China netbooks - ARM or RISC with HW assisted x86 emulation?


May 23, 2011
Hello, I am planning to buy a china netbook, preferably with 10 inch screen. I have pinned down these two models:

1) VIA ARM VT8505 533Mhz
Even through this particular auction has three different CPU speeds and RAM sizes listed, I have contacted the seller and he said it's 533Mhz and 128MB.

2) "RISC" x86 compatible
After some searching on google, I found out that the specific model of this netbook is MenQ EasyPC E102. After even more googling, I found out that the CPU is most likely a model from Loongson, specifically Loongson 3 (aka godson 3) [ ]

Now wikipedia states that this CPU is the MIPS architecture, so that means it could not run windows XP directly. But instead, it has "200 new instructions for hardware assisted x86 emulation".

Now, does that mean:
1) upon boot, a very lightweight linux distro is booted and then (maybe a special version of) qemu is loaded, which in turn starts windows XP

- or -
2) the CPU can be somehow switched by some special instruction or register setting that "from now on, execute X86 code" (otherwise, the opcodes for MIPS and X86 would mix overlap in my opinion).

I like the second one more, but I am afraid that it would be slow in x86 code, because of x86 emlation. OS is not important to me, I could install some lightweight linux distro that runs natively on mips.

In your opinion, which one would be generally faster, in terms of system response and startup time?