Tech

Chinese chipmaker is getting close to release a GPU that approximates Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080

Why it matters: China has been quietly developing CPUs and GPUs for years, but as of late, it’s been trying to accelerate existing projects without much success. Still, now and then, we hear about another small breakthrough made by a Chinese company. Such is the case of Jingjia Micro, which is getting closer to releasing a graphics card that could have the performance of a GeForce GTX 1080 from yesteryear.

So far, we’ve seen a lot more action in the CPU space from Chinese companies like Zhaoxin, which are trying to develop x86 processors that can catch up to and eventually compete with those made by Intel and AMD. However, GPUs have not seen nearly the same attention being devoted to them.

One notable exception is Jingjia Micro (also known as Jingjiawei), which started as a military-civilian company developing and manufacturing military-grade electronics. Almost three years ago, the company said it was working on its own discrete high-performance graphics card after successfully launching China’s first domestic GPU.

According to a report from MyDrivers, Jingjia Micro is getting ready to launch not one but two graphics cards soon. The first is an entry-level model called JM9231 that will offer performance around the level of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 or an AMD Radeon RX 560. The second is the JM9271, which is supposedly able to keep up with a GeForce GTX 1080 or AMD’s RX Vega 64.

  JM9231 GTX 1050 JM9271 GTX 1080
API Support OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 1.2 OpenGL 4.6, DX12 OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 2.0 OpenGL 4.6, DX12
Boost Clock Rate > 1,500 MHz 1,455 MHz > 1,800 MHz 1,733 MHz
Bus Width PCIe 3.0 PCIe 3.0 PCIe 4.0? PCIe 3.0
Memory Bandwidth 256 GB/s 112 GB/s 512 GB/s 320 GB/s
Memory Capacity/Type 8GB GDDR5 2GB GDDR5 16GB HBM 8GB GDDR5X
Pixel Rate > 32 GPixel/s 46.56 GPixel/s > 128 GPixel/s 110.9 GPixel/s
FP32 Performance 2 TFLOPs 1.8 TFLOPs 8 TFLOPs 8.9 TFLOPs
Output options HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.3 HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4 HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.3 HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4

Video Encoding

H.265/4K 60FPS H.265/4K 60FPS H.265/4K 60FPS H.265/4K 60FPS
TDP 150W 75W 200W 180W

Digging deeper, the JM9231 will integrate 8 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory and offer two teraflops of FP32 performance with a TDP of 150 watts, which would be an impressive feat for the Chinese company. As for the JM9271, it will come with 16 gigabytes of HBM memory and deliver eight teraflops of compute power at a TDP of 200 watts.

That said, Jingjia Micro explained that it’s still in the early days for the two graphics cards, which still have to go through more testing before the company can even begin trial production runs. Efficiency is not a strong point of these, and neither is the performance, which is only comparable—at least on paper—to GPUs from several years ago. There’s also no word on support for DirectX and Vulkan APIs, so it’s possible the JM9231 and JM9271 cards may never end up in a gaming PC.

Overall, it doesn’t look like China has made much progress on this front despite pouring billions into subsidies for its semiconductor industry. Just as we’ve seen with the country’s CPU efforts, progress is slow, and few companies have the engineering know-how to pursue such projects. The only other prominent companies known to be working on GPUs are Huawei’s HiSilicon subsidiary and Tianshu Zhixin Semiconductor, which are both working on GPGPUs for the Asian server market.

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