According to ASRock, AM3+ CPUs may become unstable if plugged into an AM3 socket.
Motherboard maker ASRock has published a guide to AM3+ motherboards
that not only lets slip a few details about AMD's new AM3+ socket, but also the CPUs that will fit in it.
One key concern, according to the guide, is the fact that a Socket AM3+ CPU fitted to a Socket AM3 motherboard ‘may not be stable enough to provide reliable computing.
It seems that while Socket AM3+ processors should be backwards compatible with any Socket AM3 motherboard that has the necessary BIOS update, the reality might not be that simple.
ASRock provides some details on the reasons for this, pointing out that the new CPUs and sockets support a 3.4MHz ‘Serial VID’ rather than the 400KHz frequency currently used. According to ASRock, this provides ‘a faster link between CPU and power controller,'
so that AM3+ motherboards 'can support better power management and power saving.
The claims about the power-efficiency of the new socket and CPU are further reinforced by ASRock's use of a more efficient loadline design. However, this seems to be an ASRock-only technology, as the info site states that it's designed to not only ‘meet AMD’s requirements,'
, but also to provide an efficient power supply that will result in '11.8% better CPU power saving.
According to ASRock's guide, the maximum electrical current required for Socket AM3+ CPUs will rise to 145A, compared with the 110A of AM3 chips. The company also says that the 32 per cent rise in current will be partnered with a 22 per cent decrease in signal noise.
Whether or not the increase in amperage will be met with an increase in TDP (Thermal Design Power) isn’t clear – if the voltage of the CPU goes down, the power draw could remain the same, as Volts x Amps = Watts. However, it looks as though ASRock will be using a modified mounting clip called the CCR (Combo Cooler Retention Module) to improve the cooling of the CPU’s power chokes by 5.4o
C. However, it looks as though ASRock merely cut the sides off a standard square retention bracket to create the CCR, though, which is backed up by the claims that ‘the CCR is backward compatible with the old AM3/AM2+ CPU cooler as well.
ASRock details nine different motherboards – both ATX and micro-ATX in size – that sport the new Socket AM3+ CPU socket. Curiously, they all use current-generation AMD 8-series chipsets and 7- and 8-series Southbridges, so the new AM3+ CPUs don't look as though they're going to be accompanied by a new range of chipsets.
Were you expecting a new AMD chipset to accompany AM3+, or are you just looking forward to getting hold of some new AMD kit? Let us know in the forums