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Zhaoxin

The meaning of «zhaoxin»

Zhaoxin (Shanghai Zhaoxin Semiconductor Co., Ltd.[1] Chinese: 兆芯; pinyin: Zhàoxīn) is a fabless semiconductor company, created in 2013 as a joint venture between VIA Technologies and the Shanghai Municipal Government.[2] The company creates x86-compatible CPUs.[3] The term Zhào xīn means million core.[note 1] The processors are created mainly for the Chinese market: the venture is an attempt to reduce the Chinese dependence on foreign technology.[4][5]

Zhaoxin is a joint venture between VIA Technologies and the Shanghai Municipal Government.[2] In 2021 it was reported that VIA has a 14.75% shareholding in the company.[6] China has a domestic policy to "replace all foreign hardware and software from its public infrastructure with homegrown solutions".[7] VIA holds a x86 licence which allows its subsidiaries to produce compatible microprocessors; this allows Zhaoxin's development of their chips.[6]

The architecture of the initial ZX family of processors is a continuation of VIA's Centaur Technology x86-64 Isaiah design.[8][1][9] The ZX-A and ZX-B are based on VIA Nano X2 C4350AL.[1][10] The ZX-B is identical to the ZX-A, except that it is manufactured by Shanghai Huali Microelectronics Corporation (HLMC) .[1][10] The ZX-C is based on the VIA QuadCore-E & Eden X4.[10] Zhaoxin terms the architecture "Zhangjiang", however it is thought the basis is the VIA Isaiah 2 architecture.[9] Like the VIA processors they were based on, early ZX processors are BGA (FCBGA and HFCBGA) chips sold pre-soldered onto a motherboard.

Zhaoxin came to the North American & European technology press' attention with the ZX-D processor, and its plan for future products, in late 2017/early 2018.[2][3] Zhaoxin calls the ZX-D architecture "Wudaokou" and is a complete re-design of the VIA Isaiah. This is a departure from earlier microarchitectures such as ZhangJiang which were a lightly modified version of VIA Technologies (Centaur) architecture. WuDaoKou is a new and complete SoC design.[11][9] Changes to the ZX-D include the integration of the northbridge like modern x86 designs, as well as additions of Chinese cryptographic functions.[9] The ZX-D series also has integrated graphics processing unit (iGPU) based on S3 Graphics technology (previously owned by VIA).[1][12][13]

The former ZX naming was dropped around 2018, for the KX ("KaiXian") designation for desktop processors, and KH ("KaisHeng") designation for server processors.

The KX-6000 (formerly ZX-E) system on a chip was demonstrated to press in September 2018.[12] The architecture, an evolution of the ZX-D architecture, has been named "Lujiazui".[11] In June 2019 the KX-6000 was reported to be built on a 16 nm TSMC process.[14] The chip has a DirectX 11.1 compatible iGPU.[12][13]

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