If both Intel and AMD stop selling processors in your country, what do you do? Russia decided to look to China.
The mounting sanctions Russia faces following its invasion of Ukraine include both AMD and Intel halting chip sales in the country. Finding a replacement x86 chip that can run all the same software is a tough proposition, but one that seems to have been solved.
As Tom's Hardware reports(Opens in a new window), motherboard maker Dannie(Opens in a new window) just launched a new micro-ATX motherboard in Russia capable of running the KaiXian KX-6640MA system-on-chip. It's developed by Chinese fabless semiconductor company Zhaoxin, which is a joint venture between VIA Technologies and the Shaghai Municipal Government.
The good news about the KaiXian KX-6640MA chip is it uses the x86 instruction set and therefore should be able to run the same software developed for Intel and AMD platforms. The bad news is, it's not exactly performant.
CPU Benchmark tested a four-core, four-thread version of the chip running at 3GHz with a 70W TDP and it scored 1,566 points on CPU Mark(Opens in a new window) for multi-threaded operations. For comparison, the Core i3-12100F scores 14,427(Opens in a new window), and a Ryzen 5 5500 scores 19,885(Opens in a new window). There's a similarly-large gap in performance for single-threaded operations—722 points compared to 3,525 for the Core i3, and 3,084 for the Ryzen 5.
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If you think the performance gap is too wide, the situation is actually worse than that. The chip Dannie is set to use caters to both desktop PCs and laptops, meaning its TDP is limited to 25W and it will run at between 2.1-2.7GHz. The one positive is Dannie selected an eight-core version of the processor, so that at least gives it one advantage over the four-core version scored above.
It's safe to say that the KaiXian KX-6640MA is a chip the Russian government can claim replaces the Western alternatives, but that by no means guarantees it will be able to cope with all the tasks thrown at it. In fact, anything beyond running an operating system and office suite may be a push. With Russia set to legalize software piracy, they can at least experiment a lot to see what will run without spending any cash on applications.
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