AMD has four sockets launches in two years

Posted on Thursday, Nov 23 2006 @ 00:36 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Over the next two years we're going to see four new sockets from AMD: the AM2, AM2+, AM3 and the Cerberus:
AM3 is the successor to AM2+ (duh), and it arrives in the Shanghai/Budapest generation. AM3 chips have HT3.0 and force a split voltage plane. You can do all sorts of tricks with HT3.0 that you could not do with HT2.x, so this will be a major step forward, but the pin count should not change.

You can plug an AM2+ chip into an AM3 socket, and plug an AM3 chip into an AM2+ socket. Again you do not gain functionality going forward, and you lose functionality going backward. This assumes that the AM3 boards do not use features that make the AM2+ chips choke like splitting HT links. While I have not heard for sure, this AM2+ chip on advanced AM3 boards does not sound feasible, so I will go out on a limb and say it won't work.

AM3 forces split voltage planes, where it is supported in AM2+ and not supported in AM2. This means AM2 and AM3 sockets and chips will not play well together no matter how hard you push them into the socket. AM2+ chips will go both ways, pun intended
AM2 is already available and future AM2+ processors and sockets will have support for AM2. AM3 processors and sockets won't support AM2 and the Cerberus which will arrive in late 2008 will use a new physical socket and won't be backwards compatible at all.
Remember I said something about variants? At the very least, there will be an A64 socket and an Opteron socket, so that means 8 sockets in 2 years, one a quarter. Lets not forget laptops, the occasional 4x4 tweak, and who knows what else. This means that the staid old AMD socket that never changes will change a lot.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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