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HUAWEI starts selling PCs with with its own chip in China

Huawei's PC might have modest specs, but that's not the only thing holding it back.

Published onJuly 6, 2020

  • HUAWEI is selling a PC in China that features one of its ARM-based chips.
  • The 8-core chip suffered from performance issues in some apps.
  • The system also came with limited access to software.

For the past couple of years, HUAWEI has been manufacturing its own smartphone chips through its HiSilicon subsidiary to lessen its dependence on US-based companies like Qualcomm. It now appears HUAWEI is using at least one model of its Kunpeng processor to power a desktop PC it’s selling in China.

A Hong Kong-based YouTube channel spotted by Tom’s Hardware uploaded a video detailing the system. It features a variant of HiSilicon’s 7nm Kunpeng 920 ARM v8 processor. The 2.6GHz eight-core, eight-thread CPU came soldered to a HUAWEI D920S10 motherboard. The computer also came with 16GB of RAM, a 200W power supply, 256GB SATA hard drive and a Radeon RX550 GPU. The person who uploaded the video said they paid 7,500 yuan (~$1,068) to buy the system, which seems expensive for a computer with modest specs. Performance also wasn’t anything to write home about.

The computer completed a Blender Car Demo test render in a slow 11 minutes and 47 seconds. The YouTuber also complained of sluggish local video playback due to poor encoding performance. They went on to describe the system as best suited for light office work. However, that wasn’t even their most significant issue with the PC.

The system came pre-installed with the Unity Operating System (UOS), a Chinese distribution of Linux. According to Tom’s Hardware, the YouTuber had to pay 800 yuan (~$114) to access the UOS app store. Even then, they weren’t able to download mainstays like Adobe apps due to the store’s limited selection of software. The fact the processor also couldn’t run 32-bit programs made the problem worse.

At least as things currently stand, Chinese consumers probably won’t be rushing out to buy HUAWEI’s new desktop computer. The causes are different, but it faces the same major issue the company’s phones have outside of China: lack of software support. Even the best chips aren’t all that useful if they don’t have access to robust software and support from developers.

Next: How good is HUAWEI’s App Gallery?

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