Huawei will be making desktop PC motherboards for its Kunpeng 920 ARMv8 CPUs
With all the economic tensions between the U.S. and China, the need for reduced reliance on the American-made computer tech has been steadily increasing in the SEA region for the past few years. One of the biggest supporters for this “technological independence” movement is, unsurprisingly, Huawei, who has already been hit by restrictions on U.S. soil this year. At least the Chinese company still has ARM’s support, and, even if total independence cannot be attained in the smartphone market, the PC market might offer increased freedom, so Huawei is now looking to expand in this sector, as well.
Thanks to its fruitful collaboration with ARM, Huawei’s HiSilicon CPU division is already working on quad/octa-core Kunpeng desktop processors based on the ARM v8 architecture. Even more so, Huawei intends to provide the supporting motherboards itself. According to Chinese PC hardware site ithome.com, the Kunpeng Desktop Board D920S10 is to offer support for the PCIe 3.0 standard, and Huawei also plans to release advanced server models with PCIe 4.0 support in the coming months. The regular desktop boards also integrate 6x SATA 3.0 connectors and 2x M.2 NVMe slots, plus they support up to 64 GB of RAM in quad-channel DDR4-2400 setups. On the connectivity side, the boards are equipped with a GbE NIC, 4x USB-A 3.0 and 4x USB-A 2.0 ports.
Huawei primarily aims the 7 nm Kunpeng 920 desktop CPUs at office applications and Linux-based OSs, so they might not replace Intel’s and AMD’s solutions any time soon. However, the server-oriented models will integrate up to 64cores running at 2.6 GHz, offer support for up to 1 TB of quad-channel DDR-3200 RAM and provide 40 PCIe 4.0 lanes, eventually proving to be a viable alternative for AMD’s EPYC server CPUs. Not to mention that the TDPs are on the lower side, with the server models only needing 180 W.
The only problem lies in the flimsy X86 compatibility, as the ARM CPUs are still struggling to see increased adoption due to the lack of mainstream software ecosystem support. Microsoft has recently expressed intent to provide support for 64-bit Windows apps on ARM, but until this becomes a reality, Huawei will have to make do with its proprietary OS that has been in the works since 2012.