Sales of the Chinese processor Loongson 3A6000 have begun

Sales of the Chinese processor Loongson 3A6000 have begun – performance at the level of Core i3-10100, but Windows does not work

The Chinese company Loongson has officially introduced and started selling the 3A6000 CPU aimed at the local market. The chip is based on the proprietary LoongArch microarchitecture. The first tests of the Loongson 3A6000 processor show that it has the same IPC (instructions executed per clock) as the Intel Core i5-14600K, but with more limitations. The manufacturer itself compares the new product with the Intel Core i3-10100. And the chip doesn’t work with Windows.

    Image source: Loongson

Image source: Loongson

The Loongson 3A6000 processor can already be purchased in China. What is noteworthy is that Loongson reached an agreement with ASUS and released a consumer motherboard for this chip. In addition to announcing the new processor, Loongson also announced that its partners will produce desktop PCs, laptops and all-in-one computers based on the 3A6000.

The desktop version of the Loongson 3A6000 is manufactured using 14 and 12 nm processes. The chip includes four cores with support for eight virtual threads. The base frequency of the processor is 2.0 GHz and the maximum is 2.5 GHz. The power consumption is stated as 50 W. According to Loongson, the chip has 256KB of L2 cache and 16MB of L3 cache. Like its predecessor Loongson 3A5000, the new Loongson 3A6000 supports DDR4-3200 RAM.

Even during the development of the Loongson 3A6000, the Chinese developer constantly compared it with the 10th generation Intel Core chips. Thread Intel Core i3-10100 runs at a higher clock frequency.

    Image source: BiliBili / Uncle Tony

Image source here and below: BiliBili / Uncle Tony

Popular Chinese enthusiast and video blogger Uncle Tony managed to get and experiment with Loongson 3A6000 desktop processor. An example chip was tested on the new ASUS XC-LS3A6M motherboard. The test found that the processor can “easily” overclock to 2.63 GHz using an air cooling system. However, to further increase the frequency, we had to resort to extreme cooling in the form of liquid nitrogen, which allowed us to increase the clock frequency to 3.0 GHz.

According to Chinese publication ITHome, the 3.0 GHz frequency for the Loongson 3A6000 is not “an insurmountable hurdle” It is assumed that in the future the processor developer will release a software update for it that will increase its frequency limit, and the current limit of 3.0 GHz is apparently set by the BIOS of the ASUS motherboard itself.

Owners of modern AMD and Intel processors are unlikely to be impressed by the performance of the Loongson 3A6000. Even pre-production samples of this chip were barely comparable in performance to the same Intel Core i3-10100 in the SPEC CPU 2006 and UnixBench tests. Now the Loongson 3A6000 was compared in the SPEC CPU 2006 test in the Linux environment with the Intel Core i5-14600K at the same clock speed of 2.5 GHz and the chips showed roughly the same IPC level. However, we are talking about the speed of the small E-cores of the Intel processor – the Chinese innovation cannot yet keep up with the big ones. And the IPC indicator is only half the story. Modern Intel and AMD processors can operate at around twice the clock speed of a Chinese chip and are therefore significantly faster.

Before conducting an overclocking experiment, Chinese video blogger Uncle Tony compared the performance of the Loongson 3A6000 with the Intel Core i3-10100 as well as its predecessor, the Loongson 3A5000. Furthermore, he has started On a system with this processor there are several applications, for example for video editing, but also not too demanding games. Everything worked, and smoothly. It is important to note that so far the new product only works with Linux-based operating systems, but it cannot run Windows. But the manufacturer is working in this direction and compatibility should appear in two years.

About the author

Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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