Ubuntu Kylin 20.04 OS works on RISC-V hardware

Ubuntu 22.04 Kylin OS RISC-V

China-developed Ubuntu Kylin 20.04 is now supporting RISC-V architecture with an image for HiFive Unmatched mini-ITX motherboard, and work will be done on an unnamed Starfive SBC that should be the VisionFive board with a GPUless JH7100 dual-core RISC-V SoC or an upgraded version with JH7110 SoC featuring an Imagination IMG BXE-4-32 GPU. You may have read recent reports about China asking government entities, including state-owned enterprises (SOE), to replace foreign hardware and software within a two-year period. So that means avoiding systems based on Intel and AMD processors, so working on RISC-V open architecture makes perfect sense, since over time, Chinese manufacturers should be able to make RISC-V SoCs and PCs based on those processors, albeit probably not within the next two years at any significant scale. Ubuntu Kylin 20.04 RISC-V, as well as the newly released Ubuntu Kylin 22.04 x86, can be found on the English download page […]

RM500U-CN Raspberry Pi 5G HAT kit sells for under $200… for the Chinese market

low-cost Raspberry Pi 5G HAT

Waveshare has introduced a new Raspberry Pi 5G HAT kit with a Quectel RM500U-CN 5G module, four antennas, and other accessories that sells for under $200, Raspberry Pi SBC not included. On the face of it, it looks like an incredible deal, considering we’ve previously covered two other 5G development kits for the Raspberry Pi, namely Waveshare SIM8200EA-M2 HAT with a Snapdragon X55 5G modem and Sixfab “Raspberry Pi 5G Development Kit” that sold for about $400 to $600. What’s the trick? It’s designed for the Chinese market. RM500U-CN Raspberry Pi 5G HAT kit content: Waveshare Raspberry Pi M.2 TO 4G/5G HAT Quectel RM500U-CN 5G M.2 module 4x antennas plus SMA protective caps and IPEX adapter cables USB 3.0 male to male cable 1x USB 3.0 adapter and 1x USB 2.0 adapter 40-pin header 5V/3A USB Type-C power adapter Screws pack We can find more details about the RM500U-CN module […]

COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns in Shenzhen and Hong Kong delay some projects

Coronavirus manufacturing china

This may read like January or February 2020 headlines with disruption to shipping and manufacturing in China due to a “new coronavirus”, but it’s happening again, particularly in Hong Kong and Shenzhen where COVID-19 case numbers have jumped and the governments have implemented strict measures to attempt to contain it. Since Shenzhen is a hub of electronics manufacturing and Hong Kong is often the gateway to those goods, we’ve received several reports of disruption and delayed projects. First, from Source Parts saying the Popcorn Computer will be further delayed in parts due to the COVID situation in Shenzhen: …Within a short period of time after cases suddenly began to rise, we noticed that more apartment complexes were undergoing mandatory lockdown. We started to stock up early on essentials including food and water. One day, the two nearby food markets we frequent were fully stocked in the morning and empty in […]

Beelink LZX – A Zhaoxin KX-6640MA based x86 Mini PC you may never see

Beelink LZX

Beyond Intel and AMD, there are other x86 processors in the wild from DM&P and Zhaoxin. We’ve written about the latter in a QNAP NAS earlier this year, but now it turns out there’s also a Zhaxin-based mini PC with Beelink LZX based on a Zhaoxin KX-6640MA quad-core x86 processor that showed up on Shopee Indonesia for 3.86 million Indonesian Rupiahs, or about $270 US. The computer comes with 8GB RAM by default but supports up to 64GB, as well as dual M.2 NVMe and SATA III storage,  two 4Kp60 capable HDMI ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet, and more. Beelink LZX specifications: SoC – Zhaoxin KX-6640MA quad-core processor @ 2.1 GHz / 2.6 GHz (Turbo) with 4MB cache, C-960 Graphics (support 4K HD); TDP: 25W System Memory – 8GB DDR4 RAM upgradeable to 64GB via two SO-DIMM memory slots Storage – 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD, additional M.2 2280 slot for NVMe […]

Arm China appears to be fully independent of Arm

Arm China independent designs

Arm China (安谋科技) has apparently split from Arm Holdings in an interesting saga. Last year we noted Allwinner R329 processor featured Arm China AIPU with 256 MOPS. But this AI accelerator was nowhere to be found on the official Arm website, which seemed odd. But it appears there have been conflicts with and within Arm China for a while. Allen Wu, who was President of ARM Greater China, Member of the Executive Committee between 2014 and 2018, and has been Chairman and CEO, Arm Technology (China) since April 2018, has set up an investment fund called Alphatecture Hong Kong Ltd in 2019 in order invest in Bestechnic, an ARM licensee and developer of audio chips, reaping hundreds of dollars in profit for himself. Arm Technology (China)’s board of directors was not impressed and voted 7 to 1 on June 4, 2020 to dismiss him, but Allen refused to leave since […]

Shipping costs from China are going through the roof

China shipping costs

Since the beginning of the year, we’ve had a worldwide chip shortage that increased the price of components, followed by long lead times. My Twitter feed is often filled with complaints of expensive components (e.g. STM32 being 10 times more expensive), and ever-increasing lead times of up to two years. But lockdowns and some governments paying people to stay home have completely messed up the supply chain, and with China having reopened a long time ago, many containers are shipping with products from China, only to return half-empty, or not at all.  This behavior can be seen in the US trade deficit that almost doubled in the last year or so, and freight rates have gone through the roof for a while, but especially in the recent weeks/months.   The chart above shows a container rate of over $10,000 for a 40-foot box from just around $2,000 for years, or […]

Loongson’s first LoongArch processors – 3A5000 for computers, 3C5000L for servers

Loongson 3A5000

Loongson has officially launched the first processors based on LoongArch CPU instruction set architecture designed for made-in-China SoCs without the need to license technology made outside of China. Loongsoon LS3C5000L  (3C5000L) 16-core server processor clocked at up to 2.5 GHz is now official and is apparently comprised of four LS3A5000 (3A5000) LoongArch processors designed for desktop computers and laptops. Loongson 3A5000 CnTechPost reports Loongson 3A5000 quad-core 64-bit GS464V processor runs at 2.3GHz-2.5GHz. GS464V microarchitecture comes with four fixed-point units, two 256-bit vector operations units, and two access memory units. The processor also includes two 64-bit DDR4-3200 controllers with ECC checksum support, as well as four HyperTransport 3.0 controllers with multi-processor data consistency support. Performance-wise, Loongson 3A5000 is said to achieve 26+ points in the single-core and floating-point SPEC CPU2006 benchmarks, and over 80 in the multi-core version of the benchmarks. That’s about 50 percent higher performance than the previous pin-compatible […]

XiangShan open-source 64-bit RISC-V processor to rival Arm Cortex-A76

XiangShan RISC-V architecture

SiFive Performance P550 was supposed to be the most powerful RISC-V core to date, capable of outperforming Arm’s Cortex-A75 core in raw performance, but especially in terms of efficiency, with three times the performance per mm2. But there may be an even more powerful RISC-V processor, albeit developed as a research project, with the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS)’s XiangShan open-source processor presented at the recent RISC-V World Conference China 2021 with the goal of matching Cortex-A76 performance. The project was launched on June 11, 2020, and 25 classmates and teachers participated in the development of Xiangshan with 821 main branch code mergers, 3296 code submissions, more than 50,000 lines of code, and more than 400 documents, mostly in Chinese only for now. This culminated with an 8-core prototype built based on Yanqihu (雁栖湖) architecture using TSMC’s 28nm process with the processor running up to 1.2 or 1.3 GHz that […]

RISC-V laptop, mini PC