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New Processor Socket: Socket AM2+

Unfortunately, because of the new HyperTransport 3.0 bus, Cool’n’Quiet 2.0 technology and new memory controller features AMD had to modify the processor socket design. Phenom processors should formally fit into the new sockets called Socket AM2+. Only in the mainboards using the new type of processor socket, Phenom can truly show its potential. The good news is though that Phenom CPUs are also compatible with old Socket AM2 mainboards: there are no dramatic mechanical or electrical differences between Socket AM2 and Socket AM2+. However, when you install Phenom into old mainboards, it will lose some of its features, such as DDR2-1066 SDRAM support, individual voltage adjustment for processor cores and memory controller, and HyperTransport 3.0 support. Of course, it will have its negative impact on the performance and power consumption rates, but will allow to easily modify old platforms built with single-core and dual-core Socket AM2 CPUs.

Phenom Family Today

Phenom lineup currently includes two models: Phenom 9500 and Phenom 9600. The table below shows the specifications of these processors:

CPU

Clock frequency

TDP

L2 cache

L3 cache

HyperTransport frequency

Phenom 9600

2.3 GHz

95W

4 x 512KB

2MB

3.6 GHz

Phenom 9500

2.2 GHz

95W

4 x 512KB

2MB

3.6 GHz

After December 19, 2007 Phenom 9600 2.3GHz is going to be available in two modifications: besides the regular CPU AMD is also offering the so-called Phenom 9600 “Black Edition” aimed at overclocking fans and featuring an unlocked clock frequency multiplier. Actual retail price for Phenom 9500 and 9600 processors are quite democratic overall and rest at around $200 and $245 respectively.

Further frequency growth will be tied up to introduction of the new CPU core stepping. It should not only increase the frequency potential, but is also expected to have some of the currently existing bugs eliminated. In particular, it should eliminate the notorious “ERRATUM 298” bug in the TLB block of L3 cache that can theoretically cause the system hang under heavy workload and in case virtualization technology is activated.

In Q1 2008 the company is planning to launch Phenom 9700 with 2.4GHz speed and $300 price tag and Phenom 9900 running at 2.6GHz and priced at less than $350. Moreover, Phenom 9900 will not only work at higher frequency but will also feature faster HyperTransport bus (it should hit 4GHz speed) and faster memory controller. However, higher clock speeds will inevitable affect the processor heat dissipation. The preliminary data suggest that Phenom 9700 TDP will be set at 125W, and Phenom 9900 TDP – at the maximum allowed for Socket AM2+ 140W.

 
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