Future Loongson to match Zen 3?

Obviously still eternally playing catchup but it would nonetheless be important progress, given the limitations on China getting more modern CPUs from AMD or Intel.

Loongson’s current-generation 5000-series (quad-core 3A5000 and 16-core 3C5000/3C5000L) processors are on its LoongArch-based 64-bit superscalar LA464 cores. They are compatible with the MIPS ISA (to maintain compatibility with applications written for Loongson’s previous-generation processors.) but can also execute code explicitly written for LoongArch. With four general-purpose ALUs, and two 256-bit vector operations units, the LA464 cores look promising. Still, once the software is recompiled to take advantage of 2,000 proprietary LoongArch instructions, they promise to shine.

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(Image credit: EET-China)
Based on the numbers demonstrated by Loongson at its conference, the quad-core 3A5000 processor operating at 2.50 GHz can challenge popular eight-core Armv8 implementations as well as Intel’s 10th Generation Core ‘Comet Lake’ processors in terms of single-thread performance in UnixBench. However, the chip falls behind in multi-thread execution speed for obvious reasons. Meanwhile, Loongson did not publish the performance of its 16-core 3C5000 CPU in a similar scenario but only mentioned that the processor operates at 2.0 – 2.20 GHz and delivers up to 560 GFLOPS of raw performance at 130W.

For its next-generation Loongson 6000-series processors, the company plans to use its upcoming LA664 core to increase efficiency and boost IPC throughput, the company said at its event, citing the results of its simulations. As a result, Loongson’s 16-core 3C6000 and 32-core 3D6000 processors due in 2023 ~ 2024 will be able to challenge AMD’s Ryzen and EPYC CPUs based on the Zen 3 microarchitecture in terms of performance per cycle.

For Loongson, matching AMD Zen 3’s IPC in 2023 is a big deal since the company will be able somewhat to close the gap with modern chips from leading developers. Still, matching instructions per cycle alone may not be enough to reach the actual performance of AMD’s CPUs. Perhaps, Loongson’s 16-core 3C6000 and 32-core 3D6000 processors will be able to challenge the real-world performance of AMD’s contemporary low-power EPYC processors in programs that can take advantage of LoongArch’s innovations. Still, we would not expect Loongson’s 2023 offerings to be competitive against AMD’s 2021 CPUs.


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