Zhaoxin, a joint venture between Via Technologies and the Chinese government, this week for the first time displayed its upcoming x86-compatible CPU, the KaiXian KX-6000. The SoC features eight cores running at 3 GHz and increases performance over its predecessor by at least 50%.

The KaiXian KX-6000 is a successor to the KX-5000 CPU launched earlier this year. Both chips integrate eight-core x86-64 cores with 8 MB of L2 cache, a DirectX 11.1-capable iGPU with an up-to-date display controller, a dual-channel DDR4-3200 memory controller, contemporary I/O interfaces (PCIe, SATA, USB, etc), and so on. The key differences between the KaiXian KX-5000 and the KaiXian KX-6000 are frequencies and manufacturing technology: the former is produced using TSMC’s 28 nm fabrication process and runs at up to 2 GHz, whereas the latter is made using TSMC’s 16 nm technology and operates at up to 3 GHz. Zhaoxin claims that the Kaixian KX-6000 offers compute performance comparable to that of Intel’s 7th Generation Core i5 processor, which is a quad-core non-Hyper-Threaded CPU. Obviously, performance claims like that have to be verified, yet a 50% performance bump over the direct predecessor already seems beefy enough.

As the picture below shows, the thinner manufacturing process enabled Zhaoxin to make the KaiXian KX-6000 die smaller when compared to the predecessor, which will eventually shrink its manufacturing cost. Meanwhile, the two processors use different HFCBGA packaging and therefore cannot use the same motherboards. Meanwhile it is unknown whether the new KaiXian KX-6000 is compatible with Zhaoxin’s USB 3.1 Gen 2-capable ZX-200 chipset.

The Zhaoxin KaiXian KX-6000 relies on the LuJiaZui microarchitecture, which is an evolution of the WuDaoKou microarchitecture that powers the KX-5000 processor introduced in early 2018. Based on what we know today, the LuJiaZui is an x86-64-compatible superscalar, multi-issue, out-of-order microarchitecture that supports contemporary instruction sets extensions like SSE 4.2 and AVX along with virtualization and encryption technologies. Zhaoxin has yet to disclose differences between its LuJiaZui and WuDaoKou designs. Therefore, all we can do is speculate that since the microarchitectures are launched within one year from each other they are very similar, but the newer one has minor optimizations that, perhaps, enable higher clocks, improved caching, better memory support, etc.

Zhaoxin has not announced when it plans to start commercial shipments of its KaiXian KX-6000 processors, as right now it only displays its picture (which proves that it exists). Based on the previously published roadmap, we'd expect the CPU to hit the market in 2019, though when exactly is anyone's guess.

Zhaoxin's Kaixian KX-5000 and KX-6000 CPUs
  Kaixian KX-5000
WuDaoKou
Kaixian KX-6000
LuJiaZui
Core Count 4 - 8 Up to 8
L2 Cache 8 MB 8 MB
Frequency Up to 2 GHz Up to 3 GHz
ISA x86-64
ISA Extensions SSE 4.2, AVX ?
APIC Yes
Virtualization VMX technology, compatible with Intel's VT-X
Temperature monitoring, overheat protection Yes
Power States C1, C2, C3, C4, P-State ?
Hardware Encryption Engines Advanced encryption engine (ACE), SHA-1, SHA-256, SM3/SM4, Randomizer ?
Security TXT, EDB ?
iGPU DirectX 11.1 feature set.
Hardware-accelerated video encoding/decoding.
Outputs: DP, eDP, HDMI, D-Sub
Max Resolution: 4K
Number of Displays: 3
?
Packaging x-ball HFCBGA
37.5 x 37.5 mm
y-ball HFCBGA
37.5 x 37.5 mm
Process Technology TSMC 28 nm TSMC 16 nm FinFET

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Source: PC Watch

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  • Dijky - Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - link

    Nobody even mentioned Trump specifically. And with the Chinese government at the core of this story, you simply can't not talk about politics.

    China is seeking their technological independence and influence from everyone - most importantly the US. These two "superpowers" have been clashing for ages and the Trump-era tariffs are just the latest chapter in the story.
    The US has already prohibited processor exports to Chinese supercomputing centers, so the concern of being cut off is not unfounded.
    Reply
  • Manch - Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - link

    In regards to China what you said is very much true. As far as the Trump reference, it was inferred "...should the US be taken over by and unpredictable bully." And it's not the first comment or only comment on this thread. I come here for tech, not for peoples personal politics. I get enough of that on FB, work, the damn news, etc. I'd like one place where I don't have to listen to peoples tribalistic talking points. Anandtech needs to stay apolitical. Reply
  • t.s - Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - link

    But what he said is true, about unpredictable bully. And it still related with replied comments. Chill. Reply
  • Manch - Thursday, September 27, 2018 - link

    Actually it's not. high end tech and China has been a contentious issue long before Trump. It will be long after. As others have noted Pres. Obama banned export of high powered procs to China amongst other things. Before that, Pres. Bush, Clinton, and Bush, etc did the same thing to various degrees. There are companies that have been around for decades who's sole purpose is to comb through imported tech to ensure no back doors exist. See? It's very easy to talk about without diving into the rhetoric and cheap swipes. Reply
  • Gigaplex - Monday, September 24, 2018 - link

    If they're only selling to Chinese customers, they don't need to license American patents. Reply
  • Sahrin - Monday, September 24, 2018 - link

    1. Via already has an x86 license.
    2. The current version of x86 is mostly patented by AMD, not Intel. The original x86 instruction set is no longer under patent.
    3. Neither AMD nor Intel can grant a license without the others' consent.
    Reply
  • wumpus - Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - link

    x86 is more or less obsolete and has no use in a 8 core chip (you *need* AMD64, and likely most of the SSEn/AVXm stuff owned by Intel. MMX at least predates 2000, so should be more or less patent free, or will be soon).

    Using patent-free x86 would limit you to 2GB (I think Linux had tricks to get to 3.5GB) or memory space, and it is getting harder and harder to find x86 specific software. It really isn't an option.

    You might want to look up how patents work in the USA. US patents do enough damage to US innovation (you don't have to have patents debugged, it is just enough to know that they will be a roadblock to further development), China would be insane to honor US patents for internal development. Granted, I wouldn't be surprised if they casually help themselves to a windows copyright (patents means you can't redevelop something on your own, copyright basically says you can't copy something already made). There's also that little bit about how the US basically got where it is via IP theft, whether Dickens, the Bessemer process, or what. The UK spent most of Victoria's reign screaming about US piracy (IP laws didn't exist when the UK stole most of the basis of capitalism from the Dutch, and so on all the way back to Egypt and Mesopotamia).
    Reply
  • leo_sk - Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - link

    You mean intel making a lawsuit against chinese government in China? Reply
  • SincereSockPuppet - Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - link

    Oh yes, the licensing issue is the first thing I thought of the moment I saw this article. I'll admit I've never heard of Zhaoxin, or the fact that they have already produced an x86 chip, but I actually find this quite astonishing. Just because Intel hasn't acted yet, doesn't mean that they won't. I don't think this is 'approved' by Intel in any way shape or form. Intel rigorously guards it's right of ownership over the x86 instruction set architecture and isn't about to license it to any one else. It doesn't need to, and probably wishes it had never granted AMD the right to use it all those years ago (although at the time it might not have had much choice - anyone know that story?). But now, especially at a time of heightened tensions with China, economically and politically, I am just amazed by this. Of course, from China's point of view, it makes perfect sense, what better than to have their own domestic supply of x86 chips. It's a good idea both economically and strategically speaking. After all, what if the trade war got really nasty, and the US government intervened and started to restrict the export of anything of strategic/technical value to China. I would be very surprised if Intel were not seriously considering their legal options right now.
    I totally agree with the point that you made.... yes, Via has an x86 license, but that doesn't give it the right to share it with anyone else, especially a government backed Chinese company. I just cannot imagine that this will go uncontested by Intel, and I would expect the US government to back them 100%. One little thing, quite recently, when Microsoft first announced that it was intending to do the whole Windows on ARM thing again, but this time with an x86 emulation layer, Intel actually immediately claimed that Microsoft had no right to use the x86 instruction set in its emulator, and said it would take legal action if Microsoft continued on this path. Strangely, things went very quiet after that, and we now have Windows 10 laptops running on Snapdragon processors. I don't understand what happened there, but my point is, if Intel is prepared to threaten another giant of the American tech industry over x86 infringement, then surely it's going to throw some legal obstacles into the path of this new competitor.
    The other thing that I find slightly puzzling here, is why a solid tech company like Via would engage in such an enterprise with the Chinese government, no less. Does it really need the business that much? Surely they must realise the risks they're taking. At the very least, they're really going to piss off Intel, but if Intel successfully litigates, then none of these chips will be sold outside of China. Perhaps that doesn't matter to them, after all, the internal demand for x86 chips in China must be huge, but I would expect Intel to litigate in China itself as well. What the result of that might be is anyone's guess. Intel would be effectively taking on the Chinese government, in China!
    Taiwan currently finds itself between a rock and a hard place, and I am wondering whether this somewhat unlikely alliance of Via and the mainland government is the result of some hidden political forces. Pressure from the Chinese government for some cooperation, appeasement by the Taiwanese administration.
    It has occurred to me that Intel could take legal action in Taiwan itself, which might be more effective than litigating in China, after all, Via is a Taiwanese company, and the chips are going to be fabbed by TSMC. If Intel has a strong case, then it puts the Taiwanese administration in a very difficult place.
    Another thing I am wondering about, is where exactly have Zhaoxin conjured up their microarchitecture from. Have they really designed these incredibly complex chips from scratch? Perhaps Via has all the expertise they need, but I can't help wondering if someone has been taking a very close look at Intel's silicon ......
    Reply
  • Zoolook - Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - link

    Conspiracy much ?

    VIA has held a license for a very long time now (they snatched up Cyrix), and they have constantly put out new processors, but for a long time they have target low performance/low power systems, of which they have shipped 10 of millions.
    Back in the day they even made some half-decent north and southbridges, they even were the first with AGP for socket 7, and they snatched up S3 graphics when they went bust IIRC.

    To top it all, it was founded in CA, US.
    Reply

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