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
TheLaughingMan
btarunr said:
It's 940. The pin-map looks the same as AM3, except that this notch now only covers one pin. AM3 socket has 941 contacts.

http://img.techpowerup.org/110315/bta9783kmln.jpg
You got that backwards. If AM3 has 941 and there is not 1 addition pin NOT being covered (AM3 has 4 sets of 2 blocks, thus that AM3+ board has 3 sets of 2 and 1 set of 1), that gives us 942 pins for AM3+ not 940. If the processors match, that 1 pin that needs an open hole just get's cock blocked. Thus why old chips fit the new socket, but new chips don't fit the old.

Erocker's right in the fact we have not seen the back side of the chip. Mayby this first gen will have 940 or 941 pins and the second gen they have planned has the 942.
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#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Fourstaff said:
That is one concept few people understand :roll:
Yeah, those who don't go to vote.

TheLaughingMan said:
You got that backwards. If AM3 has 941 and there is not 1 addition pin NOT being covered (AM3 has 4 sets of 2 blocks, thus that AM3+ board has 3 sets of 2 and 1 set of 1), that gives us 942 pins for AM3+ not 940. If the processors match, that 1 pin that needs an open hole just get's cock blocked. Thus why old chips fit the new socket, but new chips don't fit the old.

Erocker's right in the fact we have not seen the back side of the chip. Mayby this first gen will have 940 or 941 pins and the second gen they have planned has the 942.
Oops :o
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#3
Steevo
perhaps the hole is already there and just used for extra ground or some other unsupported on this platform feature like power gating, their new version of core boost,....
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#4
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
TheLaughingMan said:
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.
They said it wouldn't work with the older socket because the older socket couldn't handle all the capabilities of the new architecture. If adding a single pin is the only change to the socket, and that is all that is preventing it from working on the older socket, and you believe this is OK, then I pitty you.:shadedshu

The statement they made clearly is refering to not the physical socket itself not being capable, but the chipsets and boards as well. There is no reason they couldn't have released bulldozer with AM3 support, even if it did loose some capabilities when run in an AM3 board. They've done it this way in the past.

TheLaughingMan said:
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.
They've never done that?!? Tell that to all of us who have gone though 754, 939, AM2/AM2+/AM3. They did it all the time, so don't give me that crap about them not doing it. It is only recently, when they started loosing the game and had to do something else to add value to their products, that started including backwards compatibility.

TheLaughingMan said:
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.
You're the only one taking sides, I'm just looking at the situation for what it is.

devguy said:
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.
That is kind of my point. They could have released the processor with backwards compatility, obviously, but decided not to. Yes, the architecture might have been held back a little by an older chipset, but for someone looking for a cheap upgrade it wouldn't matter. AMD has shown no problem with holding back an architecture on an older chipset/board/socket before.

erocker said:
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.
$immond$ said:
agreed, much easier to fix on a CPU then on a board.
It is easier to fix a pin on a CPU, but also easier to bend/break a pin on a CPU. If I drop my motherboard, chances of bending a pin are pretty close to 0. If I drop my CPU, I'm almost guaranteed a bend pin. Not to mention dropping the CPU is easier since it is smaller.
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#5
TRIPTEX_CAN
I've seen problems with people dropping the CPU itself into the socket on an LGA775 board which destroyed it completely. Basically just dont drop your shit.

I'm pretty excited for Zambezi. I've been riding my current system for long enough and I can't wait to buld a new system. Hopefully this series can smoke BF3 properly.
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#6
GSquadron
At least they are launching the bios before the cpus are out!
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#7
Yellow&Nerdy?
It might be that AMD is releasing Zambezi with two different pin-counts. Like for example the 4-core and 6-core variants will be backwards compatible, but not the 8-core version. Or they will release two "generations" of CPUs and one of them is backwards compatible and the other one is not. Who knows. I guess we'll have to wait until June, if there isn't more delays.
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#8
TheLaughingMan
newtekie1 said:
They've never done that?!? Tell that to all of us who have gone though 754, 939, AM2/AM2+/AM3. They did it all the time, so don't give me that crap about them not doing it. It is only recently, when they started loosing the game and had to do something else to add value to their products, that started including backwards compatibility.

You're the only one taking sides, I'm just looking at the situation for what it is.

That is kind of my point. They could have released the processor with backwards compatility, obviously, but decided not to. Yes, the architecture might have been held back a little by an older chipset, but for someone looking for a cheap upgrade it wouldn't matter. AMD has shown no problem with holding back an architecture on an older chipset/board/socket before.
First AM3, AM2+ were both backwards compatible. 754 to 939 was an actual change in the chip architecture. No excuse for 939 to AM2. I do not deny the backwards compatibility was a move to add value to their products. My point is why would they establish using backwards compatibility as value to their CPU line, then suddenly drop that entire idea? Why not continue that same trend if it was possible?

Technically AMD hasn't said anything concrete. We have had reports that it doesn't fit the socket. I don't remember anyone saying the older chipsets don't work.

And you are taking sides. You see a report from a site you probably never seen before with unidentified source in ASUS and your immediate response was "AMD are liars." That is the definition of taking a side.

This is how you take it for what it is: Read story and reply with, "Has ASUS confirmed this or responded to the post?"
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#9
slyfox2151
Yellow&Nerdy? said:
It might be that AMD is releasing Zambezi with two different pin-counts. Like for example the 4-core and 6-core variants will be backwards compatible, but not the 8-core version. Or they will release two "generations" of CPUs and one of them is backwards compatible and the other one is not. Who knows. I guess we'll have to wait until June, if there isn't more delays.
IMO this does make a lot of sence



i can see them making the 4/6core cpus compatible and leaving the 8/12/16 core CPUs as AM3+ Only.
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#10
brandonwh64
Addicted to Bacon and StarCrunches!!!
I personally hope bulldozer comes out and can compete with intel this time. it still bothers me how thuban did when competing to 1366
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#11
[H]@RD5TUFF
Yellow&Nerdy? said:
It might be that AMD is releasing Zambezi with two different pin-counts. Like for example the 4-core and 6-core variants will be backwards compatible, but not the 8-core version. Or they will release two "generations" of CPUs and one of them is backwards compatible and the other one is not. Who knows. I guess we'll have to wait until June, if there isn't more delays.
Much like they made some slower versions of Phenom 2 that were AM2+ , but if you look at the G34 chips they are huge and the socket is completely different, I just don't see AMD being able to die shrink that to fit the current AM3 socket they use. I think AM3+ will have a larger PGA ZIF.


All I know is the UD5 better be on there or I am going to be pissed! If I have to buy a new mobo for their next processor, I may as well go to an Intel then.
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#13
CDdude55
Crazy 4 TPU!!!
Don't care unless i can throw one on my Asus 880G board. Great news for the people who have those top end boards though.:)
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#14
TheMailMan78
Big Member
So whats the conclusion?

Is there a pin difference or no?
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#16
HalfAHertz
[H]@RD5TUFF said:
Much like they made some slower versions of Phenom 2 that were AM2+ , but if you look at the G34 chips they are huge and the socket is completely different, I just don't see AMD being able to die shrink that to fit the current AM3 socket they use. I think AM3+ will have a larger PGA ZIF.


All I know is the UD5 better be on there or I am going to be pissed! If I have to buy a new mobo for their next processor, I may as well go to an Intel then.
Or how the original phenom worked in AM2 boards but only at HT1.0 link speeds.
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#17
FlanK3r
Guys, this news is not right....its little mistake. Yes, it will be new revision boards, but not with AM3 socket;) Zambezi has +1 pin for new controler...
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#18
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
TheLaughingMan said:
First AM3, AM2+ were both backwards compatible. 754 to 939 was an actual change in the chip architecture. No excuse for 939 to AM2. I do not deny the backwards compatibility was a move to add value to their products. My point is why would they establish using backwards compatibility as value to their CPU line, then suddenly drop that entire idea? Why not continue that same trend if it was possible?

Technically AMD hasn't said anything concrete. We have had reports that it doesn't fit the socket. I don't remember anyone saying the older chipsets don't work.

And you are taking sides. You see a report from a site you probably never seen before with unidentified source in ASUS and your immediate response was "AMD are liars." That is the definition of taking a side.

This is how you take it for what it is: Read story and reply with, "Has ASUS confirmed this or responded to the post?"
754 to 939 was not a change in architecture, they both used the same architecture. Though I will accept that it was implemented to allow Dual-Core CPUs, which AMD did not take into consideration when designing the socket.

I understand your point about their recent history, but my point is that a few recent actions doesn't mean they will always follow that logic. And if this news is true, it shows they obviously haven't followed that logic.

I'm not taking sides, I'm telling you what this news means. If that offends you, or you don't like it because someone is casting AMD in a light you don't like, that is your problem. That doesn't mean I'm taking a side.
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#19
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Ok now that we have all shown our e-peen can we please get to the facts?! Is this confirmed or bullshit?
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#20
erocker
TheMailMan78 said:
Ok now that we have all shown our e-peen can we please get to the facts?! Is this confirmed or bullshit?
Follow the source. It will give you its source which is a press release from Asus. That is confirmation.
Posted on Reply
#21
TheLaughingMan
newtekie1 said:
754 to 939 was not a change in architecture, they both used the same architecture. Though I will accept that it was implemented to allow Dual-Core CPUs, which AMD did not take into consideration when designing the socket.

I understand your point about their recent history, but my point is that a few recent actions doesn't mean they will always follow that logic. And if this news is true, it shows they obviously haven't followed that logic.

I'm not taking sides, I'm telling you what this news means. If that offends you, or you don't like it because someone is casting AMD in a light you don't like, that is your problem. That doesn't mean I'm taking a side.
Ok, I see your point.

And trust me there is nothing anyone can write about me that would offend me. I have my buttons, but written messages aren't one of them.
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#22
yogurt_21
newtekie1 said:
754 to 939 was not a change in architecture, they both used the same architecture. Though I will accept that it was implemented to allow Dual-Core CPUs, which AMD did not take into consideration when designing the socket.

I understand your point about their recent history, but my point is that a few recent actions doesn't mean they will always follow that logic. And if this news is true, it shows they obviously haven't followed that logic.

I'm not taking sides, I'm telling you what this news means. If that offends you, or you don't like it because someone is casting AMD in a light you don't like, that is your problem. That doesn't mean I'm taking a side.
correct which is why I have a 754 rig that has a 3000 venice in it. the venice core athlon 64 was originally a 939 only chip and then they released some 754 variants later.
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#23
[H]@RD5TUFF
All will be revealed in about 2 and a half months, until then it's all speculation and bologna until AMD says something. I personally hope they at least support 8 cores on AM3 otherwise this is a fail on AMD's part.
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#24
LAN_deRf_HA
What's with all the butter fingers? You should only be getting pin damage from excessive socket force like with a venom.
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#25
HalfAHertz
Didn't we already have this discussion at lengths with LGA 1155? Excessive backwards compatibility is a double edged sword. If it works - great you won yourself a few more customers, but if it compromises performance or if the time and money needed to make it work are greater than those sales, then it's time to move on.
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