Huawei through its subsidiary HiSilicon releases a series of promising 7-nm processors for Ku data centernpeng based on ARM v8, which includes up to 64 cores and supports leading technologies like PCIe 4.0. Now at least one chip model is used in desktop systems. The Chinese YouTube channel purchased and tested such a system with an 8-core 8-thread 7nm Kunpeng 920 ARM v8 chip and a Huawei D920S10 motherboard.
The video gives us a first glimpse of the new products that emerged as a result of Huawei’s recent market launch as a chip supplier for OEMs manufacturing desktop PCs in China. Such systems can help China reduce its dependence on Western semiconductor technology. However, in many ways, the system demonstrates the difficulties that the country has encountered, especially in the software field. The video does not provide too much food for thought in terms of popular test suites, but it does provide some interesting details.
Most of the videos are about software issues. Due to the ARM architecture, the Kunpeng system is running a 64-bit Chinese-made UOS operating system, which is a modified version of Linux. The author of the video noted that the UOS operating system works well, has an intuitive interface and even supports 4K resolution at 60 Hz through the Yeston RX550 graphics card. However, an additional 800 yuan (~ $ 115) had to be paid for access to the app store. In addition, the choice of programs is very limited – in particular, there is no support for 32-bit software.
The system completed the Blender BMW test rendering in 11 minutes 47 seconds, which is much longer than with most modern processors. The computer plays 4K streaming video well, but local video playback worked poorly and stumbled. In fact, the system is best suited for light office work.
The author of the video purchased the system for 7,500 yuan (about $ 1,060). The computer is equipped with an eight-core Kunpeng 920 2249K @ 2.6 GHz processor, soldered to the motherboard. This chip can offer 128KB L1 cache (64KB + 64KB), 512KB L2 and 32MB L3. The Huawei D920S10 motherboard has four DIMM slots, but the system has only 16 GB of Kingston DDR4-2666 memory (8 GB modules in two slots). Despite the declared processor support for the PCIe 4.0 interface, only three PCIe 3.0 slots are available (X16, X4, X1). Also worth mentioning are 6 SATA III ports, two M.2 slots, two USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, a VGA output, a gigabit Ethernet connector, and a certain optical network port. Finally, there is a 256 GB SATA drive, a 200 W power supply, a Yeston RX550 graphics card, and an optical drive.
The key problem now is not even in relatively low productivity, but in a poorly developed software ecosystem. Another problem that looms before Huawei is the inability to extend the contracts for the production of chips at the advanced capacities of TSMC.
According to IC Insights, Chinese manufacturers now cover only 6.1% of the country’s total semiconductor chip requirements. According to analysts, by 2025, China will not achieve the stated goal of 70% of home chip production, and will be able to achieve a share of only 20-30%. One way or another, progress is being observed, albeit relatively weak.
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