Chinese Loongson 3A6000 CPU matches i5-14600K, with a catch

Promising steps in the right direction.

Front and back of Loongson 3A6000 processor.

Chinese Loongson 3A6000 CPU has been overclocked and tested, showing great improvements over its predecessor. With the help of LN2, this chip is able to claim enough ground to reach Core i5-14600K performance. All that’s left to see is if the performance holds up in real word scenarios.

The 3A6000 is a 4-core and 8-thread CPU developed for the Chinese domestic market as an alternative to Intel and AMD. Clocked up to 2.5GHz, this chip is built using a 14/12nm manufacturing process and features 256KB of L2 plus 16MB of L3 cache. It uses LA664 cores made using 4th generation Dragon architecture, supporting the 128-bit LSX, 256-bit LASX, and SMT2 instruction sets.

Loongson 3A6000 translated CPU specifications.

Without overclocking, the 3A6000 achieved performance somewhere around the i3-10100F. Though it’s important to note that the i3 was clocked 60% higher at 4GHz. Going the other way around and lowering Intel CPUs’ frequency to 2.5GHz levels the playing field. 3A6000 approaches the performance on an i5 14600K in Spec CPU 2006 benchmark. To be fair, this is just a single test which is far from representative of its true capabilities. But for a new competitor, the improvements are still noteworthy.

Loongson 3A6000 against Intel i5-14600K benchmark results.

To grasp the full power of this CPU, Uncle Tony on bilibili has demonstrated its overclocking potential using liquid nitrogen. While the frequency bump wasn’t ground-breaking, there’s still a lot of room to improve in the future. As a reminder, Intel was founded in 1968 and has a lot of experience after all these years.

Loongson 3A6000 CPU cooled with liquid nitrogen.

In other words, the 3A6000 has similar IPC to Intel’s i5. It’s also nearly twice as fast as its predecessor the 3A5000. Furthermore, this doesn’t look like a one-off sample that was chosen among hundreds of non-working chips. These should become available in the coming weeks.