Chinese processor Loongson is four years behind Intel, benchmark shows (but it’s not accurate)
Leading Chinese processor manufacturer Loongson Technology has announced that its latest desktop processor is on par with the tenth-generation Intel Core architecture, which includes Comet Lake and Ice Lake chips, writes The Register.
These Intel processors were introduced in 2019-2021, with up to 10 cores and clock speeds above 5.0 GHz, and were in high demand due to the surge in remote work during the pandemic. Since then, Intel has released three more generations of processors and is on the verge of releasing its 14th-generation architecture, Meteor Lake.
Loongson recently shared the results of tests conducted by the China Electronics Standardization Institute for its Loongson 3A6000 4-core, 2.5 GHz 12-nanometer processor on China’s QQ social network. The benchmark SPEC CPU 2006 used for testing evaluates the system’s CPU, memory subsystem, and compiler. It’s worth noting that this benchmark was closed in 2018, making it somewhat outdated for such comparisons.
According to Loongson, their processor scored 43.1/54.6 in the SPEC CPU 2006 fixed/floating point single-threaded benchmarks and 155/140 in the fixed/floating point multi-threaded benchmarks. It also delivered 42GB/s throughput over two DDR4 3200 memory channels and scored over 7400 points on Unixbench.
Given the relative youth of Loongson’s LoongArch architecture compared to Intel’s mature designs, these results can be considered good, but given the way the comparison was organized, you should not put too much stock in these numbers. However, the 3A6000 is the first iteration of the current generation of Loongson processors, and it is common for the first chip in a processor family to be slower and have fewer cores than subsequent versions.
But even as Loongson continues to improve its processors, the company faces a significant hurdle: its proprietary LoongArch architecture and instruction set. Building an extensive software ecosystem around this architecture will be a monumental task, especially since Linux does not yet fully support LoongArch.
If this ecosystem is realized, given the efforts of the Chinese government, Chinese specialists will still be left with less powerful computers, making them dependent on foreign technology that the United States can withhold for national security reasons.