godson n : a male godchild
- Finnish: kummipoika
- French: filleul
- Portuguese: afilhado
- Russian: крёстный сын, крестник
- Scottish Gaelic: daltan
- Slovak: krstný syn
- Spanish: ahijado
The Loongson series (龙芯, also known as the Godson or Dragon chip) is an architecture of general CPUs developed at CAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences) in the People's Republic of China as an alternative to US-made Intel and AMD chips. The chief architect is Professor Weiwu Hu of ICT (Institute of Computing Technology).
BLX IC Design Corporation, Ltd (BLX) was founded in 2002 by Institute of Computing Technology, China Academy of Sciences and Jiangsu Zhongyi Group. Based in Beijing, BLX focuses on designing the advanced 32bit/64bit Godson general and embedded processor, developing software tools and reference platforms.
The primary purpose of the chip is to run localized Chinese versions of Linux, with emphasis on Chinese character support.
NameInitially named 狗剩 (pinyin: Gou Sheng), which literally meant “Dog Leftover” in Chinese, following old Chinese traditions of naming a newborn baby with a humble name for easier upbringing and better health. And "Godson" was the English name as it is pronounced similarly to "Gou Sheng". Later “Loongson” was proposed as the official name which means the "Dragon Core" Chip, with "Godson" still being used as an internal codename for developers.
The first revision of the Loongson architecture, the Loongson1 is a pure 32-bit CPU running at a clock speed of 266 MHz. Its primary focus is with embedded designs such as cash registers, where 64-bit capability and high speed is not necessary. It was released in 2002.
Loongson 2The Loongson 2 adds 64-bit capability to the Loongson architecture. Initially running at 500 MHz, later revisions to Godson 2E were produced that run up to 1 GHz, while the latest Godson 2F being produced at 1.2 GHz and released to market in early 2008.
On December 26, 2007, China revealed its first supercomputer of 1 teraflops (the actual capacity is about 350G) in Hefei, designated as KD-50-I. This supercomputer was designed by a joint team led by academician Mr. Chen Guoliang (陈国良), professor of the computer science technology major of the University of Science and Technology of China (the primary contractor, with the Institute of Computing Technology of Chinese Academy of Sciences as the secondary contractor). KD-50-I is the first Chinese built supercomputer to utilize domestic Chinese CPUs, with a total of more than 330 Loongson-2F CPUs. The size of the computer was roughly equivalent to a household refrigerator and the cost was less than RMBY 800,000. The Loongson-2F thus became the first domestic Chinese CPU to be used in a supercomputer.
- Superscalar, out-of-order 32/64 bit MIPS Architecture processor core.
- Little endian MIPS III-compatible ISA
- Separate 64/64 KiB instruction and data L1 caches
- on-chip 512 KiB 4-way set associative L2 cache
- 4 execution units including 2 ALUs and 2 FPUs
- SIMD unit is integrated with one of the 2 FPUs
- Integrated DDR2 memory controller
- Integrated very-simple video accelerator
- max 4W at 1Ghz
Loongson 3The Loongson 3 is planned to run at a clock speed between 1 to 1.2 GHz, with 4 cores. The first version of the chip will only support DDR2 RAM, will not have SMT support or a built-in network interface.
HistoryThe instruction set is MIPS compatible, but the creators have backed away from promoting the chip as such due to threats of a lawsuit (see a Lexra history).
In June 2006 at Computex'2006, Taipei YellowSheepRiver company has announced a Municator YSR-639, a mini-computer based on the 400MHz Godson 2.
In September 2006, Li Guojie, director of the Institute of Computer Technology under the CAS announced a Longxin IIE (Godson IIE) a 64-bit chip containing 47 million transistors and reaching 1GHz. It implements a subset of the MIPS III ISA.
In the second half of the third quarter of 2006, China revealed the latest addition to the Godson series, the Godson 2E, which was already in early stage of manufacturing, and mass production was scheduled at the end of the year. According to developers' paper published on the Journal of Computer Science and Technology, tests show that the Chinese chip can rival Intel Pentium 4 processor in performance and it was superior to the early series of the Pentium 4 CPUs, but the Chinese CPU could be produced at a much lower cost.
Unlike processors from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices or Via Technologies, the Godson-2E is not based on the x86 instruction set. Instead, the chip uses a modified version of the MIPS instruction set that replaces proprietary instructions with ones developed by ICT. This means the Godson 2E cannot be used in PCs running Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, and thus the computing devices based on the Godson 2E would be most likely running the Linux operating system. In January 2007 Gentoo Linux was ported on this machine, the initial port was compiled on a Cobalt Qube micro-server.
In March 2007 STMicroelectronics bought a licence from MIPS Technologies Inc. and announced a partnership wherein STMicro will manufacture and distribute Godson-family processors.
The processor runs at clock speed of 1 GHz and like other chips in the Godson family, the Godson 2E was designed by the Chinese Academy of Science's Institute of Computing Technology (ICT) and was the first Chinese CPU produced using 90-nanometer process technology. Earlier versions of the Godson 2 chip were produced using a 180-nanometer process and ran at clock speeds up to 500MHz. Godson 2E CPU contains 47 million transistors, more than the 42 million of the original Pentium 4. But this processing power will not be a drain on laptop batteries, as power consumption is between 3 to 8 watts, according to CAE Fellow Li Guojie (李国杰), director of the institute. Li Guojie also announced that at the end of 2006, scientists would start to upgrade Godson 2E to Godson 2F, which will improve performance by about 30% and power consumption reduced by about 50%. By 2008, Godson-3 is scheduled to enter production.
On November 13, 2006, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Computing Technology (ICT), Li Guojie announced to the public that "Godson 2E is ready for mass production. Li Guojie told the public that from Godson 1 to Godson 2B, the capability of the chip has tripled, and from Godson 2B to Godson 2C, from Godson 2C to Godson 2E, the capability has continuously tripled. On the average, the capability of Godson series chip doubles every year, four times of what Moore's law claims, and China should accumulate small successes into large success." Currently, the Loongson box that comes with a 600Mhz Godson 2E processor is sold in China at CNY1599 (~US$200) without monitor, mouse, and keyboard.
These computers primarily run the Linux operating system, however users have managed to port other operating systems such as Windows CE to the Loongson architecture.
Linux distributions that work on Loongson:
- Official Loongson Website (In Chinese)
- Chinese V-Dragon chip now on sale
- China launches Linux 'dragon chip', challenges Intel
- China's first server 'dragon chip'
- BLX IC Design
- Information page on the Godson II
- Article on Chinese development.
- Prof. Li Guojie page
- AMD and Blx Ic Design Corporation Open New Computing Client Development Center In China AMD pressrelease.
- Chinese design center spins Linux-based "computing client" designs article @Linuxdevices
- Chinese miniPC giveaway targets Apple, Microsoft article @Linuxdevices
- Godson 2E by ST Microelectronics Image
godson in Spanish: Godson
godson in French: Loongson
godson in Russian: Loongson
godson in Chinese: 龙芯