Chinese CPU maker Zhaoxin plans to enter the discrete GPU market
Part of China’s plans to become the world’s first economy this year is to start producing as many electronic devices as possible and cut its reliance on imports from the U.S. and other countries. One of the major moves in this respect is the development of Chinese computer processors with the creation of the Zhaoxin brand, a joint venture between the government-owned Shanghai SASAC and the venerable Taiwanese company known as VIA Technologies. Up until now, we have seen some attempts to match Intel’s mid-range CPUs, with relatively discouraging results for the KaiXian models , but a recent video posted on the Zhaoxin site reveals that the company is also planning to try its hand at consumer-grade discrete GPUs.
Last year, we learned about the discrete GPUs produced by Chinese company Changsha Jingjia Micro for the Chinese military aircrafts. These GPUs apparently matched the performance of Nvidia’s GTX 1080 GPU, so they were still lagging behind the RTX 2000 models. However, these custom GPUs were not available for the consumer market. This is where Zhaoxin comes in with the discrete GPU model that is planned for a 2021 release.
The video that was recently posted on the Zhaoxin site reveals that the dGPU will have a 70 W TDP and will be manufactured on the 28 nm node at the TSMC foundries. This is a mid-range GPU at best, judging by TDP alone, but the manufacturing process is clearly years behind what Nvidia and AMD are currently offering, so the Chinese dGPU could maybe try to match the performance of Nvidia’s GTX 970 launched back in 2014. Not exactly great performance prospects by today's standards, yet still a decent alternative for the domestic market in case China decides to go all in in the trade war against the U.S. Supported APIs may include DX 11.1, OpenCL 1.1 and OpenGL 3.2, maybe even DX 12, seeing that the upcoming KaiXian CPUs teased in the same video already support this API.
Even though Zhaoxin’s processors seem to be timid attempts to measure against the established duopoly, we must not underestimate the resourcefulness of the Chinese companies just yet. Nevertheless, if Zhaoxin manages to break into the global discrete GPU market in a few years, it will not only have to face AMD and Nvidia, but Intel, as well.