In order to circumvent the sanctions imposed on the country in the areas of chips, semiconductors and high technology as a direct result of the war in Ukraine and thus also to rule out potential sabotage actions, Russia would like to rely on Loongson processors from China in the future as well as operating systems based on Use Linux on it. The plans for this are said to be very advanced, as a Russian business newspaper is now reporting.
Russia wants to completely abandon x86 and ARM
As the Russian business newspaper Kommersant reported in October of this year, there is concern in Russia that processors that have to be purchased on the black market due to current economic sanctions are being manipulated or even completely deactivated. The corresponding measures would therefore provide for becoming independent of microprocessors based on x86 or ARM64.
Loongson should be able to close this gap
The Loongson ISA and the Loong architecture (“Loong Arch”) also serve as the basis for the Loongson 3A6000, a quad-core CPU developed by the Chinese manufacturer Loongson Technology with a total of four LA664 processor cores.
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China CPU: Loongson 3A6000 can beat Zen 2 and Comet Lake in benchmarks
The China CPU Loongson 3A6000 is based on four LA664 processor cores and has now competed against the Ryzen 5 3100 and Core i3-10100F in benchmarks.
Thanks to SMT and up to eight threads, the Loongson 3A6000 is said to be in the same league as Zen 3 CPUs and is offered in different versions and also with a significantly higher core count for servers and workstations. No modern chips are manufactured in Russia itself, which only makes the current push for Chinese CPUs even more understandable.
Loongson 3D6000 with 32C/64T for data centers
In addition to the Loongson 3A6000, which can process a total of eight threads with four processor cores, Loongson Technology has also announced the Loongson 3D6000 with 32 processor cores and a total of 64 threads. While the 3A6000 is predestined for use in desktop PCs, the large 3D6000 is intended to specifically address the areas of HPC computing and data centers. The two CPUs roll off the production line at an unknown Chinese manufacturer in 12 nanometers. The switch to a 7 nm node is planned for 2024.
Loongson’s CPU roadmap is quite ambitious Source: Loongson Technology Which CPUs the Russian authorities, institutions and companies, including Promobit and Norsi-Trans, would like to use cannot currently be said with certainty, but it is the same for the coming years several CPUs in the desktop and server areas on the roadmap, which are now to be manufactured in 7 nm for the first time. When it comes to IPC, the “China processors” have now reached the level of Zen 2 and Zen 3.
Linux 6.5 provides the corresponding support
As the Linux-specialized website Phoronix reported in June of this year, the latest generation of Loongson processors has been officially supported since the release of Linux 6.5, as can be seen from a patch submitted and from the official kernel mailing list.
A separate “national” distribution is to be created
As Tom’s Hardware reports, the company Basealt has announced that a test version of its Linux distribution Alt Linux, which was launched in 2008, has been optimized for the Loongson processors and the Loong architecture.
The Russian Linux distribution Alt Linux 10.2 with KDE Plasma 5.27 Source: Basealt Alt Linux is a modern workstation operating system, the latest version of which relies on the desktop KDE Plasma 5.27. Alt Linux benefited greatly from Vladimir Putin’s decree to establish a “national operating system.” Alt Linux was taken over by Rostec and provided with funds, so that more than 150 full-time developers are now working on the project.
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Those: Alt Linux via Tom’s Hardware, Kommersant, Phoronix, Kernel.org