A Chinese processor has managed to catch up with Intel’s processor. The ice is broken.

The new Loongson 3A6000 processor for the Chinese domestic market is manufactured using the outdated 12/14nm process and has a low operating frequency of 2.5GHz. However, when comparing clock speeds, tests have shown that it has achieved parity with Intel’s current generation 14600K processors.

Chinese chipmaker Loongson Technology has developed its own architecture and design for the 4th generation Dragon chip, which does not rely on Arm or MIPS licenses. The company unveiled its next-generation processor in Beijing on Tuesday.

Loongson said the performance of its chip has reached mainstream levels in the international market and is targeted at “high-end embedded computers, desktops, servers and other applications.” The processor uses the LoongArch independent instruction set, which “has received widespread support from the international open source community and has become the world’s best instruction set architecture for open source software along with X86 and ARM.”

Chinese technotubers have already gotten their hands on a new piece of silicon called the 3A6000, which has four cores and eight threads, a thermal margin of 50W and runs at a low base clock speed of 2GHz with a turbo boost to 2.5GHz.

Tech reviewer Uncle Tony from Chinese live-streaming site Bilibili managed to overclock the new chip when paired with an Asus motherboard to 3GHz using liquid nitrogen. The test system used old generation DDR4 memory.

The new Chinese part demonstrated a 75 percent performance boost over its predecessor. In most tests from the SPEC CPU 2006 suite in Linux or UnixBench, a single core of this processor showed performance similar to the i3 10100, an older budget processor from Intel introduced back in 2020.

However, the 3A6000 has admirable performance in terms of instructions per clock. Uncle Tony compared the processor to the latest 125W mid-range Intel Core i5 processor 14600K chip, which is manufactured using a more advanced process, has a total of 14 cores, and turbocharged at more than twice the frequency, up to 5.3GHz.

When all processors were capped at 2.5GHz, it matched or surpassed Intel’s 14600K in some cases. The Chinese part was faster in a compiler test for integer workloads in Linux, while Intel stayed on top in floating point calculations.

The number of instructions per clock is only half of the processor’s performance, in fact the Intel part can easily overclock more than twice the demonstrated test. It is hoped that the frequency can be increased in the next generations in the future.

Despite the sanctions imposed on technology exports, China is making strides toward chip independence.

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