If you are looking for an exotic PC, here is one: a Chinese vlogger tested a tower marketed by Huawei in China. Its originality? No Intel / AMD or Windows processor, but components and an OS 100% made in China.
At the heart of the system is a Kunpeng 920 chip, a processor entirely developed by Huawei's HiSilicon division, which takes up ARM instructions (ARM v8.2) without using the ARM Cortex "cores". Clearly, one of the most "custom" ARM chips you can imagine, much more personalized than a Kirin from Huawei or even a Snapdragon for example.
Presented in 2019 in a tetrahexaconta-core version (64 cores) dedicated to servers, the Kunpeng 920 chip integrated here and still engraved in 7 nm but only embeds 8 cores and is soldered to the motherboard – it too made by Huawei.
Accompanied by a Radeon RX550 graphics chip, 16 GB of DDR4 and a 256 GB SSD, the machine has everything of a modern PC. But a high price – 7,500 yuan or 950 euros – in terms of performance. Because if the hardware part is supposed to be efficient, in fact, the Chinese vlogger highlights his great weakness: the software.
Once again, the software is lagging behind
Even if hardware performance is at the forefront – which does not seem to be the case – the key in the IT world remains software. And this is the first wall that Huawei's initiative will have to face: the OS is not yet fully operational and seems to be having difficulty accessing local files, the drivers seem to be ineffective (Blender benchmark lagging behind), and the software ecosystem is sorely lacking in popular applications like the Adobe suite.
It must be said that the Unity Operating System (UOS) is naturally not very open to the world. It has in fact been developed at the request of the Chinese government to allow its administrations and industries to get rid of foreign systems like Windows. Based on Linux, this system is here compiled in ARM64 and cannot therefore run x86 or ARM32 programs. That is to say if the pool of "desktop" applications is currently congruent!
A technological independence test
Limited to a Chinese distribution, this PC probably does not have the ambition to come tickle Intel or AMD in the field of performance. But its existence seems to prove that Huawei is slowly exploring alternatives in the event that the United States passes the boycotting fifth side. Because while Huawei saw an explosion in sales of its laptops in the first quarter of 2020 (+ 100%), what would happen if tomorrow the USA also prohibited Microsoft, AMD and Intel from trading with Huawei as they have made for Google services?
Well, the Chinese would have to manage on its own. And even if this first iteration seems uncompetitive in terms of performance, it still proves that Huawei can do it. Which already sounds like a success for the Chinese. And a warning shot for the Americans.
Sources : Minimachines, Tom's Hardware Fr