Linux 4.18 Continues Onboarding Centaur x86 CPUs
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 4 June 2018 at 10:42 AM EDT. 3 Comments
HARDWARE --
As reported a few months ago, the new Chinese x86 CPU venture formed between the government of Shanghai and VIA has been working on Linux support for these new x86 CPUs and that onboarding has continued with Linux 4.18.

Zhaoxin has been working on a new wave of x86-compatible processors based upon the VIA Centaur x86_64 Isiah design. This year is when they plan to release their quad-core CPUs manufactured on a 16nm process and supporting DDR4, PCI Express 3.0, and other modern features while in 2019 is their aggressive plans for moving to a 7nm CPU with DDR4, PCI Express 4.0, and more competitive performance.

This new generation of CPUs from VIA lineage has resulted in an uptick of new Linux kernel contributions. Already today for the 4.18 merge window has been two pull requests referencing the VIA Centaur CPU work. The most notable is the x86/boot changes for initializing supported CPU features properly, adapting some Intel x86 code to work correctly in Centaur's case, and also reporting the CPU/cache topology for their new CPUs.

It will certainly be interesting to see what comes of these new CPUs and if they will end up eventually making a splash in the US or European markets, at least the Linux support is coming together.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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