Zhaoxin, a joint venture between Via Technologies and Shanghai Municipal Government, has introduced its Kaixian KX-7000 series of x86 CPUs. Based on the company's Century Avenue microarchitecture, the processor features up to eight general-purpose x86 cores running at 3.70 GHz, while utilizing a chiplet design under the hood. Zhaoxin expects the new CPUs to be used for client and embedded PCs in 2024.

According to details published by Zhaoxin, the company's latest Century Avenue microarchitecture looks to be significantly more advanced than the company's previous x86 microarchitecture. This new design includes improvements in the CPU core front-end design as well as the out-of-order execution engines and back-end execution units. The CPU cores themselves are backed by 4MB of L2 cache, 32 MB of L3 cache, and finally a 128-bit memory subsubsystem supporting up to two channels of DDR5-4800/DDR4-3200. Furthermore, the new CPUs pack up to eight cores, capable of reaching a maximum clockspeed of 3.70 GHz.

As a result, the new CPUs are said to double computational performance compared to their predecessors, KaixianKX-6000 launched in 2018.

On the graphics side of matters, Zhaoxin's Kaixian KX-7000 CPUs also pack the company's new integrated GPU design, which is reported to be DirectX 12/OpenGL 4.6/OpenCL 1.2-capable and offers four-times the performance of its predecessor. Though given the rather low iGPU performance of the DirectX 11.1-generation KX-6000, even a 4x improvement would make for a rather modest iGPU in 2024. Principly, the iGPU is there to drive a screen and provide media encode/decode functionality, with the KX-7000 iGPU capable of decoding and encode H.265/H.264 video at up to 4K, and can drive DisplayPort, HDMI, and D-Sub/VGA outputs.

Another interesting detail about Zhaoxin's KX-7000 processors is that the company says they're using a chiplet architecture, which resembles that of AMD Ryzen's processors. Specifically, Zhaoxin is placing their CPU cores and I/O functions in to different pieces of silicon – though it's unclear into how many different chiplets altogether.

On the I/O side of matters, the new CPUs provide 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes, two USB4 roots, four USB 3.2 Gen2 roots, two USB 2.0 root, and three SATA III ports. And, given the target market, it offers acceleration for the Chinese standard SM2 and SM3 cryptography specifications.

At the moment, Zhaxin is not disclosing where it plans to produce its Zhaoxin's KX-7000 processors, nor on what node(s) they'll be using. Though given Zhaoxin's previous parts the and the limited, regional market for the chips, it is unlikely that they're intending to use a leading-edge fabrication process.

Perhaps the final notable detail about Zhaoxin's Kaixian KX-7000 CPUs is that they are set to come in both BGA and LGA packages, something that does not often happen to Chinese CPUs. An LGA form-factor will enable an ecosystem of interchangeable and upgradeable chips, which is something that we have not seen from Chinese processors for client PCs in the recent years.

Zhaoxin says that major Chinese machine manufacturers, including Lenovo, Tongfang, Unigroup, Ascend, Lianhe Donghai, and others, have developed new desktop systems based on the KX-7000 processors. These systems – which will be available next year – will run operating systems like Tongxin, Kylin, and Zhongke Fonde.

Source: Zhaoxin

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  • powerarmour - Wednesday, December 13, 2023 - link

    Still sounds more exciting than any Intel product this year.
  • ballsystemlord - Wednesday, December 13, 2023 - link

    Ha ha ha. That's a good one.

    On a more on a serious note, imagine who the ME (Management Engine) of this CPU reports to and you'll think Intel CPUs are far more interesting choices.
  • Lettuce - Thursday, December 14, 2023 - link

    A common argument for this goes that it's better that the Chinese government sees what you're doing than that the CIA sees what you're doing, because the CIA can break down your door or get you fired (or get other government agencies to break down your door or get other government agencies to get you fired or whatever), but the Chinese government can't really do any of that unless you travel to China (or a close ally).

    But that's not really what anyone is seriously alleging about IME. Rather, the concerns people raise are about security vulnerabilities in the firmware allowing taking control of your computer, perhaps even from the network. Security vulnerabilities don't care who is exploiting them - Chinese intelligence, the CIA, the FBI, organized crime, your coworker who wants to get you fired, etc. If this processor has an IME equivalent, it will also be exploitable by every one of these adversaries: as a user, you don't care if the vulnerable code was written by an American company or a Chinese company.
  • Threska - Thursday, December 14, 2023 - link

    That's why things having to do with remote management on servers is on a separate, not exposed to the internet, network.
  • ballsystemlord - Thursday, December 14, 2023 - link

    My argument was that the hackers *might* be able to compromise Intel's ME, but in China all businesses are required to give their gov any assistance they require, therefore their CPUs probably have an ME that allows the Chinese gov to spy on you without any sort of vulnerability being exploited.
  • mode_13h - Tuesday, December 26, 2023 - link

    > Chinese government can't really do any of that unless you travel to China

    This is an incredibly ignorant take. A foreign government can use blackmail and extortion to compromise individuals in industry and government. Not only that, for political figures that government doesn't like, they can used spying to feed information to their opponents and even run their own influence operations against that candidate. More importantly, Chinese dissidents are exposed to further levers of pressure if they have any family still in China.

    Oh, and don't forget North Korea's big hack of Sony, which crippled several parts of the business for weeks on end, simply because they didn't like a movie one of Sony's subsidiaries had produced.
  • Wereweeb - Friday, December 15, 2023 - link

    I'd happily use a Zhaoxin CPU if I lived in the U.S.

    Likewise, if I lived in continental China I'd happily use an Intel CPU.

    Some people here talk about CPU backdoors as if they were building servers for their government, instead of building a Personal Computer. It's silly.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, December 16, 2023 - link

    > Some people here talk about CPU backdoors as if they were building servers for their government, instead of building a Personal Computer. It's silly.

    Yeah, cuz malware/ransomware never comprises the PCs of small businesses or home users. So, no need to worry! Just destroy your own credit and you won't have to worry about identity thieves, either.
  • StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, December 13, 2023 - link

    Even though Anadntech doesn't breakdowns/review/benchmark anymore.
    Would still love to see one of this chip.
  • Samus - Friday, December 15, 2023 - link

    They are pretty hard to acquire by end users and consumers in the West. The KX5000 wasn't legitimately reviewed for months after its release by Russian blogs. Which brings me to the obvious elephant in the room: with current global sanctions on Russia, this chip will be incredibly popular to them as they can't really get anything else.

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