China has been building their own microprocessor chips called Godson for quite some while now. Their latest chip, Godso-3, was developed with government funding by more than 200 researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Computing Technology (ICT).
And finally, the chip is getting a bit more attention from the general public due to the following factors.
x86 architecure compatibility
This reason is quite obvious. Intel’s x86 architecture is still one of the mosy widely used architecture in any computer systems that you cant think of and is a crucial factor for mass adoptation. Godson earliest variants, Godson-1 and Godson-2 were both incompatible with Intel’s so-called x86 architecture, meaning that most commercial software will not run on them.
But engineers have added 200 additional instructions to Godson-3 to simulate an x86 chip, which allows Godson-3 to run more software, including the Windows operating system. And because the chip architecture is only simulated, there is no need to obtain a license from Intel.
What Does Godson have?
Godson-3, a chip with four cores, processing units that work in parallel, will appear in 2009, and an eight-core version is also under development. However, both versions will be built using 65-nanometer lithography processes, which are a generation older than Intel’s current 45-nanometer processes.
Godson-3 is scalable, meaning that more cores can be added to future generations without significant redesign
Additionally, the architecture allows engineers to precisely control the amount of power that it uses. For instance, parts of the chip can be shut down when they aren’t in use, and cores can operate at various frequencies, depending on the tasks that they need to perform. The four-core Godson-3 will consume 10 watts of power, and the eight-core chip will consume 20 watts.
The major concern for ICT might be that Intel do have some advantages due to the amount of patents they hold on the x86 architecture and it’s still not known if or how any x86 patents may have been breached. The inner workings of the Godson-3 chip, known as its instruction set, have not yet been disclosed.