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PALO ALTO, Calif. -- The 20th annual HOT CHIPS conference at Stanford University is an academic show, not a vendor-driven one. That means the biggest guns share the stage with the littlest pistols; and it gives the little guys a chance to shine.
In this case, a Chinese processor project found itself sandwiched between presentations from AMD and Intel, with its own unique story to tell.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences is a nationally-funded institution with five main areas of focus, one of which is technology. Within that area is the Institute for Computing Technology, which designed the Godson processor, a project that began in 2001.
Now on its third generation of Godson, the ICT has managed to triple performance with each generation, although he admitted it still has a long way to go to close the gap with giants like Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), AMD (NYSE: AMD) and IBM (NYSE: IBM), but added "we are doing our best to join the international community."
Godson-2 and 3 are scalable 64-bit single core processors built on 90 nanometer design. They are instruction-compatible with the MIPS III processor architecture, and Xu said the company has a license from MIPS for such compatibility. The operating system of choice for Godson-powered computers, said Xu, is Linux.
The current Godson-2 generation, E and F, are both 1Ghz processors, consuming from 3 to 7 watts of power. Godson-2E has an on-chip DDR (define) controller while Godson-2F has an on-chip DDR2 (define) controller. A Godson-2G and 2H are also planned for computers as well as System on a Chip (SoC) designs.
Xu then introduced the Godson-3 design, which will be a four-core, 1.0Ghz chip on a 65nm process design and consume just 10 watts of power. The core will be reconfigurable into one of two purposes and it will have on-the-fly x86 binary translation, which Xu said would be 10 times as fast as software-only emulation.