Tuesday, March 15th 2011

AMD FX Zambezi Processors Compatible with ASUS AM3 Motherboards Using BIOS Update

AMD's upcoming FX series "Zambezi" desktop processors based on the "Bulldozer architecture are also expected to bring with them compatible motherboards, as AMD, on a number of occassions, stated that the chips will require a new socket (referred to as AM3+) and compatible chipset, and that the chips will be incompatible with existing AM3 socket and existing chipset. Information available with SweClockers points to the contrary.

According to the source, motherboard major ASUS is planning to provide support to AM3+ processors to some of its existing AM3 motherboards using mere BIOS updates. That's right, Zambezi will indeed be backwards compatible with AM3 and existing chipset, only what remains to be seen is if the processors will perform to their full potential and overclock well on existing platform. Amongst ASUS' Schindler's list are top of the line AM3 models, such as ROG Crosshair IV Formula and Extreme, M4A89TD PRO/USB3, and even AMD 890GX-based motherboards such as M4A89GTD PRO. The list also shows certain AM3+ motherboards that use dated chipsets such as 760G, probably the entry-level of ASUS' M5A series of motherboards.

Source: SweClockers
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145 Comments on AMD FX Zambezi Processors Compatible with ASUS AM3 Motherboards Using BIOS Update

#1
Yukikaze
Very awesome. I have a buddy with a Crosshair IV Formula mobo who will be delighted to hear this!
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#3
Yukikaze
by: $immond$
that's good news!
edit: mega-ninja'ed!
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#4
$immond$
Does that mean ITX AM3 boards are compatible?

Like the ZOTAC 890GXITX-A-E ??? Its 140 watt CPU capable.
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#5
Fourstaff
Nice to hear that they are providing backwards compatibility, unlike some blue company which shall be left unnamed.
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#6
Marv
Fantastic news! Just hope the processors can deliver too!

I do wonder though whether the AM3 motherboards will be compatible, but not as good as the AM3+ boards from a performance perspective despite both using DDR3 and so on.
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#7
AMD'ers
its good news . not like intel . :rockout:
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#8
TheLaughingMan
Wait, timeout. I though AM3+ socket had 942 pins which infers that AM3+ chips will have 942 pins. If that was true, the Zambezi will physically not fit into a AM3 socket motherboard. Updating your BIOS doesn't alter the laws of physics.

Does ASUS plan to release some kind of adapter or were the pin count reports wrong?
Posted on Reply
#9
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: $immond$
Does that mean ITX AM3 boards are compatible?
It means that every AM3 motherboard ever made is compatible provided the motherboard vendor decides to give a supportive BIOS update.

To answer your question on ITX, that will also depend on the VRM of the ITX board, whether it supports 125W CPUs. Most ITX AMD motherboards support up to 95W CPUs, not 125W or 140W.
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#10
erocker
by: TheLaughingMan
Wait, timeout. I though AM3+ socket had 942 pins which infers that AM3+ chips will have 942 pins. If that was true, the Zambezi will physically not fit into a AM3 socket motherboard. Updating your BIOS doesn't alter the laws of physics.

Does ASUS plan to release some kind of adapter or where the pin count reports wrong?
That's what I thought, but really we haven't seen the pinout on the CPU itself yet soo... woo hoo. I'm happy about it as I can just upgrade my CPU first if I would want to.
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#11
$immond$
by: btarunr
It means that every AM3 motherboard ever made is compatible provided the motherboard vendor decides to give a supportive BIOS update.

To answer your question on ITX, that will also depend on the VRM of the ITX board, whether it supports 125W CPUs. Most ITX AMD motherboards cap out at 95W CPUs.
ZOTAC 890GXITX-A-E

Yes but if read the specs it supports up to 140-watt TDP CPU, might just put my BE processor in it and use a Bulldozer processor in my gaming rig, once they are released.
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#12
suraswami
This is great news. Hopefully MSI releases update for my 790FX-GD70 board. I am going to hold on to it for some more time to see if luck favors.
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#13
TheLaughingMan
by: erocker
That's what I thought, but really we haven't seen the pinout on the CPU itself yet soo... woo hoo. I'm happy about it as I can just upgrade my CPU first if I would want to.
Didn't TPU post a report from ASRock that they were going to release an board with the 890GX or FX chipset but an AM3b socket. According to them and their pre-release pics, the socket should look something like this:



Anyone up for a count?
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#14
ROad86
I dont know what excactly is happening with compatibility but gigabyte too has released am3+ motherboards http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3781#ov. More models are availabe claiming to be revision 3.1 if you visit the site.
As it seems bulldozer will be backawards compatible but we have to see in what extent.
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#15
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: $immond$
ZOTAC 890GXITX-A-E

Yes but if read the specs it supports up to 140-watt TDP CPU, might just put my BE processor in it and use a Bulldozer processor in my gaming rig, once they are released.
Then sure, your VRM can support FX processors. All that's left is Zotac giving you that important BIOS update.

Market reasons will restrict motherboard vendors. They would much rather see you buy a new board from them. However, ASUS is a huge company, and giving away a Bulldozer-supporting BIOS won't hurt them. If anything, it will make ASUS' existing AM3 boards sell well till June.
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#16
erocker
by: TheLaughingMan
Didn't TPU post a report from ASRock that they were going to release an board with the 890GX or FX chipset but an AM3b socket. According to them and their pre-release pics, the socket should look something like this:

http://i1-news.softpedia-static.com/images/news2/ASRock-AM3-Bulldozer-Motherboard-Gets-Listed-in-Japan-3.jpg

Anyone up for a count?
Yeah, we know what the socket looks like, we haven't seen the backside of a CPU yet. Maybe AM3 users will get a hole drill kit? :laugh:
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#17
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: Fourstaff
Nice to hear that they are providing backwards compatibility, unlike some blue company which shall be left unnamed.
While I won't comment on a certain blue companies crappy strategy, doesn't this news kind of prove that AMD it really doing the same thing, just being more blatent about it? I mean AMD is saying that Bulldozer will not work at all with older chipsets and sockets, yet ASUS just proved AMD is full of it and is just saying that to get us all to buy new boards/chipsets...

Personally, I was hoping that AMD would use this as an opertunity to switch to LGA sockets instead of ZIF, I'm tired of pins on the CPU, they bend/break easier.
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#18
TheLaughingMan
by: newtekie1
While I won't comment on a certain blue companies crappy strategy, doesn't this news kind of prove that AMD it really doing the same thing, just being more blatent about it? I mean AMD is saying that Bulldozer will not work at all with older chipsets and sockets, yet ASUS just proved AMD is full of it and is just saying that to get us all to buy new boards/chipsets...
Actually they just said it wouldn't work with the older socket. Also this is coming from a "source" of someone else's, so he could just be full of it.

If AMD wanted you to buy a new board every time the released a new chip, they would just take Intel approach and come out with a completely new pin layout/socket each time. They have never done that, so why start now.

If we are taking sides, I chose to believe this news report is full of crap and the old info. about the sockets were right. I mean its all up in the air until someone from AMD steps forward and says something or the NDA is lifted and BtaRunr can just tell us the truth.
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#20
Fourstaff
by: newtekie1
While I won't comment on a certain blue companies crappy strategy, doesn't this news kind of prove that AMD it really doing the same thing, just being more blatent about it? I mean AMD is saying that Bulldozer will not work at all with older chipsets and sockets, yet ASUS just proved AMD is full of it and is just saying that to get us all to buy new boards/chipsets...

Personally, I was hoping that AMD would use this as an opertunity to switch to LGA sockets instead of ZIF, I'm tired of pins on the CPU, they bend/break easier.
The lesser of the two evils is the angel ;)

I wish AMD will use LGA too, but it makes sense to use ZIF if the processors are cheaper than the motherboards (which seems to be the case for lower end processors).
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#21
devguy
I agree that AMD's continued silence on the matter is discomforting. Although, to be fair, AMD has never stated that the current chipsets are incompatible with Zambezi.

JF-AMD has stated that AMD's official stance is that a motherboard manufacturer making a Zambezi chip run in an AM3 board via BIOS update is not supported. He doesn't say it is impossible.
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#22
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: Fourstaff
The lesser of the two evils is the angel ;)
The less smelly among two turds is still a turd.
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#23
erocker
by: newtekie1

Personally, I was hoping that AMD would use this as an opertunity to switch to LGA sockets instead of ZIF, I'm tired of pins on the CPU, they bend/break easier.
I'm glad they didn't. For me, messing up a pin on a LGA socket seems all to easy. If you do happen to mess up a pin, it can be fixed, but a pin on the CPU itself seems easier to fix for me.
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#24
$immond$
by: erocker
I'm glad they didn't. For me, messing up a pin on a LGA socket seems all to easy. If you do happen to mess up a pin, it can be fixed, but a pin on the CPU itself seems easier to fix for me.
agreed, much easier to fix on a CPU then on a board.
Posted on Reply
#25
Fourstaff
by: btarunr
The less smelly among two turds is still a turd.
That is one concept few people understand :roll:
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