China’s preferred Linux distro trumpets Arm benchmark results

Which sounds just like what you’d do if future x86 supply looked a bit iffy

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KylinOS, the Linux distribution that China’s government has encouraged to become a national OS for desktops and services, has pointed out that it’s clocked up a Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) benchmark running on Huawei’s Arm silicon.

China doesn’t like being dependent on big western technology firms, so has encouraged the development of its own OS. In late 2019 two such efforts merged with the intention of building a new national OS, but Kylin is already widely used in Chinese government agencies and sufficiently mature that it powers the Tianhe supercomputers that have in the past headed the influential Top 500 charts that name the world's mightiest number crunchers.

The new benchmark was run on Huawei servers and silicon – the TaiShan 200 Server server and 7nm 2.6GHz Kunpeng 920 7260 CPU to be precise, with 128 cores in a two-socket box.

The results are here.

The machines look to have done well, although as literally hundreds of results are available for the SPEC CPU2017 tests it’s hard to compare apples with apples.

However the mere fact that Kylin is letting the world know it ran Arm benchmarks is significant. China does have local x86 licensees, but their output lags that of Intel and AMD and especially so in servers. With trade tensions making it increasingly possible that Chinese companies may struggle to get their hands on US-sourced silicon, Arm strength is becoming increasingly important. ®

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