Tuesday, April 26th 2011

ASRock Uses ''Real'' AM3+ Sockets, Lists Out Advantages Over AM3

ASRock launched a new marketing campaign for its AMD platform motherboards, claiming to be the first manufacturer to be out with motherboards that use real AM3+ sockets. AM3+ is the FCPGA socket that has been designed for upcoming AMD FX series "Zambezi" processors based on the "Bulldozer" architecture. As a part of its campaign, ASRock highlighted the benefits of opting for its AM3+ motherboards. In the process, it ended up disclosing quite some technical information about AM3+, and why AMD designed it in the first place, when apparently AM3 can run Zambezi with a BIOS update.

To begin with, ASRock started with the socket itself, showing that AM3+ sockets can be identified by "AM3b" written on the socket, and have wider pin-holes (0.51 mm vs. 0.45 mm of AM3). It is possible that future (retail?) versions of the CPU, if not the engineering samples doing rounds, could use packages with thicker pins that are incompatible with AM3. The thicker pins add durability, and are designed for a different set of electrical specifications.
As part of those different set of electrical specifications, AM3+ processors are designed to talk to voltage controllers over a different VID, that's 3.4 MHz VID, while AM3 socket can only handle 400 KHz VID. Even if AM3+ chips run on AM3, they might probably lack some power management features, because AM3 boards' controllers might not support them. AM3+ will also feature a more advanced load-line design that lets controllers monitor electrical loads of the CPU and keep voltages within a stable range, minimizing vDroop (lowering of vCore with higher than normal load (when overclocked, loaded), messes up OC stability). AMD's new load-line design increases efficiency by up to 11.8%.
AMD's new electrical specification, coupled with ASRock's implementation are claimed to reduce CPU power electrical noise by up to 22%. This has a direct impact on energy efficiency. Also, there's a reason those pins are thicker: the package is designed to handle 32% higher current than AM3, the AM3+ is designed to handle 145A, while AM3 was designed for 110A.

Lastly, with AM3+, AMD changed the CCR (Combo Cooler Retention Module), that plastic frame around the socket to hold the cooler, to be a two part kit, instead of the single-piece frame since s754. The two-piece CCR design first came to be with s1207, then on to other server sockets, and now makes its entry to the client platform with AM3+. The two-piece design ensures that air blown downwards by top-flow coolers make it to the VRM circuitry, with no plastic bars obstructing it. ASRock listed out specifications of all its AM3+ motherboards. They're based on AMD 8-series chipsets.
Add your own comment

55 Comments on ASRock Uses ''Real'' AM3+ Sockets, Lists Out Advantages Over AM3

#1
Assimilator
So AMD, when are you going to get with the times and release CPUs without pins? I mean Intel has had the pins on the board and not the CPU for HALF A DECADE now.
Posted on Reply
#2
cheesy999
Assimilator said:
So AMD, when are you going to get with the times and release CPUs without pins? I mean Intel has had the pins on the board and not the CPU for HALF A DECADE now.
cpu's with pins are just better so i see no reason for them to move away from them, especially now the pins have been getting progressively thicker
Posted on Reply
#3
Peter1986C
Even without the pins getting thicker I don't see a reason for changing into the style of Intel. I mean how would one manage to break or bend the pins on the cpu without treating it like an ass?
Posted on Reply
#4
cheesy999
Chevalr1c said:
Even without the pins getting thicker I don't see a reason for changing into the style of Intel. I mean how would one manage to break or bend the pins on the cpu without treating it like an ass?
yeah i dropped mine and do you know what happened (nothing)
Posted on Reply
#5
erocker
Senior Moderator
I don't see anything with tis AM3+ board that gives an advantage over an AM3 board. AsRock is showing that they possibly made a better board, but I've seen AM3 boards (minus the socket) that already have these features. They're really stretching to get folks to buy AM3+ sockets for no good reason other than "wow look!" marketing.
Posted on Reply
#6
cheesy999
erocker said:
They're really stretching to get folks to buy AM3 sockets for no good reason other than "wow look!" marketing.
since intel do it every generation i have no problem with that unless they decide too start doing it often
Posted on Reply
#7
erocker
Senior Moderator
cheesy999 said:
since intel do it every generation i have no problem with that unless they decide too start doing it often
But Intel actually changes the socket so you can't use an older generation CPU in their boards. AM3/AM3+ = same thing. AsRock is just demonstrating that they are actually putting decent components on their motherboards and not just some fancy heatsinks or color scheme.
Posted on Reply
#8
cheesy999
erocker said:
But Intel actually changes the socket so you can't use an older generation CPU in their boards. AM3/AM3+ = same thing. AsRock is just demonstrating that they are actually putting decent components on their motherboards and not just some fancy heatsinks or color scheme.
buts theirs has no need for the change either way, Sandybridge doesn't work any better cause it has one less pin
Posted on Reply
#9
erocker
Senior Moderator
cheesy999 said:
buts theirs has no need for the change either way, Sandybridge doesn't work any better cause it has one less pin
Correct. AsRock is showing advantages between one motherboard and another, not any actual advantage between AM3+ and AM3.
Posted on Reply
#10
Static~Charge
Assimilator said:
So AMD, when are you going to get with the times and release CPUs without pins? I mean Intel has had the pins on the board and not the CPU for HALF A DECADE now.
Yes, what a wonderful idea to put the pins in the socket instead of on the CPU: small, delicate, easy to bend, difficult to straighten, damaging them requires REPLACING THE WHOLE FREAKIN' MOTHERBOARD. :shadedshu Not an improvement, in my book....
Posted on Reply
#11
$immond$
They will probably release an adapter.
Posted on Reply
#12
_Zod_
The thing that gets me is all the misinformation. Is AMD misleading it's OEMs or are the OEMs making stuff up as they go along?

If the pins on an AM3+ CPU are a heavier gauge than AM3 CPUs then how is an AM3 CPU supposed to fit in a AM3+ socket? The only way is for the contacts in the socket to be highly compressed making them extra tight on an AM3+. Also if the PINs are a heavier gauge on AM3+ cpu then people buying the ASUS bios claim will be getting screwed as there will be no way to fit the AM3+ in an AM3 socket (never mind the extra pin even). Also an increase in gauge signifies higher current draw, which means a lot of AM3 boards would not be able to handle the load.

In so far as the new retention scheme, airflow my buttocks, it's cheaper, that's why. The air coming from a CPU fan is hot, so you're blowing hot air on the VRM's. Sounds like they don't want to spend the money on heat sinks for the VRMs :p

I think one's best bet is to wait for the 9x chip sets and buy a AM3+ board with those. It's the only way to be sure you are at spec with the platform.

I planned on taking an AM3 quad to the new socket but now I don't know with this pin issue. Maybe Intel get's me back as a customer (last Intel chip was a PII 400).
Posted on Reply
#13
_JP_
Static~Charge said:
(...) REPLACING THE WHOLE FREAKIN' MOTHERBOARD. :shadedshu Not an improvement, in my book....
Not that I disagree with what you said, but it still is cheaper than to replace a CPU, in some cases.
$immond$ said:
They will probably release an adapter.
Yeah, who remembers this?:

OMG, DO WANT! :rolleyes:
Posted on Reply
#14
TheGuruStud
Static~Charge said:
Yes, what a wonderful idea to put the pins in the socket instead of on the CPU: small, delicate, easy to bend, difficult to straighten, damaging them requires REPLACING THE WHOLE FREAKIN' MOTHERBOARD. :shadedshu Not an improvement, in my book....
They did it to save themselves money and put it on the mobo makers, imo. It is their M.O. after all.
Posted on Reply
#15
Peter1986C
_JP_ said:
[quote="Static~Charge, post: 2267958"]Yes, what a wonderful idea to put the pins in the socket instead of on the CPU: small, delicate, easy to bend, difficult to straighten, damaging them requires REPLACING THE WHOLE FREAKIN' MOTHERBOARD. :shadedshu Not an improvement, in my book....
Not that I disagree with what you said, but it still is cheaper than to replace a CPU, in some cases.[/quote]Replacing a cpu means less waste than replacing a mobo, and in case you bend one of the cpu pins, it is relatively easy to straighten it (compared to a mobo "socket" pin).
Plus, as already written, if you are sufficiently careful and gentle it shouldn't go wrong.
Posted on Reply
#16
$immond$
_JP_ said:
Not that I disagree with what you said, but it still is cheaper than to replace a CPU, in some cases.

Yeah, who remembers this?:
http://www.techpowerup.com/img/06-02-25/asrock-1.jpg
OMG, DO WANT! :rolleyes:


I was thinking one similar to the 479 adapter, though this is clearly for Intel processors, I am sure AMD is intelligent enough to market a similar adapter for already existing AM3 boards. (I would hope)
Posted on Reply
#17
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Static~Charge said:
Yes, what a wonderful idea to put the pins in the socket instead of on the CPU: small, delicate, easy to bend, difficult to straighten, damaging them requires REPLACING THE WHOLE FREAKIN' MOTHERBOARD. :shadedshu Not an improvement, in my book....
Which is easier to drop, a processor or a motherboard. A processor, especially the heavy as AMD processors. When dropped, which is easier to bend, pins on the motherboard that are partially protected by a socket cover, or exposed pins on the processor? The exposed pins on the processor. Which are you handling more often, a processor or your motherboard? Your processor.

The fact of the matter is that pins on the motherboard are far less likely to be damanged than pins on a processor. To damage pins on a motherboard you have to be an idiot and drop something directly on that spot of the board, or try to touch the pins, or put the processor in wrong. With pins on the processor, you just have to drop the processor, which is a lot more likely than damaging a pin on a motherboard.

TheGuruStud said:
They did it to save themselves money and put it on the mobo makers, imo. It is their M.O. after all.
AMD has already moved to LGA on the server side, because it is just a better design. The only reason AMD has stuck with ZIF sockets on the desktop side is to maintain backwards compatibility.
Posted on Reply
#18
TheGuruStud
newtekie1 said:
Which is easier to drop, a processor or a motherboard. A processor, especially the heavy as AMD processors. When dropped, which is easier to bend, pins on the motherboard that are partially protected by a socket cover, or exposed pins on the processor? The exposed pins on the processor. Which are you handling more often, a processor or your motherboard? Your processor.

The fact of the matter is that pins on the motherboard are far less likely to be damanged than pins on a processor. To damage pins on a motherboard you have to be an idiot and drop something directly on that spot of the board, or try to touch the pins, or put the processor in wrong. With pins on the processor, you just have to drop the processor, which is a lot more likely than damaging a pin on a motherboard.
Who would be holding a cpu not in the foam/case high enough that dropping it would damage it? You should only take it out when it's right next to the MB and then put it in the socket. A few inches to travel and only a couple inches above the surface. If you can't do that correctly, then there's no hope.
Posted on Reply
#19
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
TheGuruStud said:
Who would be holding a cpu not in the foam/case high enough that dropping it would damage it? You should only take it out when it's right next to the MB and then put it in the socket. A few inches to travel and only a couple inches above the surface. If you can't do that correctly, then there's no hope.
When your workbench is on a tile floor, or your working in a basement with a concrete floor, it is pretty easy to knock it off the desk and bend a few pins. It happens to the best of us.

And when your tearing a machine down to say replace a bad motherboard, you don't always have a nice protective case to put it in, so its on the desk while you swap out the motherboard, easily knocked off.

And even if you are just installing it new, it is possible to drop the processor on the way from the package to the motherboard, and have it bounce off of the desk and hit the floor. I've seen it happen, never done it personally, but seen it happen.

There are so many more scenarios, and more likely scenarios as well, that lead to bent pins on a processor than there are that lead to bent pins on a motherboard.
Posted on Reply
#20
damric
1Kurgan1 said:

Same with that board, I only see it as AM3.




Can you see it now?
:roll:
Posted on Reply
#21
Gjohnst4
Stinks You will have to acquire a new mounting bracket for your cpu cooler though?
Posted on Reply
#22
micropage7
Chevalr1c said:
Even without the pins getting thicker I don't see a reason for changing into the style of Intel. I mean how would one manage to break or bend the pins on the cpu without treating it like an ass?
flat base like intel processor sometimes kinda risky. remember the burnt socket case when overclocker push the voltage. with pins it could minimized
Posted on Reply
#23
Aevum
That was more becuase foxconn and lottes were not respecting the minimum pin size/width specifications from intel. shave a gram or two of copper off each board and it adds up when you´re making a boatload of them.


personaly. i´ve had enough ram issues with AMD. im going to keep my 790FX board and DDR2 untill 990FX boards come out. i see no point in using a board with a AM3 chipset "updated" to run at DDR3 1600.
Posted on Reply
#24
erocker
Senior Moderator
Aevum said:


personaly. i´ve had enough ram issues with AMD. im going to keep my 790FX board and DDR2 untill 990FX boards come out. i see no point in using a board with a AM3 chipset "updated" to run at DDR3 1600.
Considering the memory controller is in the CPU itself, the board really shouldn't make much difference.
Posted on Reply
#25
bear jesus
I feel a bit electronically retarded asking this but i feel rather confused about the power part, what's with the extra 35A of current?

I assume with 32nm the voltage will drop but the transistor count will make a big jump, would the extra current just be something that's needed to power a butt load more transistors at a lower voltage?

Could the max current effect the max TDP CPU that could be put out for AM3+?

I really have no clue how the CPU voltage, CPU TDP wattage and socket current relate, as in what current would a 140w 965be pull but at what voltage and how much would upping the voltage up the current?

It makes me wonder how much current i have been sucking on when at something like 4ghz @ 1.5v.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment