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AMD Socket AM3 reference design overview.   (Source: ChileHardware, AMD)
As AMD looks forward at DDR3 implementations, motherboard manufacturers begin rolling out designs

Reference plans for motherboards based on AMD's desktop AM3 processors are already starting to mature. Socket AM3 is the successor to AMD's Socket AM2+, and is not expected to make an official release until 2008.

Current AMD guidance suggests its AM3 processors will be compatible with existing chipsets. AM2 processors, however, will not be compatible with AM3 motherboards. This same guidance claims AM3 processors will work with AM2+ motherboards.

The initial reference boards that support AM3 processors will be based on an AMD RS780 northbridge and an AMD SB700 southbridge. The northbridge and southbridge communicate with each other via a 4X PCIe lane. The northbridge communicates directly with the CPU using a HyperTransport link.

The RS780-based AM3 reference boards will feature 12 USB 2.0 ports along with 6 SATA II ports. For audiophiles the board also features integrated AZALIA HD Audio.

Also making its appearance for the first with AM3 will be DDR3 memory support. Since AMD places its memory controllers directly on its processors, the DDR3 DIMM slots will communicate directly with the processor using a 128-bit bus. According to current AMD reference posted at ChileHardware, there will be a total of four DIMM slots. 

AMD has not publically announced DDR3 support for its Phenom or Barcelona family processors.  Previous roadmaps indicate that DDR3 support will likely come with its 45nm shrink next year, but the company has also confirmed DDR3 will be present on the Bulldozer CPU architecture.

The RS780 AM3 chipset will also come with integrated graphics. The AM3 reference boards will feature a VGA and HDMI connection, along with a TV-out composite cable that features S-Video along with HD TV-Out.  This is only a reference design, so there is no guarantee these features will pan out in production products.

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RE: Why the need for ANOTHER AMD socket???
By afkrotch on 11/12/2007 4:58:48 PM , Rating: -1
The purpose is for compatability issues. You can't use any DDR2 capable A64s/X2s on a DDR1 board. You won't be able to use a DDR3 capable A64/X2s on a DDR2 board. It's all to keep homebuilders from getting confused...I guess.

Intel lets the user figure out what works and doesn't work. Personally, I prefer the way Intel works. Granted, my motherboard doesn't support 1333mhz C2D/C2Qs, but new motherboards will support my 1066mhz C2D. So if I wanted to move to DDR3, I can simply buy DDR3 and a new motherboard. I can reuse my old proc.

Intel's old motherboards may not support the future, but their new motherboards can support the past.

Every brand new, just released Intel LGA775 board will support every single LGA775 proc that has been released before it. Can you say the same thing about AM2 boards? AM2+? AM3?

RE: Why the need for ANOTHER AMD socket???
By mindless1 on 11/12/2007 6:16:15 PM , Rating: 2
So if I wanted to move to DDR3, I can simply buy DDR3 and a new motherboard. I can reuse my old proc.

Intel's old motherboards may not support the future, but their new motherboards can support the past.

There is no good reason to want to move to DDR3. The processor is the more cost effective and higher performance ceiling part to replace, as well as bus, HDD, video bottlenecks. On the contrary now is the time to buy a boatload of DDR2 memory given how cheap it has become, not throwing out DDR2 to pay a premium for DDR3. There just aren't many uses where memory bandwidth matters without concern for the rest of the system particularly the processor.

That old motherboards don't support the future but new do is exactly opposite of our needs since nobody buys a new board to run an old CPU but many want the large performance increase of being able to run a new CPU in an older board, especially the convenience of not having to mess with the (Windows) OS installation caused by switching boards.

By afkrotch on 11/18/2007 7:35:34 AM , Rating: 2 no one bought a new AMD board to get PCIe, while reusing their old processor? Intel didn't give you such an option. You had to get a new processor and memory to get PCIe, cept for those very few boards that supported PCIe and Socket 478 procs.

There are also many reasons to upgraded to a new board, not just because of performance. How about going from mATX to ATX? Old motherboard only has 2 memory slots?

I personally upgraded my server to a new motherboard, while sticking with the old processor. Why? It had a 3.06 ghz P4 in it, but it was using Rambus (fastest memory for P4s during the time). I moved it off the old Asus P4T533 to an Asus P4P800-E Deluxe. Went from 1 gig of memory to 2 gigs for less cost than buying more Rambus.

There are times where getting a new motherboard isn't all about getting a new processor. It could be about getting new features. I'd like to move off my Asus P5W DH Deluxe, just because it's not a capless design. I really do not want to go through the hassle of having my rig down for a few days, while I replace caps. Had to do that with my old Abit IC7-Max 3.

RE: Why the need for ANOTHER AMD socket???
By teldar on 11/12/2007 9:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
Only problem with that last statement is that their new boards DO NOT support all their old processors. They support some of them, but not all of them....

By afkrotch on 11/18/2007 7:57:36 AM , Rating: 2
Only time I've seen compatability issues was the Smithfields. Even then, Intel had the i945, i955, and i975 that they said will work. All the rest below them were hacked my mobo manufacturers to get the Smithfields to work on them. Like the i865 and i875 made to work with Smithfields.

But hey, if you can give me a good example of a new Intel chipset and an old Intel proc not working together, please do so.

By Myrandex on 11/14/2007 4:01:25 PM , Rating: 1
lolz do you even know how to read? I know some good reading tutors in case you need it. There were plenty of people stating that they bought new LGA775 boards, that even claim to support every single LGA775 CPU out there, but then the truth gets out and they don't support older LGA775 CPUs...

At least AMD supports every CPU released on a socket all of the time with their Athlon64 line...If I have a socket 754 board & chip, I know that they will be compatible. Same with a Socket 939 cpu & board. And that is the problem with an on die memory controller.

If the sockets were all the same and some noob took an Athlon64 w/ DDR2 support and plugged it into a DDR1 board, he would fry everything then go complain to his mom that he can't read the instructions just like you can't read articles or do research...

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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