Chinese chip maker Loongson used to make processors based on MIPS architecture, but MIPS isn’t what it used to be and the company that developed the technology has even pivoted to making chips using the RISC-V instruction set.
Now Loongson is trying something new: rather than adopt RISC-V, ARM, or x86 architecture, the company has developed its own ISA (instruction set architecture) called LoongArch.
The move makes a certain kind of sense in the current political climate. With the United States in the habit of hitting Chinese companies like Huawei and Xiaomi with trade restrictions, it could be risky for Loongson to adopt architecture that relies on contributions from Western companies.
Building its own ISA gives Loongson more control over the technology used by its future chips which could be better for the company’s long-term prospects. is no simple undertaking But designing a new ISA from scratch and it’s unclear how competitive the first-gen LoongArch chips will be.
Loongson says it’s already taped out the first of its next-gen processors, the Loongson 3A5000, which should be available later this year so we may not have long to wait to find out how they compare to previous-gen Loongson chips based on MIPS architecture as well as competitors based on other ISAs such as x86, ARM, or RISC-V.
via Tom’s Hardware