Here’s What Gaming on Centaur’s Forgotten x86 CPU Looks Like

Centaur may have disappeared for good, but remnants of the company’s products remain if you look hard enough. Computer enthusiast Albert Thomas (opens in new tab) (aka Bizude) got his hands on Centaur’s CHA chip and put it through its paces in various modern triple-A titles.

The CHA processor has a die size of 194 mm² and features eight CNS x86 cores without simultaneous multithreading (SMT). Depending on the bin, the clock speed varies between 2.2 GHz and 2.5 GHz. The 16nm chip has 16MB of L3 cache, supporting AVX-512 instructions and quad-channel DDR4 memory. It even has an onboard AI co-processor, which Centaur had baptized as the NCore. The company had envisioned the CHA processor for the server market, which is why the chip has the NCore accelerator with machine learning capabilities.

Introduced in 2019, Centaur claimed that its CNS cores offer a similar level of performance to Intel’s Haswell processors. Thomas overclocked his CHA sample to 2.5 GHz (opens in new tab) and obtained Cinebench R23 single-and multi-threaded scores of 552 and 4,141 points, respectively. Based on the data from Anandtech’s database, the CHA chip’s single-threaded performance is closest to a dual-core Pentium G3220T (580 points), whereas the multi-threaded performance is in the same ballpark as the quad-core Xeon E3-1231 (4,409 points). The reviewer paired the Centaur CHA with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti graphics card and 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3200 memory.

Centaur CHA Gaming Benchmarks

Framerates Quality Resolution
Cyberpunk 2077 45 – 65 Ultra 2560 x 1440
Doom (2016) 80 – 187 ? 2560 x 1440
Crysis 35 – 101 ? ?

In Cyberpunk 2077, with the DLSS quality preset, the Centaur chip delivered framerates between 45 FPS and 65 FPS. The results were pretty remarkable, considering that Thomas did his testing at 1440p (2560×1440) with the image quality preset on ultra.

The CHA processor had no problems keeping framerates above 60 FPS in Doom (2016). The enthusiast didn’t specify the image quality preset, but even at 1440p, the framerates varied between 80 FPS to 187 FPS, depending on the scene’s complexity.

Crysis, a title that once represented the epitome of PC gaming, couldn’t faze the Centaur CHA part, either. Although we’re unsure of the resolution or quality setting, the octa-core chip pumped out framerates ranging from 35 FPS to 101 FPS.

You can argue that the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti did much of the heavy lifting. Despite the low clock speeds, the Centaur CHA processor kept up with one of the best graphics cards on the market without difficulty.