Complete analysis of chips from Chinese chip companies
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Complete analysis of chips from Chinese chip companies

Posted Date: 2024-01-24

​Government and state-owned enterprises and institutions are the main focus of domestic CPUs, and PC chips have become a tens of billions market. The enterprise-level market of party and government and important industries is the main position of domestic servers. The server chip market size in 2022 will be approximately US$13 billion. According to IDC data, government demand accounts for approximately 9.1% of total server demand, and demand from important industries including finance, telecommunications, public utilities, energy, transportation, education, medical care, etc. accounts for approximately 38.4%. In 2022, total server chip sales will be approximately $13 billion.

From the perspective of chip manufacturing technology, on the one hand, the CPU process has entered the post-Moore's Law era and the upgrade speed has slowed down, and the performance of domestic CPUs has gradually narrowed down from the international mainstream level; on the other hand, advanced packaging technology has become a new competitive track. Domestic CPUs can already achieve performance improvement and application scenario expansion through advanced packaging technology. Loongson Zhongke's latest 3D5000 packages two 3C5000 silicon wafers together through chiplets. It is a 32-core CPU product that is already available for the server market and can meet the computing needs of general computing, large data centers, and cloud computing centers.

AI computing power, low power consumption, etc. have put forward new requirements for server computing chips. NVIDIA GH200 is expected to accelerate the transformation of the global AI server computing chip market. While Chinese chip companies are facing challenges, they are also expected to usher in development opportunities.

1. Haiguang Information: the leader in domestic server computing power chips

Haiguang is mainly engaged in the research and development of high-end processors, accelerators and other computing chip products and systems. It aims to become China's most important computer chip design company and provide core computing engines for the prosperity of China's information industry.

Haiguang processor originates from AMD's technology authorization, adopts X86 architecture, supports domestic and foreign mainstream operating systems, databases, virtualization platforms or cloud computing platforms, and can be effectively compatible with millions of currently existing system software and applications based on the X86 instruction set software with excellent ecosystem advantages. At present, the performance parameters of Haiguang processors are equivalent to those of mainstream international processor products of the same type. It provides from 4 to 32 physical cores, 8 to 64 threads, up to 128 PCIe extensions, and 8-channel memory support, and is competitive at the international advanced level.

Haiguang has two types of high-end processor products, CPU and DCU, covering the functional requirements for high-end processors in computing and storage devices such as servers and workstations.

The CPU is steadily iterated to meet the needs of multiple industries such as the Internet, finance, telecommunications, transportation, and energy. Haiguang CPU series products are compatible with x86 instruction sets and internationally mainstream operating systems and application software. They have excellent performance, rich software and hardware ecology, and are safe and reliable. They can be divided into three major product series: 7000, 5000, and 3000 according to application scenarios. At present, among the Haiguang CPU series products, Haiguang 2 is the main sales product, Haiguang 3 has achieved small batch sales, and Haiguang 4 and Haiguang 5 are in the research and development stage.

DPU enters commercialization and continues to invest in research and development. Haiguang's DCU series products are based on the GPGPU architecture and are compatible with general "CUDA-like" environments as well as international mainstream commercial computing software and artificial intelligence software. They have a rich ecosystem of software and hardware and can be widely used in big data processing, artificial intelligence, commercial computing and other application fields. . Among Haiguang's DCU series products, the Haiguang DCU series Shensuan No. 1 is the company's main GPGPU product on sale, while Shensuan No. 2 and Shensuan No. 3 are in the research and development stage.

2. Cambrian: Leading China’s AI chip market

Cambrian's main products include terminal intelligent processor IP, cloud intelligent chips and accelerator cards, edge intelligent chips and accelerator cards, and basic system software platforms supporting the above products. The Cambrian 1A, Cambrian 1H, and Cambrian 1M series of smart processors for terminal scenarios have been launched at a rate of about 1-2 products per year; edge smart accelerator cards and smart modules based on the Siyuan 220 chip ; Cloud smart accelerator card series products based on Siyuan 100, Siyuan 270, Siyuan 290 chips and Siyuan 370 chips.

The new generation training chip Cambrian 590 has outstanding training capabilities. According to Cambrian's introduction in September 2022, Siyuan 590 adopts the new MLUarch05 architecture, and its training performance has been significantly improved compared to products on sale. Siyuan 590 can provide larger memory capacity and higher memory bandwidth, and its PCIe interface has also been upgraded compared to the previous generation.

Leverage the advantages of car-cloud collaboration and efficient development to explore the field of automotive chips. The subsidiary Cambrian Xingge leverages its existing advantages to meet the different computing power needs of the smart car market. 1) Iterate the AI ​​model through data obtained through car-cloud collaboration to optimize user experience. Autonomous driving chips can cooperate with Cambrian's existing cloud training products. Through car-cloud collaboration, vehicle-side data can be quickly transmitted back to realize rapid iterative upgrades of AI models and optimize the autonomous driving customer experience; 2) Provide services that can be developed in the cloud Software development platform for autonomous driving models.

3. Loongson Zhongke: Fully independent CPU from instruction set to architecture

The "Loongson" series is one of the earliest general-purpose processor series developed in my country. It independently developed the LoongArch instruction set and its chip performance has caught up with international mainstream products. The company's self-developed IP and architecture are divided into two steps. First, it defines an independent instruction set system based on the open source MIPS instruction set, and then launches the Loongson architecture based on the independent instruction set.

The first step: Abandon directly obtaining IP core authorization or instruction system authorization, independently define hundreds of instructions, and form a MIPS-compatible LoongISA instruction system. From 2018 to 2020, the main products sold by the company are based on the MIPS instruction system. However, the company is different from the IP core authorization or instruction system authorization model adopted by most other domestic CPU design companies. It has been committed to independent research and development of instruction systems. Since the early stage of research and development, it has chosen A highly open instruction system combined with a self-developed model has expanded hundreds of custom instructions based on the MIPS instruction system with a relatively open authorization system, forming the MIPS-compatible instruction system LoongISA, which is available in a variety of CPU chips. application.

Step two: Launched the independent command system LoongArch (Loongson architecture), which has higher operating efficiency. After more than ten years of painstaking research and development, the company launched its independent command system LoongArch in 2020.

The LoongArch architecture is compatible with X86 and ARM, and has passed intellectual property evaluation. This architecture can fully integrate the features of international mainstream instructions such as X86 and ARM, and can achieve cross-instruction platform application compatibility. And through the intellectual property evaluation of the China Electronic Information Industry Development Research Institute, an authoritative domestic third-party organization, it was determined that the LoongArch instruction system is a different instruction system design from ALPHA, ARM, MIPS, POWER, RISC-V, and X86. At present, the Dragon architecture has been widely recognized and supported by the international open source software community, and is becoming a top-level open source ecosystem alongside X86/ARM.

Chip products based on the LoongArch architecture have been put on the market for applications in servers and other fields. The LoongArch architecture-based chip product Loongson 3A5000 has been taped out at the end of 2020 and will go on sale in May 2021. The 32-core product 3D5000 for the server market was released on April 8, 2023, integrating 32 high-performance LA464 processing processor core, frequency 2.0GHz, supports dynamic frequency and voltage adjustment; integrates 64MB on-chip L3 shared cache and 8 72-bit DDR 3200 memory controllers, supports ECC verification; equipped with 5 HT3.0 high-speed interfaces, supports self-research Bridge chip and dual-channel and quad-channel CPU expansion.

4. Huawei: Laying out five major series of chips, Kunpeng and Ascend meet server and AI needs

Huawei currently has five major series of chips, gradually realizing a full-scenario layout. The five major series of chips include Kirin chips in the mobile phone consumer equipment field, Kunpeng chips in the server field, Ascend chips in the artificial intelligence field, Barong chips in the 5G mobile phone baseband field, and Lingxiao chips in the home router field.

Kunpeng chips have obvious advantages in non-x86 instruction set products. The "Kunpeng chip family" is a processor that integrates "computing, storage, transmission, management, and intelligence" functions. Among them, the Kunpeng 920 released in 2019 is the most representative product independently developed and designed by Huawei Kunpeng after obtaining the permanent authorization of the ARMv8 instruction set. Kunpeng 920 processor is the industry's first data center-level ARM architecture processor using 7nm technology. It integrates up to 64* self-developed cores and supports 64-core, 48-core, 32-core and other models. By optimizing the branch prediction algorithm, increasing the number of computing units, and improving the memory subsystem architecture, a series of micro-architectural designs have greatly improved processor performance.

At typical clock speeds, the SPECint Benchmark score exceeds 930, exceeding the industry benchmark by 25%. At the same time, the energy efficiency ratio is 30% better than the industry benchmark, giving it a clear advantage in computing power among non-x86 instruction set products.

In the construction of Kunpeng ecosystem, Huawei cooperates with global ecological manufacturers, focusing on the development and maintenance of operating systems, compilers, tool chains, algorithm optimization libraries, etc., and also targets data center big data, distributed storage, cloud native applications and other scenarios. , developing solution products and reference designs based on Kunpeng processors. Thanks to the permanent authorization of the ARMv8 instruction set, Kunpeng computing industry is compatible with the global ARM ecosystem. The two share ecological resources, promote each other, and develop together.

Kunpeng processors play an important role in the digital transformation of the industry. The combination of digitalization and industry is developing in depth. The manufacturing industry is moving from large-scale traditional manufacturing to large-scale intelligent manufacturing; the service industry (such as finance, telecommunications, and medical care) is moving from simple services to comprehensive services; and public utilities are moving from passive services to active services (such as government, transportation).

5. Feiteng: From CPU R&D to full-stack solution

Feiteng Company is committed to the design, development and industrial promotion of the Feiteng series of domestic high-performance, low-power general computing microprocessors. Switch from imitating the Intel architecture instruction set to applying the ARM instruction set. Committed to the design, development and industrial promotion of the Feiteng series of domestic high-performance, low-power general computing microprocessors.

The first two generations of Feiteng chips stayed at the academic level, and both used imitation Intel architecture and instruction sets to learn and digest the basic chip technology. Since the third generation product FT-1000, Feiteng chips have switched to the OpenSPARC instruction set under the SPARC instruction architecture. As Sun was acquired by Oracle, the support for the SPARC architecture gradually weakened. Feiteng chips gradually turned to the application of the ARM instruction set and launched the exploratory product FT-1500A, which was improved on the original FT-1500 chip. In August 2015, Feiteng has designed the world's first 64-core CPU based on ARM architecture. Feiteng CPU, like Huawei Kunpeng, is permanently licensed based on the ARMV8 architecture. Among its output results, the performance of Feiteng 2000+/64-core products is already comparable to that of some of Intel's mainstream E5 products.

Feiteng has a complete product spectrum, high performance, low power consumption, complete ecology, and a high degree of autonomy. The current products mainly include four series: high-performance server CPU (Feiteng Cloud S series), high-performance desktop CPU (Feiteng Tengrui D series), high-end embedded CPU (Feiteng Tenglong E series) and Feiteng suite of chips. Various types of equipment to the cloud provide core computing power support. Among them, Feiteng Cloud S series, Feiteng Rui D series, and Feiteng Long E series all use Feiteng’s independently developed processor cores.

In 2019, Feiteng launched the FT-2000+/64 processor, the first 64-core general-purpose CPU in the international ARM system, filling the gap in the field of domestic high-end general-purpose CPUs. In 2022, Feiteng launched a new generation of embedded CPU chip Feiteng Long E2000, which adopts a "flexible architecture" large and small core design, which can fully meet the needs of cloud terminals, industry tablets, electric power, rail transit, server BMC, network equipment and other industry fields and Diverse needs of scenarios. Since its establishment, Feiteng has gone from developing one generation of products in two years to developing 2-3 new products in a year. The speed of innovation has been continuously upgraded, and the industry empowerment effect has become increasingly prominent. At present, Feiteng has independently developed more than ten mass-produced chips for different application fields.

From the perspective of overall planning and construction of information systems, Feiteng organizes the Feiteng ecological map for integrators and end users, and provides a set of end-to-cloud full-stack solutions for the needs of various industries. Feiteng currently cooperates with domestic partners to form a full-stack cloud computing, full-stack edge computing, full-stack terminal, and full-stack embedded ecosystem based on the Feiteng platform, providing integrators and customers with a richer choice space.

6. Zhaoxin: remarkable achievements in industry expansion

Zhaoxin now masters the core technologies for the R&D and design of independent general-purpose processors and system platform chips, comprehensively covering key areas such as its microarchitecture and implementation technology, and has built a relatively complete intellectual property system. From April 12, 2023, it will be changed from Shanghai Zhaoxin Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd. to Shanghai Zhaoxin Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd.

Products include "Kaixian" PC/embedded processors and "Kaisheng" server processor series. Zhaoxin's X86-based CPU products have excellent performance, mature ecosystem, and outstanding software and hardware compatibility. According to the test results of the China Software Evaluation Center, the single-chip performance of the Kaixian KX-6000 series processors/Kaixian KH-30000 series processors launched by Zhaoxin in 2019 has reached the same level as the 7th generation i5. At the same time, Kaixian KX-6000/Kaisheng KH-30000 series processors have passed Windows hardware certification and are adapted to mainstream domestic and foreign operating systems such as Windows 7, Windows 10, Zhongke Fangde, Winning Kirin, Puhua, etc., from multiple This aspect ensures the stability, reliability and compatibility of the product.

In 2022, Kaixian KH-40000 series server processors and Kaixian KX-6000GPC/embedded processors were successfully released. Compared with the previous generation of products, Kaixian KX-6000G series processors have improved energy efficiency by up to 60%, GPU performance is 4 times that of the previous generation, can support dual-channel 4K video decoding, and reduce chip idle power consumption by 50%, enabling Further support embedded computing platforms such as fanless BoxPC, industrial tablets, power communication management machines, and OPS modules.

In the fields of government affairs, finance, telecommunications, energy and other industries, the industrial application of Zhaoxin Platform PC and IoT computing platform has also made continuous breakthroughs, and is providing users with superior and reliable quality and user experience for the orderly development of business. Provide guarantee and support for digital innovation.

7. Shenwei: Protect key areas with self-developed instruction sets

Sunway takes "independent innovation" and "safety and controllability" as its research and development priorities. Since its establishment, it has successively launched a series of products based on Sunway processors that are controllable, reliable and have independent intellectual property rights.

It started with the Alpha instruction set and developed the SW64 instruction set to build a basic ecosystem. In terms of instruction set architecture, Sunway's CPU belongs to the Alpha instruction set camp, and the technology comes from Alpha21164 of the American DEC company. After the Alpha architecture was resold and acquired, the instruction set and microstructure are no longer updated, and most of the technology patents have expired or are about to expire. Shenwei is currently the only remaining fruit in the Alpha camp and has the autonomy to expand its instructions and development routes independently. Based on Alpha21164, Sunway has developed its own extended instructions, Sunway Smart compiler and Sunway Ruisi operating system based on Linux. Then Shenwei launched a 100% self-developed order, and all functions were implemented independently. During the development process of the second-generation Sunway processor, it no longer refers to and is compatible with ALPHA-related instruction systems. According to application needs, the instruction system is independently designed and implemented. At the same time, Sunway's independent basic software ecosystem is built based on this.

SW64 is completely autonomous, significantly reducing technology and IP dependence. The Software and Integrated Circuit Promotion Center (CSIP) of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, an authoritative organization for intellectual property evaluation, concluded that the Sunway instruction system is: "The Sunway instruction system is a type of instruction system that is similar to previous common instruction systems (ALPHA, MIPS, ARM, X86 , POWER and other instruction sets) different independent instruction systems." Sunway architecture is different from the imported CPU architecture. It is a completely independent architecture, with no restrictions on intellectual property rights and independent research and development capabilities. Shenwei can develop independently without the risk of supply cuts, sanctions or suspension of authorization, and can provide long-term, controllable supply chain and technical support for key areas. Nowadays, domestic systems are basically connected to the SW64 instruction set, such as Kirin operating system, Xin operating system and Euler operating system.

Sunway is a domestically designed chip with a completely independent processor architecture. As the only domestically designed and fully independent processor architecture at present, Sunway has truly realized a domestic processor that is safe and controllable throughout the entire process. Sunway processors feature high computing performance, high integration, high memory access bandwidth, and high I/O performance. Sunway chips cover high-performance, server, desktop and embedded CPUs as well as supporting peripheral IO bridge chips, forming a series of "large, medium and small" and multiple varieties of domestically produced independent chips.

Sunway 26010 processor solves various challenges brought by 260 cores constituting SoC chips, and has a die area close to the process limit. The entire processor supports out-of-order execution, with a frequency of 1.45GHz, and consists of 4 MPE (Management Processing Element) management units, 4 CPE (Computing Processing Element) computing units and 4 MC memory controller units. The CPE unit is composed of an 8x8 array consists of 64 cores, so the total is 260 cores (4x64+4=260).

Sunway 26010 achieved mass production and was used in the "Sunway TaihuLight" supercomputer system deployed in 2016. "Sunway TaihuLight" contains more than 40,000 "Sunway 26010" chips. It has ranked first in the world's TOP500 supercomputers list for four consecutive times and won many top honors in the fields of technology and computing. "Sunway TaihuLight" is a major breakthrough in the field of supercomputing applications in China in recent years.
Review Editor: Huang Fei


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