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A Chinese Challenge To Intel

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @11:57AM (#24861207) Journal
    I'm not an expert but I would guess that a shift to Chinese made chips will be harder on the environment since Chinese pollution laws are generally more lax. Also, if it is pushed by the government, I'm sure they're willing to overlook things. I believe corruption is rife in the People's Republic of China. This is very bad for Intel (and probably AMD, why not?) since there will be a much more cheaply made multi-core CPU available on the market.

    Great for the end consumer, however. Possibly even really really good for me as a United States citizen as Intel/AMD will be forced to drop prices to compete in the world market.

    Also, there's the 'patriotic' view of this and the fact that the U.S. owes China dearly as a trade partner. Import import import import and export nothing. This would be further propagating that, thus hurting the dollar a tiny bit more.

    Oh well, such are the intricacies of world economics.
    • by tha_mink (518151) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:02PM (#24861305)

      This is very bad for Intel (and probably AMD, why not?) since there will be a much more cheaply made multi-core CPU available on the market.

      I guess we'll see about that. I did find, however, the best quote ever from TFA

      "The decision makers and [Chinese] IT community have come to realize that CPUs [central processing units] are important."

      Um...yeah.

    • Looks cheap. (Score:3, Informative)

      Kinda looks [technologyreview.com] like a Cyrix. We won't be seeing any all-Chinese Alienware boxen anytime soon.

      The funny thing is that they're made in China by a Swiss company, then rebranded Chinese. Ya'd think that they'd want to do it the other way around. Must be a national pride thing -- China's motto is "Ours is crappier than yours, but we have so much damn more of it!"
      • by exley (221867) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:31PM (#24861751) Homepage

        The funny thing is that they're made in China by a Swiss company, then rebranded Chinese. Ya'd think that they'd want to do it the other way around.

        So you mean... Made in Switzerland by a Chinese company, then re-branded Swiss?

      • Re:Looks cheap. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by exley (221867) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:40PM (#24861889) Homepage

        Also, they are being manufactured by ST Microelectronics, which is a French/Italian company (French + Italian = Swiss?).

        This isn't quite "re-branding" either... The Chinese designed the chips, but since the developers do not have semiconductor fabs of their own (a very expensive investment), they contract out the actual manufacturing. This is very common for companies to do; companies like IBM or TSMC will manufacture chips designed by other companies but it's not considered a re-branding.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bestinshow (985111)

        That's the Dragon-1 chip.

        The Dragon-3 will have 4 cores. It uses MIPS64 but has additional hardware-aided x86 translation instructions.

    • by sethstorm (512897) * on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:06PM (#24861385) Homepage

      Transmeta has tried, Godson has already tried, and both have yet to make a dent. It's just another knockoff that will not take off.

      Like a lot of things from China, reliability will be suspect, not to mention any willful patent infringement.

      • by Otter (3800) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:23PM (#24861641) Journal
        Four or five years ago there was all this buzz about the Chinese Dragon CPU (based on the old Soviet Elbrus) that was going to combine with Red Flag Linux to destroy Wintel. Heard from them recently? The CPU fanboys don't understand that it's not about designing chips; it's about designing chips you can then make.
        • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:41PM (#24861919) Journal
          Actually, from the article, I think this is the dragon cpu (dragonchip in the article)

          And it is being produced.

          It also makes the VIA processors look like incredible speed demons.

          So the problem isn't being able to make them, but being able to make them /not suck/.
          • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @03:58PM (#24865031) Journal

            Actually there's a thing that both CPU and OS fanboys fail to understand: it's the apps that matter, silly. The hardware and even OS are just a necessary evil to run that software.

            The problem is having _software_ for it which doesn't suck, covers enough of the problem space, etc.

            The Dragon CPU doesn't have an Intel-compatible ISA, so it doesn't automatically inherit all the Intel-only apps. It's based on the (unlicensed) Mips III ISA. The lack of a license is also why they don't advertise it as such.

            But the cavalier attitude to IP is also what will bite them in the arse. When both are free as in, you can get them burned on a blank for (next to nothing), there isn't all that much reason to go with Linux ports instead of buying Windows and Office. Both do the same thing, but one of them has all the years of FUD behind it, and apparent incentives like "but everyone else uses Word and Excel, what if they send me something that doesn't work well in OOo?" or "but maybe if I learn to use Word, I can find a better job where they use that" or "but will I be able to play the latest pirated games on that?" (Even the "run them in Wine" doesn't exactly work on a non-intel architecture, because, as the recursive acronym goes, "Wine Is Not an Emulator.")

            I've been saying it for a long time: piracy isn't some grand revenge against the big foreign corporations. Piracy only serves to kill the cheaper, but good enough, alternatives. If the choice were "do I buy AutoCAD for the equivalent of 6 years of Chinese average wage, or get a local alternative for 1% of that" (or even a F/OSS one) the choice might be very different than when both are free (as in stolen beer;) The big foreign corporation, regardless of what BSA tells you, hasn't actually lost anything there. That Chinese kid making some graphics for a mod wouldn't have paid thousands of dollars on AutoCAD, because he doesn't have those thousands of dollars anyway. But he might have been more interested in some alternatives which may have less features, but are cheap and local, or outright free. Piracy only serves to kill those possible alternatives.

            And I'm not saying that as a personal rant against piracy, but because I believe that it's one reason why the Dragon will be stillborn no matter how good the silicon is. When the question comes, "but does this local Dragon computer run all that new pirated software?", the Dragon loses anyway.

            And China has already had a similar experiment with their own DVD-alternative. Regardess of what other merits or disadvantages it may have, it just can't compete with something which plays all those thousands of pirated Hollywood DVDs. When you don't pay the DVD license "tax" anyway because you pirate those movies (or buy them from a counterfeiter which doesn't), the lack of those royalties on the local brewed codec becomes irrelevant.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by LionMage (318500)

              The Dragon CPU doesn't have an Intel-compatible ISA, so it doesn't automatically inherit all the Intel-only apps. It's based on the (unlicensed) Mips III ISA. The lack of a license is also why they don't advertise it as such.

              But the cavalier attitude to IP is also what will bite them in the arse.

              You said it! If you read TFA, you'd see that Godson-3 actually does claim to have x86 compatible instructions -- and runs at about 80% of the speed of a real Intel chip. One of Intel's people was mentioned in the

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by longacre (1090157) *

                One of Intel's people was mentioned in the article as being very interested when details of the chip are released, because he's curious how exactly they're virtualizing the x86 instruction set without a license.

                Because they can. If Intel starts asking too many questions like that, palates full of legit chips enroute to desktop factories in China might start being denied entry to Chinese ports and airports, or might just disappear completely.

        • by bestinshow (985111) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:52PM (#24862083)

          This is the third major redesign of the Dragon chip. If you had read the article (haha, slashdot joke etc) you would have seen that apparently with each update they've tripled the performance, or so they say. There's been about 8 updates for the second major design of the chip, they're on 2G or 2H now, with integrated GPUs, and even integrated chipsets (System on Chip).

          Godson-3 / Dragon-3 chip will have 4 cores at 5W/core (allegedly) and interface using HyperTransport to a chipset (so they can probably use any compatible chipset from the PC world).

        • by evilviper (135110) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @04:30PM (#24865461) Journal

          Heard from them recently?

          Yes. They're being included in low-end computers, set-top boxes, and supercomputers, all over China. Such as the Tianhua GX-1C.

          The Dragon chips (and variations of) are also gaining some traction in Europe and the US, being used in a couple dirt-cheap $250 EEE PC clones. eg.: http://www.compsource.com/pn/3KRZ40074GB/3k_Computers_2340/ [compsource.com]
          http://www.gdium.com/description/ [gdium.com]

          The CPU fanboys don't understand that it's not about designing chips; it's about designing chips you can then make.

          They've made millions of them.

      • by kabocox (199019) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @01:21PM (#24862587)

        Transmeta has tried, Godson has already tried, and both have yet to make a dent. It's just another knockoff that will not take off.
        Like a lot of things from China, reliability will be suspect, not to mention any willful patent infringement.

        Unlike either of those two, they don't have the backing of a government will over a billion people in it. If they only make a CPU that's an ARM clone to run their cell phones and something that is slightly more robust than a Barbie PC, then I'd call it success if they manage to rollout a few hundred million of them to the chinese public.

        Intel will lose if they can't make hyper super cheap computers for China. I don't know if the chinese can do that, but they've got more incentive to do it than intel does. Intel can just play in their current market while these unknown cheap chinese folks come out of now where and it 10, 20, 30 years have e $1-5 chip that is just as fast as Intel's latest.

    • by Vancorps (746090)

      The U.S. exports to China as well. Buick [msn.com] has a very strong presence with GM Reintroducing cars into China after they have halted production in the U.S.

      Hardly balanced but China needs the U.S. as bad as the U.S. needs China. This alone will probably keep the peace.

      • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:17PM (#24861555) Journal
        Hardly balanced but China needs the U.S. as bad as the U.S. needs China. This alone will probably keep the peace.

        Why does China need the US again? I must have forgotten.
        • by Vancorps (746090) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:23PM (#24861659)
          The U.S. is China's largest buyer. They wouldn't be where they are without all that money flowing that way. If China were to collapse the U.S. economy which is something they could do right now then they would lose a lot of business devastating their own economy in the process. This nearly happened to the U.S. when Japan's market collapsed.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Wildclaw (15718)

            The U.S. is China's largest buyer. They wouldn't be where they are without all that money flowing that way. If China were to collapse the U.S. economy which is something they could do right now then they would lose a lot of business devastating their own economy

            This is exactly why it is bad to build economies around debt. You get artificial restrictions in the economy that leads to problems (recessions) when you can't find someone willing to get endebted.

            And when you actually find people people willing to get endebted the economy will roll on for a while until it reaches its limit and it again isn't possible to find people willing to get endebted.

            Of course, the ones making the big money over time on this is bankers, investors and others that deal in debt. For the

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bryansix (761547)
          Uhm, because China would collapse immediately without the US buying nearly everything they make.
    • by Divebus (860563) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:11PM (#24861467)

      Maybe now the Chinese will stop trying to hack my servers because they're already inside.

    • by dominator (61418) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:46PM (#24861971) Homepage

      Also, there's the 'patriotic' view of this and the fact that the U.S. owes China dearly as a trade partner. Import import import import and export nothing. This would be further propagating that, thus hurting the dollar a tiny bit more.

      Hardly. The US exports $1.15 trillion of goods and services per year. It's true that the US imports $700bln more than it exports. Exports recently rose sharply when the dollar's value was relatively depressed versus European and Asian currencies.

      If China would more aggressively re-circulate the $1.5 trillion in reserves it's holding rather than hoarding dollars, the dollar's value would fall relative to the Yuan (which is being artificially under-valued, which China can due to its massive currency reserves). This would make Chinese imports more expensive and US exports less expensive. But then, China's export-driven economy wouldn't be growing at an insane 11% per year.

      The current trade imbalance is as much China's "fault" as it is the US'. Maybe things aren't so unilaterally bad. There's some truth in the old saying that "if you owe the bank $100, you have a problem. If you owe the bank $1 million, the bank has a problem."

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by funwithBSD (245349)

        They are not holding it down using reserves, they have semi-pinned it to the US dollar. It does not float freely against our currency, it is a managed float.

        If they did that it would shoot up drastically, devaluing the dollars they hold and making Chinese goods much more expensive here.

        That would injury both parties.

    • by colmore (56499) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:51PM (#24862049) Journal

      Off-topic xenophobia here but:

      Is there anyone else who is a little worried about this scenario:

      There's a major decline in the economies of the first world democratic capitalist societies. The global business and banking communities notice that they're making more profit in the authoritarian society, and they apply their influence to see appropriate changes here. The developing world then gets incouraged toward more democratic and humane forms of social organization?

      Is anyone else worried that this is already happening?

      I don't think the Chinese are worse than most people in the world. I just think they have a scary form of government that is becoming more and more influential and not really getting more humane or free as their economy matures. It's dangerous for the world to learn that you can make piles of money without freedom.

      • It's dangerous for the world to learn that you can make piles of money without freedom.

        If you are worried about that then just look at the US. Considerable reductions in freedoms, particularly for us foreigners some of whom come to trade, at the same time as a major economic decline. That should persuade people otherwise.

      • I'm not worried, and my country is a lot closer to China than the US or Europe. In fact, I think many Asians welcome a strong China which will allow us to play China against the US to curry favours, just like we did during the Cold War. See here, the way I see it, there is no difference in principle between so-called democratic capitalist governments and communist governments. The only difference is the method of choice that they use to screw you. Unlike China, the US has developed far enough to no longer
    • Great for the end consumer, however. Possibly even really really good for me as a United States citizen as Intel/AMD will be forced to drop prices to compete in the world market.

      You missed a few basics in economics 101. Cost of production, Cost of development, Economy of scale.

      The cost of R & D, FAB construction and operation is why these complex parts are dirt cheap now. Cutting production in half due to competition will not reduce prices. It runs up costs and slows R & D as each product must re

  • Whew... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bragador (1036480) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @11:58AM (#24861239)
    At least nobody said it was a threat to AMD.
    • Re:Whew... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by avandesande (143899) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:25PM (#24861671) Journal

      Actually the first thing that popped in my mind was 'why don't they just buy AMD'
      AMD has really good technology but extremely poor financials... the Chinese could turn them around.

      • by Ilgaz (86384)

        AMD would lose every single Govt. and Big American company contract the day they do such deal with Chinese govt. Don't forget "AMD gets support from human rights abusers!" trolls too, millions of them, amateur or professional.

        If you think the cold war is over, think again. They just changed how they fight with which instruments :)

        • Re:Whew... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by thammoud (193905) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @02:28PM (#24863745)

          IBM sold the Thinkpad to a Chinese company. Thinkpads are still extremely popular.

          • Re:Whew... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Jorophose (1062218) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @05:26PM (#24866113)

            Thinkpads are not allowed in most US departments.

            Nonetheless, Lenovo takes intel/AMD parts and other manufacturer's stuff (or gets somebody else to do that) and sticks them a box, tests them, sells them.

            AMD makes those parts. Bought up by chinese means no x86 license.

            I'm really hoping IBM buys up AMD just to support it. That means Intel gets another serious run for its money. Will likely leave VIA in the dust, unless they merge/partner with nVidia. But anything is better than watching AMD die.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by oldspewey (1303305)
        ... or just invade Taiwan and take over VIA.
      • by Bragador (1036480)

        This is actually not a bad idea now that you mention it. Maybe it's linked to "chinese pride" or something like that.

        They would have access to AMD's technology and could develop their special processor for their own country on the side.

  • Oxymoron (Score:3, Funny)

    by arizwebfoot (1228544) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @11:59AM (#24861257)
    Wouldn't the term "Chinese Intel" be an oxymoron.

    -- Would this CPU be 16 years old or 14?
  • Easy Answer: (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    No.

  • Why x86-compatible? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @11:59AM (#24861267) Homepage
    I wonder why they are working on making this CPU x86-compatible. If they want to be really "free" from the western IT-world they don't have to care about running Windows, and when they don't have to care about that, they can just adopt gcc, the rest of GNU and Linux to run natively on their own instruction set.
    • by John3 (85454) <{john3} {at} {cornells.com}> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:02PM (#24861307) Homepage Journal

      It's gonna have to be x86-compatible to run all those counterfeit copies of Windows.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ilgaz (86384)

      Even in real (before Gorbachov) communist era, USSR was shipping 8086 compatible chips as far as I searched.

      Guess what? They care about Windows, DirectX and millions of x86 centric developers. China has always been a realistic country and even Russia couldn't dare to ship a non x86 small chip. Their mainframes were also DEC/S360 etc. clones. There is even a DEC chip saying "Steal from the best" when looked under electron microscope ;)

    • Sometimes before the new Intel chip has even made it to market. Just like new Hollywood movies. Read up on Chinese Silicon Valley business intelligence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hal_Porter (817932)

      It's not x86 compatible. It's a MIPS64 clone. According to this, they'll use binary translation and extra instructions to run x86 binaries.

      http://www.pldesignline.com/news/210201111 [pldesignline.com]

      Both the four- and eight-core versions of the Godson-3 are implemented at 65 nm, with clock speed of 1GHz. The design features a distributed, scalable architecture with reconfigurable CPU core and L2 cache. The devices are designed for low power consumption - the four-core draws 10w while the eight -core draws 20w, according to Xu's presentation. The designs utilize MIPS64 cores with more than 200 additional instructions for X86 binary translation and media acceleration.

      Problem is it's unlicensed, so they would most likely be sued for patent infringement if they sell it outside China.

      http://www.mdronline.com/watch/watch_Issue.asp?Volname=Issue+%23072505&on=1 [mdronline.com]

      In December 2003, Advanced Micro Devices and BLX IC Design announced a relationship and opened the AMD/BLX Computing Client Development Center in Beijing. BLX IC Design is creating reference designs for thin clients and other computing products using AMD and BLX IC Design processors. The first two products are thin clients powered by AMDâ(TM)s MIPS32 - compatible Alchemy Au1500 processor and BLX IC Design's Godson-1. The creators of the Godson-1 say its architecture is "MIPS-like" - a description that annoys MIPS Technologies, which doesnâ(TM)t authorize the Godson architecture or license any intellectual property to ICT or BLX IC Design. AMD, which is a MIPS licensee, says it encourages BLX IC Design and MIPS to resolve their licensing issues.

      Lexra tried to sell unlicensed MIPS clones and was effectively shutdown by lawsuits. As this Lexra guy puts it -

      http://jonahprobell.co [jonahprobell.com]

      • by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:36PM (#24861835)

        It's not x86 compatible. It's a MIPS64 clone. According to this, they'll use binary translation and extra instructions to run x86 binaries.

        Somehow I don't think you understand what compatible means. If you plug x86 code into this chip and it works, then it's x86 compatible. The specifics of how all that happens once those instructions flow into the silicon is irrelevant for this particular discussion.

  • Divine! (Score:5, Funny)

    by zonex (1155201) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:00PM (#24861281)
    "Godson"... The new Jesus chip?
  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:01PM (#24861291) Homepage

    Speaking from PowerPC 970 MP, Quad G5 Mac which has very good FSB specs and way modern compared to CISC stuff, I can easily say "No".

    Once you don't support x86 instruction set, you aren't a threat to Intel at all.

    It doesn't support, pass. Sorry to sound negative but it is the truth.

    If Intel could be threatened by a non x86 chip, Motorola/IBM/Apple could have achieved it. You see what happened, SJobs and Apple became number 1 Intel fan.

    About performance and watt usage? There is still a huge company named FreeScale you know ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sl0ppy (454532)

      on x86 compatibility from TFA:

      This latest chip will also be fundamentally different from those made before. Neither Godson-1 nor -2 is compatible with Intel's so-called x86 architecture, meaning that most commercial software will not run on them. But engineers have added 200 additional instructions to Godson-3 to simulate an x86 chip, which allows Godson-3 to run more software, including the Windows operating system. And because the chip architecture is only simulated, there is no need to obtain a license f

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ilgaz (86384)

        Quoting Apple community who got sick of FreeScale's (G4 era) non shipping announcements and watt/mhz claims say: "Lets see the actual silicon chip and measure it".

        When its shipped, Freescale will be at very interesting watt powers (as they are concentrated) and Intel will be at SSE something level. Intel and AMD has a sharing agreement and MS is very close friend of Intel that has lead to "Wintel" term. Emulating the CPU? Ask Linus how well it went.

        I have seen some great promises not happening at all or was

  • by darkmeridian (119044) <william@chuang.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:01PM (#24861299) Homepage

    According to the article, "Federal laws also prohibit the export of state-of-the-art microprocessors from the United States to China, meaning that microchips shipped to China are usually a few generations behind the newest ones in the West." Thus, a native Chinese microprocessor project does not need to be state-of-the-art. It just has to be good enough to compete with the older stuff from Intel and AMD. Once the Chinese build up their own knowledge base in microprocessor design, then nationalism and Communism will help foist it upon their populace as they demand computers. It'll be interesting to see how this dovetails with any effort to create Red Flag Linux to move away from the Wintel-opoly.

    • by Osurak (1013927)

      According to the article, "Federal laws also prohibit the export of state-of-the-art microprocessors from the United States to China, meaning that microchips shipped to China are usually a few generations behind the newest ones in the West."

      Side question: how does this apply to things (ie. CPUs, other hardware) produced overseas? Does this mean that the really high-end stuff is all manufactured locally? Or do they dodge the issue by opening manufacturing facilities in other countries in the region?

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      > It'll be interesting to see how this dovetails with any effort to create Red Flag Linux to move away from the Wintel-opoly.

      Except they don't need to move away from the Wintel-opoly. The cost of Windows in China is essentially the cost of media.

      When Windows is free, there's not much motivation to explore alternatives.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheLink (130905)

      Do those laws apply if say the microprocessors are fabbed in Germany/Israel/Ireland, assembled/packaged in Malaysia, and then exported to China?

      How about if the microprocessors are assembled/packaged in China itself?

      http://www.intel.com/pressroom/kits/manufacturing/manufacturing_qa.htm [intel.com]

      http://www.amd.com/us-en/Corporate/VirtualPressRoom/0,,51__104_543~117787,00.html [amd.com]

  • Obligatory (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Oxy the moron (770724) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:02PM (#24861313)

    Can it run Linux? ;)

    I think this will be interesting to watch. It's not like this is the very first challenger to Intel's market. So far none have really succeeded (AMD being the exception, but they aren't exactly considered the czar of the processor world at the moment) aside from niche markets. My guess is that this will be another company that will find its niche and settle for it. Intel just always seems to avoid losing "King of the Hill" status time and time again.

    • by ratboy666 (104074)

      Yes, it runs Linux. That would be its "preferred" mode.

      4 core (10 watt) or 8 core (20 watt) CPU, MIPS 64 bit architecture, with special instructions to assist in translating x86 instructions.

  • Well, here's their history according to Google [google.com]

  • ...you can bet they will jump on this at their earliest opportunity:

    "...Metzger adds that the inner workings of the chip, known as its instruction set, have not yet been disclosed, making it difficult to know if or how any x86 patents may have been breeched."

    Intel may be able to put up a roadblock or two over this.

    Part of China's reasoning behind this has to do with US export laws concerning microprocessors. From TFA:

    "Federal laws also prohibit the export of state-of-the-art microprocessors from the United

  • Just like Chinese cars pose no threat to Honda or Toyota or GM (they have bigger fish to fry) or BMW.

  • by harvey the nerd (582806) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:08PM (#24861419)
    Except for servers, hard core gamers and maybe very HDTV, once you get off MS' latest core consuming software, who cares about the last 20% of performance? At 2.5 watts per processor core, of which 1-2 cores should run most individual PCs just fine (f--- Vista), who cares an extra $200-$400 about "Intel inside"? Chinese business, students and academia should do just fine.
    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      If almost 90% of Intel Mac gaming community dynamically (online) divides their boot partition to run Windows games at highest possible compatibility and speed, games and performance really matters.

      Also remember they are running/booting to some bad copy of MacOS which has several issues on Apple Mac hardware.

      Don't forget HDTV, even 1080p on PCs are really taking off and it is not trivial task to decode h264/AVC, years ago, it wasn't big deal but today people expect their computer to realtime compress and enh

    • by Etrias (1121031)
      I would say this is a less threat to Intel/AMD, but Microsoft should be very, very worried. The last thing that MS would like to see is a vastly expanding economic power with all of the children raised on PCs built to run Linux.

      Here's where I base this from TFA:

      Loongson chips already power some personal computers and servers on the Chinese market, which come with the Linux operating system and other open-source software. "They use a lot of open-source software because it's free," says Halfhill. "The Chinese government wants to get as many PCs into schools and as many workplaces as they can."

    • by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:32PM (#24861783)
      Asian language pedantry: Sayonara is Japanese.  You're looking for Zai Jian. &#20877; &#35211;
  • FTFA
    "This latest chip will also be fundamentally different from those made before. Neither Godson-1 nor -2 is compatible with Intel's so-called x86 architecture, meaning that most commercial software will not run on them. But engineers have added 200 additional instructions to Godson-3 to simulate an x86 chip, which allows Godson-3 to run more software, including the Windows operating system. And because the chip architecture is only simulated, there is no need to obtain a license from Intel."

    I was wonderin

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "to bring personal computing to majority of Chinese people"

    Please send Godson-3 to U.S.S.A. so majority of U.S.S.A
    proletariat can have personal computing".

    Thank you.

    P.S.: Don't sell U.S. Treasury bonds yet. Wait until John
    McSame is elected, then SELL.

    Thanks a lot.

    Cordially,
    Philboyd Studge

  • I am not sure my facts are straight, and would like someone to clarify.

    The U.S. is part of several trade organizations. These organizations generally frown on the government helping a business out like this, right? We have wide open trade with China. The Chinese government tilts the field in their business' favor by manipulating the currency, and directly funding projects like this.

    Why the hell do we put up with this?

  • A threat? Doubt it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by merreborn (853723) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:12PM (#24861477) Journal

    Their current chip [wikipedia.org] is basically a pentium 3, without the x86 instruction set. It comes in 500 mhz to 1.2 ghz flavors.

    They're even less of a threat than Via and Cyrix were.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:14PM (#24861511)

    Will it pose a threat to Intel? In the short run absolutely not. It will require a truly massive investment, Intel isn't standing still, and the biggest problem is getting enough engineering talent. Furthermore just producing the chip isn't enough, there have to be boards to plug it into, software written to support the chip/boards, etc. True China is producing a lot of engineers but that by itself is entirely insufficient.

    Long term - who knows? Talent can be developed/bought/hired, secrets learned/stolen, R&D can leapfrog, etc. It will be very difficult to displace Intel but it certainly isn't impossible. Andy Grove [wikipedia.org] would probably be the first to admit that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WindBourne (631190)
      China will be selling the 4 CPU chip for a fraction of what a 1 CPU chip from intel costs. In addition, it has the ability to shutdown all but 1 core, which leads to really low power requirement. China has been taught how to do all this by companies like Intel.

      These chips will show up in small laptops within 2 years and those systems will be sold the world over for under $200. Intel is in BIG trouble in both the short AND long term. In fact, I suspect that Intel AND AMD will be in worse shape than America'
  • Godson is a MIPS-compatible. We've already seen one MIPS-based Linux netbook. And guess what, Linux is identical on MIPS and x86!

    Any MIPS or ARM at a given price point will run cooler and faster than x86. All x86 processors are RISC with an instruction converter front end, but that's still enough of a liability to make the first sentence true.

    End game: Netbooks with ARM or MIPS spread upward to desktops and servers with ARM or MIPS. x86 finally fades away of software that doesn't care. All hail.

    • by microbox (704317) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @01:01PM (#24862251)
      Any MIPS or ARM at a given price point will run cooler and faster than x86. All x86 processors are RISC with an instruction converter front end, but that's still enough of a liability to make the first sentence true.

      From what little I know about this... apparently the x86 instruction format is more compressed - reducing the overall code size. There's a tradeoff on getting code to the processor and efficient execution. If you're executing faster than memory is being copied, then you'll benefit from reduced code size. I believe that's the current situation, allowing x86 to hold its own (do better) than any other architecture.

      There's a strange irony to this, because during the 90s, everyone believed that RISC would cream existing x86 chips. What was not accounted for, was that x86 chips would be RISC, with an instruction converter - and the cost of having the convertor is compensated by a more compressed instruction format.

      End game: Netbooks with ARM or MIPS spread upward to desktops and servers with ARM or MIPS. x86 finally fades away of software that doesn't care. All hail.

      Champaign and Cheers! Actually, I like my x86 processor, except I wish they were big-endian. Just a small thing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by amorsen (7485)

        ARM is denser than x86, especially if you use Thumb. Anyway, nothing mainstream has a high-performance FPU these days, apart from x86.

  • I'm not worried. (Score:3, Informative)

    by jd (1658) <imipak@nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:20PM (#24861609) Homepage Journal
    I don't care who makes the processor - let's face it, most chips in US computers are made in Asian countries anyway - all I need is for it to work well. I doubt the Chinese are doing anything radical (that's not generally their style), which is a pity because current chip designs are going down a dead-end and it'll take a radical shift to solve many of the issues to do with parallelism, increasing abstraction in programming languages, and increasing demand for highly robust software. Serious efforts into such radicalizing of technology can be seen with the IBM Cell design (which isn't going anywhere, at the moment) and could be seen in the Transmeta Crusoe and the Inmos Transputer, and the Manchester AMULET was ingenious enough, but pretty much everything else in the CPU world is based on stale ideas and stagnant approaches. Good for backwards compatibility at the binary level, lousy for long-term potential.
  • The Loongson-3 uses the MIPS instruction set. It's about time the world started breaking free from the awful x86 architecture. I know there is some x86 emulation in the -3, but I'm really hoping that the primary architecture for now and the future will be MIPS.

    And 10 watts is damned good for a 4-core chip, especially for a 65 nm process.

  • by Tangamandapiano (1087091) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:26PM (#24861689)
    hello.c:
    --
    #include <stdio.h>

    int main(void)
    {
        char* msg = "Tibet Free!";
        printf(msg);
    }
    --
    $ gcc hello.c
    $ ./hello
    Segmentation fault.
    $
  • by Aereus (1042228) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @12:29PM (#24861733)
    It seems the next logical step for them will be to develop a Chinese-grown OS and "strongly frown upon" use of Windows at home. (While at the same time having their OS support Windows apps) That way they can have the OS report any "dangerous behavior" by default, and roll out any patches or refresh a new "blocking list" daily....
  • For this chip to enter the US market, it needs two things:

    (1) Speed. Depending on how fast it is, considering how much US CPUs have ramped up, we may wind up emulating their CPU in software for the few things we'd need to run.

    (2) Software. Without a killer app that people in the US *have* to have, there's no reason for machines based on that CPU to come here. I can see it, though; some game that gets popular in China and becomes a grass-roots hit here.

    We'll see how much infrastructure the chip requires.

  • by readin (838620) on Wednesday September 03, 2008 @01:07PM (#24862329)
    Taiwan is a big chip maker. I wonder how much of this is an attempt to undermine one of Taiwan's important sources of economic strength. Also, this has a double bonus for imperialism in that making the world less dependent on Taiwan's chip production will make other countries less concerned about Taiwan's fate. A free trade agreement with Taiwan would sure be a big help for democracy and against modern day imperialism.

There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher will not express it. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, "Ad familiares"

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