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AMD's AM4 socket captured on camera

AMD's AM4 socket captured on camera

AMD's new AM4 socket has been pictured, confirming the need for new cooler mounts and showing off a whopping 1,331 contact points - a first for a pin grid array (PGA) socket. (Image courtesy HWSW.hu.)

The first image of AMD's upcoming Socket AM4, the new single platform for its Bristol Ridge and Zen CPU and APU products, has been leaked, revealing a pin-grid array (PGA) design with 1,331 pin contacts.

Officially unveiled earlier this month, AMD's AM4 represents a new direction for the company: where it had previously split its enthusiast-targeted FX central processing unit (CPU) products onto the AM3+ platform and its mainstream- and value-oriented A-Series accelerated processing unit (APU) parts onto the FM2+ platform, its next-generation CPUs and APUs will share the AM4 platform. The company also promised that both the socket and the chipset used for AM4 would be forwards-compatible, allowing those who buy Bristol Ridge based APU systems at launch to easily upgrade to the more powerful Zen-based Summit Ridge parts when available.

While AMD has been quick to detail the technical prowess of the platform - including the promise of DDR4 memory support, PCI Express Gen. 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen. 2, Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) and SATA Express - it has been quieter on the mechanical design. An image provided to HWSW, however, has provided the public with its first glimpse of the AM4 socket - and it's something of a beast.

Compared to the previous AM3+, the AM4 socket boasts a 41 percent increase in pin count at 1,331 pin contacts - the first time a pin-grid array (PGA) zero-insertion force (ZIF) socket has featured so many pins. While processors from rival Intel boast a higher contact count, the company has long abandoned the PGA format in favour of a land grid array (LGA) design that moves the pins from the processor to the socket. AMD's use of the PGA format is, then, something of a throwback to a bygone era, though it brings with it some advantages: LGA sockets are notorious for having the pins bent by incautious handling or processor installation, something which is harder to achieve - though by no means impossible, as anyone who has dropped a PGA processor can attest - with a PGA layout.

The AM4 image also reveals a design which will require new mounting hardware for coolers, something which has been known since announcements in June from manufacturers that AM4-compatible upgrade kits for existing coolers would be made available.

22 Comments

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Jimbob 19th September 2016, 11:31 Quote
Personally I prefer LGA, while it is easier to damage the socket while putting the chip in or taking out. Once the chip is removed it is extremely durable and can be left to rummage around a box for months no problem. PGA are easy to remove but extremely delicate once they are out and the pins very easy to bend.
Impatience 19th September 2016, 11:47 Quote
It just looks.. Cheap. Having a plastic socket compared to the Intel's metal one. Even a metal cover for the raised back portion would've made it look more durable and premium.
Maki role 19th September 2016, 11:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
Personally I prefer LGA, while it is easier to damage the socket while putting the chip in or taking out. Once the chip is removed it is extremely durable and can be left to rummage around a box for months no problem. PGA are easy to remove but extremely delicate once they are out and the pins very easy to bend.

I do prefer the LGA socket style as well, zero chance of having the CPU get stuck to the cooler when removing it.
jrs77 19th September 2016, 12:19 Quote
I don't care if it's PGA or LGA. The times when I used to frequently swap CPUs are long gone and nowadays I usually never remove it once it's installed.
schmidtbag 19th September 2016, 13:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbob
Personally I prefer LGA, while it is easier to damage the socket while putting the chip in or taking out. Once the chip is removed it is extremely durable and can be left to rummage around a box for months no problem. PGA are easy to remove but extremely delicate once they are out and the pins very easy to bend.
Totally the opposite for me. PGA is so much better, because if you bend a few pins, all you need is a mechanical pencil to fix it. If you bend the pins on a motherboard, you're screwed.

If you intend to use a CPU again after taking it out, you should never let it "rummage around a box for months" even if it's LGA. Why do you think they're shipped with so much protection? Even when you buy CPUs in bulk without heatsinks, they come with static-proof foam padding and a sturdy box.

Regardless of what you get, the protective containers that CPUs come in are small enough that they're worth keeping. Personally, I tend to only keep the AMD containers, since they're big enough to fit just about any CPU and they come with the foam padding if I happen to need that.



Also, I'm surprised people are still complaining about things like a plastic socket. The heatsink will cover it up completely and it's a proven working method - why do you care what it looks like?
bawjaws 19th September 2016, 13:58 Quote
It's six and half a dozen for me between LGA and PGA, personally. Working with either needs a bit of care. Completely agree about not leaving bare CPUs rattling about in a box, though!

I also agree with jrs when it comes to frequent CPU swaps - by the time I come to upgrade a CPU these days, I'm going to be buying a new motherboard (and probably memory too). My days of buying a cheap CPU as a starter and then moving up to a higher-end chip on the same socket are done, I think.
Flibblebot 19th September 2016, 15:47 Quote
I'm the same - I probably go years in between CPU upgrades these days.

I think they could have pushed the boat out and found space for another 6 pins, though...;) :D
mi1ez 19th September 2016, 22:58 Quote
Last CPU I bought was LGA775!

Damn, I need to build a PC!
Journeyer 20th September 2016, 09:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
I think they could have pushed the boat out and found space for another 6 pins, though...;) :D

Agreed!
Those six extra pins wouldn't even have to do anything - they just needed to be there. What a missed opportunity!
MrJay 20th September 2016, 10:11 Quote
Form a warranty point of view I totally get PGA.

~AMD~

User - My system wont POST
AMD - Are the pins on the CPU bent?
User - Yes
AMD - You gone ****ed it then, buy a new CPU....

~Intel~

User - My system wont POST
Intel - *Sigh* Ok send it back for RMA
User - Inserts new CPU into ****ed LGA Socket 'Hey Intel this one is broken too...'
Intel - *Sigh* is your board broken?
User - No its brand new (But I installed the CPU upside down with a hammer)

People are stupid.
Corky42 20th September 2016, 11:05 Quote
Isn't PGA/LGA a cost thing, LGA being cheaper/easier to convert for use as BGA.
Harlequin 20th September 2016, 12:02 Quote
doesn't intel want to go BGA soon anyway?
B1GBUD 20th September 2016, 12:57 Quote
Gimme a Slot 1 anyday.....
schmidtbag 20th September 2016, 12:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Isn't PGA/LGA a cost thing, LGA being cheaper/easier to convert for use as BGA.
As far as I'm aware, LGA is cheaper for the CPU, more expensive for the motherboard. I personally don't find either one easier or harder to use.

BGA is cheaper than both...
Gareth Halfacree 20th September 2016, 13:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
Gimme a Slot 1 anyday.....
YES!

Fun fact: I used to have a Pentium III Slot 1 server which would only boot from cold if you hot-plugged the CPU. No, really. Hit the power button with the CPU seated safely in the motherboard, jack all happened. Remove the CPU, hit the power button, then quickly slam the CPU home: instant boot. Never had any problems other than that, and 'cos I only ever shut it down once in a blue moon I just kind of ignored the problem.

Wish I'd kept that motherboard now.
schmidtbag 20th September 2016, 13:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
YES!

Fun fact: I used to have a Pentium III Slot 1 server which would only boot from cold if you hot-plugged the CPU. No, really. Hit the power button with the CPU seated safely in the motherboard, jack all happened. Remove the CPU, hit the power button, then quickly slam the CPU home: instant boot. Never had any problems other than that, and 'cos I only ever shut it down once in a blue moon I just kind of ignored the problem.

Wish I'd kept that motherboard now.

How did you manage to figure that out, and except for the comedic novelty, why would you ever want to keep something like that?
none4you 20th September 2016, 15:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
How did you manage to figure that out, and except for the comedic novelty, why would you ever want to keep something like that?
NAS, Local WEB Server, Firewall, SAMBA, Print Server, PBX/VoIP Server, Streaming Server. .... it is rock stable and can run 24/365.
schmidtbag 20th September 2016, 15:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by none4you
NAS, Local WEB Server, Firewall, SAMBA, Print Server, PBX/VoIP Server, Streaming Server. .... it is rock stable and can run 24/365.
I wouldn't consider a CPU that needs to be removed in order to boot properly rock stable...

I also wouldn't consider a Pentium III build good to act as a server. I know it will perform all those tasks you mentioned just fine, but a Raspberry Pi could do all of those things in a much smaller space, in complete silence, with a fraction of the wattage.
Vault-Tec 20th September 2016, 15:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
Gimme a Slot 1 anyday.....

Slot 2 was better. I always used to have two :D
.//TuNdRa 20th September 2016, 19:16 Quote
Bugger. I was hoping they'd keep the mounting proportions so I could slap my Archon on without any fuss, I might have to look at getting a kit - I have no idea if Thermalright's later Archon kits even work for the original!
Gareth Halfacree 20th September 2016, 19:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
How did you manage to figure that out, and except for the comedic novelty, why would you ever want to keep something like that?
Probably by shouting "work, you vicious *******" at it while riving various components in frustration.

As to why to keep it, mostly so I could show people who would otherwise never believe me!
.//TuNdRa 20th September 2016, 19:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Probably by shouting "work, you vicious *******" at it while riving various components in frustration.

As to why to keep it, mostly so I could show people who would otherwise never believe me!

It's amazing how many solutions are stumbled upon by application of Percussive Maintenance and brute force bad language.
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