] YongFeng[25] 2022 16 nm[23] 32 (up to)[23] 2.2 GHz (up to)[23]
DDR4[23]

PCIe 3.0

SoC

ZX-F / KX-7000[1] TBD TBD[26][27] 7 nm (TBD)[16]
Family Codename Year of introduction Process Cores Maximum speed Features Notes

Uses[edit]

Zhaoxin processors have mainly been used for Chinese laptops.[14]

Performance[edit]

The Zhaoxin ZX-C+ 4701 CPU was reviewed in 2020, and showed significantly worse performance against older Intel (i5 2500K) and AMD (Athlon 3000G) processors.[28] The ZX-D was noted to have roughly the performance of the Intel Silvermont (Avoton) processors (which were launched in 2013).[8]

The ZX-E / KX-6000 is reported to have a 50% performance increase over the KX-5000, and comparable performance to a 7th generation Intel i5 core processor from 2016 (namely the Core i5-7400).[11][14][12] The 8-core ZX-E U6780A was reviewed by Linus Tech Tips in August 2020.[29] The review processor was benchmarked to be slightly slower than a 3rd generation Intel i5 quad-core processor (originally released in 2012-2013) using Cinebench.[29] Gaming performance was noted to be poor, whilst the machine itself was noted to be expensive for its performance by 2020 standards.[29] Tom's Hardware also reviewed the U6780A and reported poor gaming performance in 2020.[10]

The aim for the ZX-F series is for performance parity with the 2018 series Ryzen processors (i.e. the AMD Zen+ microarchitecture, the predecessor to AMD Zen 2).[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Chan, Leon (3 January 2018). "Via's Chinese Joint Venture Aims For Competitive Home-Grown X86 SOCs By 2019". Hexus.net. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Tyson, Mark (2 January 2018). "VIA and Zhaoxin ZX- family of x86 processors roadmap shared". Hexus.net. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  3. ^ Clark, Don (21 April 2016). "AMD to License Chip Technology to China Chip Venture". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 April 2018. The VIA/Shanghai Zhaoxin KX-5000 series of x86-compatible CPUs will never be sold outside of China to avoid an Intel lawsuit.","...will use the technology to develop chips for server systems to be sold only in China
  4. ^ Wu, Yimian (23 May 2018). "China Supports Local Semiconductor Firms By Adding Them To Government Procurement List". China Money Network. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b Shilov, Anton (28 October 2020). "Chinese Chip-Producer Zhaoxin and Via Technologies Strengthen Ties". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  6. ^ Potoroaca, Adrian (5 March 2021). "China will use aging chips while its semiconductor industry catches up". TechSpot. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "KaiXian (ZX/KX) - Zhaoxin". WikiChip. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Schor, David (21 January 2018). "Zhaoxin launches their highest-performance Chinese x86 chips". WikiChip. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d "What's going on with VIA/Zhaoxin and x86 processors?". Reddit. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  10. ^ a b c Alcorn, Paul (10 April 2020). "Zhaoxin KaiXian x86 CPU Tested: The Rise of China's Chips". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Shilov, Anton (24 September 2018). "Zhaoxin Displays x86-Compatible KaiXian KX-6000: 8 Cores, 3 GHz, 16 nm FinFET". Anandtech. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Tyson, Mark (10 July 2020). "Chinese CPU maker Zhaoxin to launch a dGPU this year". HEXUS. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  13. ^ a b c Larabel, Michael. "Zhaoxin Finally Adding "Lujiazui" x86_64 CPU Tuning To GCC". www.phoronix.com. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  14. ^ a b c Connatser, Matthew (20 June 2019). "Chinese-Produced Zhaoxin KX-6000 CPUs Purportedly Match Intel's Core i5-7400". Tom's Hardware. Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  15. ^ "CPUID Dump, ZX-C+ C4580". instlatx64.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h "兆芯开胜KH-20000新品点亮安全可靠技术和应用研讨会". EETrend. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018. Translated through Google Translate at https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=zh-CN&tl=en&u=http://www.eetrend.com/article/2018-03/100078081.html
  17. ^ "VIA Technologies Subsidiary Zhaoxin Announces New x86-64 CPUs - ExtremeTech". www.extremetech.com.
  18. ^ a b "Via joint venture reveals KX-5000 x86 SoCs for Chinese PCs". January 2, 2018.
  19. ^ "Zhaoxin to roll out 16nm CPU in 2018". digitimes.com.
  20. ^ a b "兆芯自主CPU路线图公布:将追平同期AMD、支持DDR5". MyDrivers.com. 2 January 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018. Translated through Google Translate at https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=zh-CN&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.mydrivers.com%2F1%2F561%2F561579.htm
  21. ^ a b "x86, x64 Instruction Latency, Memory Latency and CPUID dumps (instlatx64)". users.atw.hu.
  22. ^ Mujtaba, Hassan (2022-11-01). "Zhaoxin Launches KX-6000G High-Performance & KH-40000 Server CPUs For China's Domestic PC Market". Wccftech. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h Mujtaba, Hassan (2022-11-01). "Zhaoxin Launches KX-6000G High-Performance & KH-40000 Server CPUs For China's Domestic PC Market". Wccftech. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  24. ^ Mujtaba, Hassan (2022-07-30). "Chinese-Made Zhaoxin KX-6000G CPU With GT10C0 Integrated GPU Features The Same Performance As NVIDIA's GT 630". Wccftech. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  25. ^ April 2022. "InstLatX64". InstLatX64. Retrieved 2022-04-29.
  26. ^ December 2019, Zhiye Liu 13 (13 December 2019). "China-Based Zhaoxin Targets 2021 for 7nm CPUs With PCIe 4.0, DDR5 Support". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  27. ^ "Zhaoxin Finally Adding "Lujiazui" x86_64 CPU Tuning To GCC". www.phoronix.com. Retrieved 2022-04-05.
  28. ^ ""Trillion Core" Chinese CPU vs. AMD & Intel: ZhaoXin X86 CPU Review ZX-C+ 4701". YouTube. Gamers Nexus. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  29. ^ a b c Sebastian, Linus. "A Chinese Intel competitor? - 16 August 2020". YouTube. Linus Tech Tips. Retrieved 17 August 2020.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In China 兆 can mean either short-scale million (1e6) or trillion (1e12). However, for IT-related topics 兆 always means mega/million in Mainland China.

External links[edit]