BEIJING BLX IC Design Corp., one of China's best known developers of homegrown processor technology, has released a 64-bit version of its CPU that reportedly matches the performance of the Pentium 3.
The company signed a handful of agreements this week with local Chinese firms to include the Godson-2 core in products ranging from routers to an SoC for an audio visual specification, known as AVS, which is emerging in China.
In 2002, BLX launched the Godson-1, a 32-bit, 266-MHz standard cell implementation of a proprietary architecture based on the MIPS instruction set and manufactured in a 0.18-micron process. It has never been able to get decent traction in the market, however, despite claiming to have rallied local industry support around its architecture that extended to 60 companies, including Haier, a major manufacturer of appliances and consumer electronics in China
The latest Godson runs at 300 to 500 MHz, despite using the same 0.18-micron process. Because of the lower performance of its predecessor, the chip has mostly been used in less demanding embedded applications. The Godson-2, according to its designers, is up to the task of being designed into general purpose computing platform.
"It is a reasonable performance level that can satisfy most desktop applications," said Zeng Ming, chief executive of BLX. "It can run office applications on Linux, which wasn't really smooth on Godson-1. It can also run Web applications, like browsers, and it will play DVDs smoothly."
The processor supports Linux for MIPS, VxWorks for MIPS, NetBSD for MIPS and Windows CE.
The company is already at work on a 64-bit version that will migrate to a 0.13-micron process and support multithreading. It should be released in 2006, according to the company's roadmap.