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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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Manufacturers need to be more responsible....
By Darkk on 11/13/2007 12:51:27 AM , Rating: 3
The biggest trend right now is power savings and going green. I am curious as to why Intel keeps changing the socket designs in short period of time forcing people to buy new motherboards. What happens to all those old motherboards? Most people would take them to get it recycled or upgrade an older system. Still, it's a mountain of waste in materials and money if Intel keeps doing this.

AMD is good about keeping compatibility long as they could without killing off performance of the newer processors on older motherboard. This gives us the opportunity to keep older motherboards going before upgrade is necessary.

I have to wonder why couldn't motherboard manufacturers offer dual memory slots to work either DDR2 or DDR3? Is that much of a design change for AM3 can't work with DDR2 at all? Guess I will wait awhile before upgrading to AM3 / DDR3 platform simply because it's too expensive right now. I'm sure others will agree.




By afkrotch on 11/18/2007 8:31:30 AM , Rating: 2
I think you are a bit confused here. Intel has only been on 2 sockets for the past like...7 years. LGA775 and Socket 478.

AMD on the other hand has been on Socket A, Socket 754, Socket 940, Socket 939, Socket F, AM2/AM2+, and now AM3. That's within the same time period as Intel.

AMD do something different with AM3 procs though. It'll have a memory controller that supports both DDR2 and DDR3, so AM3 procs will work on AM2 boards, but AM2 procs won't work on AM3 boards. I think they did this, cause ppl were getting pissed about all the Socket changes and inability to get a new proc. I think the worse time was when Athlon 64s first came out on S754 and within months of each other we had S940, then S939.

Most ppl don't bother with dual memory type motherboards cause they suck. They work perfectly fine for regular joe schmoe who doesn't build his own computer, let alone even knows what is inside it, nor care that it's not the fastest available computer on the market. Course joe schmoe isn't building his own computer, just buying it from Dell or HP. They just don't sell all that well, so few companies have an incentive in making them.


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