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Motherboards and PCs based on the Loongson 3A6000 processor are now available

Made in China: Chinese company Loongson Technology claims to have developed its new processor technology without copying anything from Western counterparts. The Loongson 3A6000 chip can now be purchased with a motherboard or as part of a complete system, offering a chance to better understand what the hardware can actually accomplish.

AliExpress recently started offering new products based on the Loongson 3A6000, a mysterious computer processor developed by the Chinese fabless company Loongson Technology. Also known as “Godson,” these new chips are reportedly on par with four-year-old CPUs made by Intel and AMD, although we still know very little about how the chips actually work or how they perform with existing PC software.

Products on offer include two motherboards equipped with the Loongson 3A6000 processor, each with varying connectivity features and expansion capabilities. First, we have the Loongson 3A6000 7A2000 “Mainboard Computer Board,” which includes a 3A6000 CPU with a maximum frequency of 2.5GHz.

The DTX motherboard and the chip alone cost $372.91. Interested customers can add DDR4 memory (up to two slots), expansion cards, and even a discrete GPU. The Loongson 3A6000 7A2000 board supports a maximum of three PCIe cards, with an x16 slot, an x8 slot, and an x4 slot. USB speeds go up to USB 3.0, while storage options include NVMe or SATA devices.

AliExpress options for the Loongson 3A6000 7A2000 board include different “sets” with varying DRAM memory sizes, local storage, and integrated or discrete graphics. The same applies to the XC-LS3A6M “Core Board,” which offers better expansion capabilities while costing slightly more than the 7A2000 board ($389.93). The XC-LS3A6M motherboard includes the same number of PCIe slots, while also providing an extra Ethernet port and a header for an additional Type-C USB 3.2 port.

The Loongson 3A6000 chip is based on the LoongArch instruction set architecture (ISA), the latest iteration of the Godson ISA first introduced in 2022 and equipped with the “LA664” core technology. The poorly documented ISA is mostly derived from MIPS, a RISC-based architecture created by a US company and further developed by Loongson Technology with design choices taken from both MIPS and RISC-V.

The Chinese corporation claims that the single-core performance of the LA664 cores within the 3A6000 chip can compete with AMD’s Zen 3 architecture and Intel’s Tiger Lake (11th Gen) architecture launched in 2020. The CPU is supposedly fabricated using a 14nm or 12nm manufacturing process, and rumors suggest that the technology is on par with Intel’s 10th Gen Core processors. A 3A6000-based computer should be able to run both ARM and x86 software natively, thanks to hundreds of instructions designed to translate code from both ISAs.

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