Palo Alto, Calif. Chinese researchers are preparing the first multicore versions of Godson, the country's first homegrown microprocessor, with four- and eight-core designs scheduled to tape out in the coming months. China hopes to build a petaflops high-performance computer based on the Godson-3 in 2010.
The four-core version of the Godson-3 is scheduled to tape out before the end of the year, and tape out of the eight-core version is planned for 2009, according to Zhiwei Xu, deputy directory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Computing Technology, who presented a paper on the Godson-3 architecture at the Hot Chips conference here Tuesday (Aug. 26).
Both the four- and eight-core versions of the Godson-3 are implemented at 65 nm, with clock speed of 1GHz. The design features a distributed, scalable architecture with reconfigurable CPU core and L2 cache. The devices are designed for low power consumptionthe four-core draws 10w while the eight-core draws 20w, according to Xu's presentation. The designs utilize MIPS64 cores with more than 200 additional instructions for X86 binary translation and media acceleration.
Xu offered no specific timetable for mass production of Godson-3, but said China's goal is to build a PFlops system based on Godson-3 in 2010. The Godson-3 will also be used in smaller teraflops computers for the desktop, he said.
Godson processors, also known as Loongson, are manufacturerd and marketed by STMicroelectronics NV under an agreement announced in March 2007. The original 32-bit Godson-1 was launched in 2002 by the Chinese-government backed BLX IC Design Corp. In early 2005, BLX released a 64-bit version of the CPU. Since then, there have been several iterations of the Godson-2, each with triple the performance of its predecessor, according to Xu.
Chinese PC manufacturer ZhongKe Menglan Electronics Technology Co. Ltd. began offering a low cost computer based on Godson to schools and governments in 2007. The devices have yet to gain much traction in mass-market products. Xu said that one of the goals for the Godson project is to help China supply more of its own massive electronics market.
Next year China plans to introduce the Godson-2H, which will integrate graphics processor functionality with CPU functions and the northbridge and southbridge function into a system-on-chip, Xu said. "We'll try to provide our customers with a very clean design," he said.
The Godson-3 architecture is based on a low leakage process, featuring manual clock gating and power management features such as module-level clock gating, frequency scaling, and temperature sensing.
Xu said roughly 300 people at the Institute of Computing Technology work on the Godson processors, with about 200 dedicated to the hardware, about 100 dedicated to the software.