China Loongson CPU has IPC equivalent to Zen 4 and Raptor Lake - but lower clock frequency

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The Loongson 3A6000 CPU demonstrates an Instruction-Per-Clock (IPC) rate on par with AMD's Zen 4 and Intel's Raptor Lake architectures. However, its lower clock speeds and fewer cores place it at a disadvantage against modern rivals.According to a Geekwan review, the Loongson 3A6000 CPU showcases an IPC nearly matching that of AMD's and Intel's latest designs, yet it doesn't quite reach the performance levels of current x86 and Arm processors. The chip's promising IPC points to potential in future versions, provided it can achieve higher clock speeds.

Built on the LoongArch architecture, which has faced complaint for its resemblance to MIPS, the 3A6000 is manufactured using a 12nm process, likely from China's SMIC. It has four cores and eight threads, with a maximum frequency of 2.5GHz within a 50-watt TDP. It includes a 256KB L2 cache and a 16MB L3 cache, and supports DDR4-3200 memory. Aimed at consumer PCs, the 3A6000 is theoretically competitive with AMD and Intel's entry-level offerings.


However, the 3A6000's lower clock speed, when compared to modern standards like Intel's Pentium Gold G7400 which boosts up to 3.7GHz, limits its performance. Geekwan benchmarks show the 3A6000 trailing the Intel Core i3-10100 from 2020 by 20% to 40% in performance, with higher power usage.


In SPEC 2017 tests, the 3A6000's IPC exceeds that of its competitors when clock speeds are normalized, surpassing the Zen 3-based Ryzen 9 5950X and nearly matching the performance of the Zen 4 Ryzen 9 7950X and Raptor Lake Core i9-14900K, especially in integer tasks.

Yet, the 3A6000 lags in core count and cache size relative to top-tier CPUs from AMD, Intel, and others. The anticipated 3A7000 series, expected to feature a 7nm process, could offer higher clock speeds, more cores, and larger caches, potentially improving its market position.

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