In recent years, China has spent billions to reduce its dependence on American technology. The main objective of this investment is to develop internally manufactured intellectual property regarding semiconductors. Another objective is to extend the manufacturing capacity of local foundries and help them keep up with advances in process technologies.
The last time we saw China’s progress on this issue, we found its progress to be quite impressive considering the challenges that needed to be overcome. We’re talking about Zhaoxin’s KaiXian KX-U6780A CPU, which has a relatively modest performance that doesn’t present challenges for modern processors from Intel and AMD. At best, it can compare to something like an Intel Core i3-7100 or an AMD Ryzen 3 3200G.
This week, CNX Software discovered a new small PC circulating in the Indonesian market that is built with a Zhaoxin KaiXian KX-6640MA CPU. Surprisingly, Beelink’s tiny computer sold out almost immediately thanks to its low price of 3.86 million Indonesian rupees – just over $271.
The Zhaoxin KX-6640MA is a 64-bit quad-core processor without hyper-threading, with a base clock of 2.1 GHz, four megabytes of level 2 cache and a 25 watt TDP. The processor can scale to a modest 2.6 GHz – enough to achieve the same single-core performance as the KX-U6780A, but only half the performance of multiple cores due to fewer cores. Someone found out that the new CPU is similar to an Intel Core i3-5010T, a dual-core CPU. This is not surprising when you consider that this is a processor built on a 16 nm process, with no L3 cache and no hyper-threading.
Interestingly, the integrated C-960 graphics allow acceleration of 4K 60fps video decoding. Otherwise, the mini PC comes with a standard configuration of eight gigabytes of DDR4 RAM (upgradeable to 64 gigabytes), a 256 GB PCIe SSD and a terabyte hard drive. There is also a slot for a second SATA3 type SSD.
Connectivity options include six USB Type A ports, which support USB 3.0 speeds, two HDMI 2.0 ports and two gigabit Ethernet ports. It also supports Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4. It runs both Windows 10 and UOS – a commercial Chinese operating system based on Deepin Linux.
The Beelink LZX may seem unimpressive, but it shows that Chinese x86 processors are slowly conquering the Asian market, one step at a time. There’s even a Megacore laptop powered by the same KaiXian KX-6640MA processor popping up in Asian retailers.
As we know the Chinese have already become independent in various aspects of the industry and it seems that processors will be their next big step.
Do you believe that Chinese products become as good or even better than the “originals”?