NOW THAT THE OLYMPICS ARE OVER we can discuss China without the sports angle getting in the way (nice CGI fireworks btw guys). More to the point, we’re talking about the CPU known as Godson.

According to slideware presented by the Chinese Academy of Science’s ICT at the Hot Chips conference this Tuesday, the 3rd generation Godson (aka Dragon aka Loongson) is expected to be ready by 2010 in a bid to create China’s very own petaflop computer. At least that’s the plan.

The new Godson-3 will introduce multi-core to the game. Initially this will consist of four Godson-2 chips bunged together in a general purpose processing unit dubbed the GS464, but there will be multi-purpose cores too (named GStera). The architecture will allow the CPU to mesh with other CPUs (strength in numbers, innit?) each multi-core CPU becoming a node in the mesh, and thus creating a more powerful processing unit, whether they are built on the general purpose GS464 or the GStera. This looks more and more like an all-in-one solution for China’s processing requirements (server, desktop, notebook, CE, etc…). Add a bit here, you get a server; remove a bit there and you get something you can use as a cheap desktop CPU.

The biggest change to the third generation Godson is that it’ll become a close relative of the x86 architecture by implementing hardware translation for its - essentially - MIPS core. The new core will have 200 additional instructions to cope with this.

Godson-3 will also jump onto the 4-core bandwagon, later moving on to an 8-core design. The processors will clock in at 1GHz and later 1.2GHz and have an integrated DDR2 controller. No info on L2 cache, but you could read into the fact that these are four Godson-2s rolled into one and guesstimate the same 512KB of L2 cache per core as the predecessor. Expected TDP is 10W for the 4-core design and 20W for the 8-core design.

ST Microelectronics is fabbing the chip on a 65nm process and prototypes should be up and running by this year’s end. ST Micro will also market the product.

A sidenote in all this, the Godson 2G and 2H were also announced, and these will improve on the original Godson-2 design by integrating the graphics chip (2G) and integrating everything and creating a SoC (2H), respectively.

There’s something that the ICT will have to work out though: their chipsets were supplied by VIA and VIA has announced pulling out of 3rd party chipsets altogether. This means that, although the 2H is a self-contained SoC design with both northbridge and southbridge rolled in one, the Godson-3 will still require some kind of chipset, won’t it?

Unless of course VIA continues to supply chipsets under license. µ