Electronics > Microcontrollers

Mainland Chinese 32-bit MCU's, MPU's and FPGA's Megathread

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technix:
This thread is all about those Mainland Chinese 32-bit MCU's, MPU's and FPGAs: GD, Artery, Allwinner, Gowin, etc. The following incomplete list of companies are the ones would be considered name brands in Mainland China: (Links may be in Chinese)

32-bit MCU's:


* 兆易创新 Gigadevice: GD32F & GD32E with ARM Cortex-M cores, and GD32V with RISC-V cores. Some of them have STM32-compatible pinouts.
* 乐鑫 Espressif and their famous Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless chips based on Xtensa and RISC-V.
* 沁恒 WCH: An assortment of ARM Cortex-M and RISC-V parts, some of which features built-in Bluetooth LE. The link goes to the Chinese page which has a more complete product listing. The CH5xx parts have their own pinouts. The CH32F Cortex-M3 and CH32V RISC-V parts uses STM32 pinout.
* 雅特力 Artery: A bunch of Cortex-M4 chips using STM32 pinout, most of which are STM32F7 class chips in lower pin count STM32F1 class pinout, or STM32F4 class chip in STM32F0 class pinout.
* 灵动 MindMotion: Cortex-M MCUs. They have STM32F1 class chips in STM32F0 packages, STM32F2 class chips in STM32F1 packages, and a lot of chips with embedded Bluetooth LE hardware.
* 华大 HDSC
* 航顺 Hangshun who advertises 100% compatibility with certain Western brands.
* Autochips automotive MCU with their own ecosystem
32-bit and 64-bit MPU's, open docs not guaranteed:


* 全志 Allwinner - Cortex-A. See linux-sunxi
* 瑞芯微电子 Rockchip - Cortex-A with seemingly officially open docs. They apparently also do MCUs now...?
* 龙芯 Loongson - MIPS32 and MIPS64. AFAIK they are the last serious manufacturer of high-performance MIPS systems suitable for workstations and servers, until they recently announced they have abandoned the MIPS ship to their own ISA after MIPS the company abandoned their namesake architecture and embraced RISC-V. Open docs partially available (adequate to bring the chip up but certain advanced features not available.) They will sell higher end chips themselves in quantity of one and they have a dedicated small quantity order distributor for lower-end IoT chips intended for makers.
* 君正 Ingenic - MIPS32.
* 兆芯 Zhaoxin - amd64 via collaboration with VIA. You can buy Zhaoxin-powered PC's now and they will run stock Windows. Actually you can buy full PC made with exclusively Mainland Chinese parts and still have it run Windows, if you put together Zhaoxin CPU, Uni-IC SDRAM modules, Yangtze Memory SSD and forgo spinning rust hard drives.
* 海思 Hisilicon - Cortex-A. Obviously. Subsidiary of Huawei. No open docs
FPGA's:


* 高云 Gowin. All of their chips have built-in configuration Flash (likely a MCM QSPI chip) and also booting from external SPI Flash. A lot of their chips also have built-in SDRAM or PSRAM. They have some chips with hard Cortex-M3 cores in it, although currently it isn't that easy to use that hard CPU core. Said chip uses QFN48 package. I have a dev board for that exact chip, intended to go with the chip with both hard CPU core and built-in PSRAM.
* 安路 Anlogic. They also do built-in SDRAM/PSRAM for QFN and QFP products. No hard CPU core though.
* 智多晶 Intelligence Silicon. Standard features only.
* 紫光同创 Pango. Standard features only as well, however they have some huge 170K LUT/FF parts.
* 京微齐力 Hercules. They also have chips featuring hard Cortex-M3 (and 8051) cores. They also have an interesting chip I'd like to evaluate in the future.
I will update this list when new interesting companies pops up.

Please look at those chips and their ecosystems on their own merit, as if it is delivered in a tray or in a product with its own correct marking instead of having its markings rubbed and replaced by some bastards. While some of the companies above makes chips that is pin-compatible (even bug-compatible) with certain Western brands, please do not let that cloud your judgement, as those chips are as legitimate as Dell and HP PC's.

Notes about "Customer Control": Some manufacturers now implements customer control schemes, which places (honestly very stupid) barrier in front of official access to the chips and maybe the docs. This usually means that:

* You will be asked about your company and details of the project before they give you access to anything. If all you want is docs but not bulk chips even in the future, take this as a hint to present you and the entity you are approaching them as a design house, which will tear down a lot of volume-based barriers.
* Low to mid volume customers will be outright denied access from official sources, unless you have established yourself as a design house which will open access to you but only samples and docs.
* You are generally required to stick to the first reseller/distributor that gave you access to the docs and the chips, as jumping between suppliers is seen as unfaithful and untrustworthy.
* You are generally required not to resell your stock even if you over-ordered parts.As an employee of such chip makers claims, this comes from the Chinese chip makers' deep fear of competitors and straight up forgers copying their products. (Chinese bite fellow Chinese the hardest.) The Chinese laws on copyright infringement was fairly recent to begin with and received a major refactor just last year, so the long-rooted distrust during the Wild West years remained. Thus they treat any newcomers as hostile unless proven trustworthy through long periods of cooperations.

Given that, do not expect all chips listed above being available from traditionally trustworthy online distributors, as those are explicitly banned from accessing those chips behind customer control.

ali_asadzadeh:
Thanks for sharing, it would be very nice if you could tell which part numbers from the brands has the lowest price, so we can choose them sooner, also if you could tell which parts are very poplar out there, it would help too. :-+

technix:

--- Quote from: ali_asadzadeh on May 04, 2021, 06:07:50 am ---Thanks for sharing, it would be very nice if you could tell which part numbers from the brands has the lowest price, so we can choose them sooner, also if you could tell which parts are very poplar out there, it would help too. :-+

--- End quote ---
The prices are currently all over the place.

As of the popular ones, the usual rule of the thumb is go with the one that is Bluepill compatible.

ali_asadzadeh:
thanks for the reply, do we have a sub 0.5$ part for replacing STM32F030KT6? note that the pinout is not important, since we can design a NEW PCB, I need something in the 0.5$ price range with at least 32KB Flash and 4K RAM

technix:

--- Quote from: ali_asadzadeh on May 04, 2021, 06:50:55 am ---thanks for the reply, do we have a sub 0.5$ part for replacing STM32F030KT6? note that the pinout is not important, since we can design a NEW PCB, I need something in the 0.5$ price range with at least 32KB Flash and 4K RAM

--- End quote ---
If it is normal times I would be flinging datasheets at you. For now sadly there is none.

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