x86 Chinese CPU Manufacturer Zhaoxin Has Been Working On Linux Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 9 April 2018 at 06:11 PM EDT. 33 Comments
HARDWARE --
Today's hardware monitoring subsystem updates sent into the Linux 4.17 kernel merge window were a bit peculiar with "new Centaur CPUs" now being supported for reading the CPU core temperatures.

Centaur Technology is the company VIA acquired back in 1999 to get into the x86 CPU game and the subsequent Nano, C3, and C7 CPUs that followed. But we haven't heard much of new VIA/Centaur x86 CPUs in years unless talking about the Zhaoxin company that was formed a few years ago between VIA and the Shanghai government for creating x86 CPUs for the Chinese market and as outlined in that article have been trying to become more competitive with their CPUs.

Curious about "new Centaur CPUs", when finding the patch, sure enough this CPU temperature driver addition is from a Zhaoxin email address.

That's not their only patch they have been dropping but over the weekend was another kernel patch for adding more Centaur CPU information to /proc/cpuinfo. Also last week was a set of patches for MCA support on "new Centaur CPU" among other patches. Merged back in January was another patch regarding a TSC frequency change.

So it does appear that Zhaoxin is getting their Linux support squared away for these newer CPUs. But judging from the relatively light patches so far and just extending existing VIA Centaur code paths from a decade ago, architecturally these new Chinese CPUs don't appear to be vastly different. From the patches I've looked through, it isn't clear if these new CPU support patches are for the company's existing "ZX" processors or the upcoming "KX" CPUs that are supposed to be more competitive with four cores, PCI Express 3.0, DDR4, etc.

Back to the hwmon updates for Linux 4.17, there is also new chip support for the ADM1273 and NCT6796D ASICs as well as various other hardware monitoring driver updates.
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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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