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

_Zod_ said:
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
This would not save any money for AMD who instituted the change. Besides, while the air would be hotter than it was entering the case it will still be cooler than the heat sinks and circulating. The laws of thermodynamics would still work and more heat would be absorbed from the heat sinks on the VRMs. It is a sound concept.

The issue is, outside stock coolers how many of us actualy use a top down cooler?
Posted on Reply
So the only real concern for an overclockers is the higher current rating...

Apart from that should overclockers care? I don't think so.

I'm willing to bet my Crosshair 4 Extreme will cope with the current requirements just fine and I also bet that very very few high end 990FX motherboards will have a power design any were near the quality that my Extreme has.

It also looks like this new VID bus might actually hinder overclocks on 990FX if it throttles the chip and voltage, possibly making overclocking a pain in the arse.
Posted on Reply
Your Extreme will have a lot of trouble coping with the new bulldozer. The new chipset come out
only to bring out new cpus. Only amd won that round selling the old chipsets. The high end 990FX
will make your extreme cry man.
Posted on Reply
Aleksander Dishnica said:
Your Extreme will have a lot of trouble coping with the new bulldozer. The new chipset come out
only to bring out new cpus. Only amd won that round selling the old chipsets. The high end 990FX
will make your extreme cry man.
I dout it, There's no other AMD based motherboard that even comes close to its power circuitry and I dout any of the 990FX boards will have a better design.

If bulldozer will overclock decently on 990fx boards with modest phase designs then it'll shine on my extreme.

All the features that have been listed do not affect me in the slightest as I'm an overclocker, The only thing that could cause a problem is the pin diameter.
Posted on Reply
Gjohnst4 said:
Stinks You will have to acquire a new mounting bracket for your cpu cooler though?
It seems that the part for hooking the cooler onto is still the same.
Posted on Reply