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Advanced Micro Devices said that its next-generation desktop processors code-named Zambezi will use socket AM3+ platforms, which will be backwards compatible with the firm's existing AM3 products. While the latter is an advantage for the platform, it may be a disadvantage for eight-core processors based on Bulldozer micro-architecture.

"The existing G34 and C32 server infrastructure will support the new Bulldozer-based server products. In order for AMD’s desktop offering to fully leverage the capabilities of Bulldozer, an enhanced AM3+ socket will be introduced that supports Bulldozer and is backward-compatible with our existing AM3 CPU offerings," an official from AMD said in an interview with Planet3DNow web-site.

Apparently, it was possible for AMD to make Bulldozer microprocessors compatible with existing AM3 infrastructure, but in order to do that, the company would have to sacrifice certain important features of the new core.

"When we initially set out on the path to Bulldozer we were hoping for AM3 compatibility, but further along the process we realized that we had a choice to make based on some of the features that we wanted to bring with Bulldozer. We could either provide AM3 support and lose some of the capabilities of the new Bulldozer architecture or, we could choose the AM3+ socket which would allow the Bulldozer-base Zambezi to have greater performance and capability," the official said.

The compatibility with older microprocessors allows AMD to simplify transition to the new micro-architecture and process design since the new AM3+ platform will support inexpensive chips from day one. However, such compatibility also means that AMD Zambezi processors will only support dual-channel memory controller. Considering the fact that all modern high-end Intel Core i7 processors with up to six cores feature triple-channel memory controller, it is unclear how AMD plans to "feed" eight cores of Zambezi with dul-channel DDR3 without creating bottlenecks.

AMD Bulldozer-based processor code-named Zambezi will have up to eight cores along with a new TurboCore dynamic acceleration technology. Thanks to the new micro-architecture the chip promises to be faster than existing AMD products.

Tags: AMD, Zambezi, Thuban, Bulldozer

Discussion

Comments currently: 11
Discussion started: 08/27/10 12:26:53 PM
Latest comment: 09/26/10 02:06:52 PM
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1. 
"Apparently, it was possible for AMD to make Bulldozer microprocessors compatible with existing AM3+ infrastructure, but in order to do that, the company would have to sacrifice certain important features of the new core."

Should not be "AM3" instead "AM3+"?
AM3 is the existing infrastructure, AM3+ is upcoming.
0 0 [Posted by: KonradK  | Date: 08/27/10 12:26:53 PM]
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2. 
i think AMD should make two versions for two sockets
much like they did for Socket 939 and Socket 754
Socket 754 cpus had single channel memory controller i belive

makes good sense, that way people with AM3 motherboard can upgrade to a Dual Channel Version and those with new motherboards based on a new chipset and socket can use tripe or quad channel version, and everything can be based on the same design as they can disable the memory channels that are defect much like cores on the AM3 versions
0 0 [Posted by: wiak  | Date: 08/28/10 01:30:21 AM]
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AM3+ is dual channel DDR3. It will apparently support dual channel DDR3 1866/2000/2133 speeds natively. Of course some motherboard manufacturers will support ram speeds up to 2600 and beyond.
0 0 [Posted by: dizzystuff  | Date: 08/29/10 08:28:43 PM]
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3. 
AMD promise that AM3 CPU will work on new AM3+ socket that is enough for AMD users to give less money for upgrade.If AMD want to rule in high end market CPU ,quad channel memory system is welcome ,we already know that Bulldozer will have 4 modules with 8 core and that is reason why quad channel is welcome.Everything is depend on what market want.For example we already know that Intel users still use Lga 775 socket (65 % Intel CPU market)old C2D or C2Q CPU ,so AMD must offer them cheaper upgrade than Intel.
0 0 [Posted by: Blackcode  | Date: 08/28/10 07:05:26 AM]
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:rrrofl: Physically you cant put quad-channel memory on 940-pin or so socket. And IF 'dozzer wannabe backward compatible with AM3 it can manage only two channel setup! Nothing new to end users -- great business for board manufacturers.
0 0 [Posted by: OmegaHuman  | Date: 08/28/10 05:00:00 PM]
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4. 
I always thought that damn boards are usually overpriced comparing onboard features but now, when amd following the steps of big bro intel, they're simply silly as intel was. And probably late to the feast with squat king of processors. It's not Nehalem or SandyBridge that you "CAN" explain hefty prices and demode chipsets after half season.

TNX AGAIN AMD for yet another proof that you you're business aren't any better than intel. And that you're not even nearly "green" as you're claim to be after all.
0 0 [Posted by: OmegaHuman  | Date: 08/28/10 05:02:15 PM]
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Words from AMD:
When we initially set out on the path to Bulldozer we were hoping for AM3 compatibility, but further along the process we realized that we had a choice to make based on some of the features that we wanted to bring with Bulldozer. We could either provide AM3 support and lose some of the capabilities of the new Bulldozer architecture or, we could choose the AM3+ socket which would allow the Bulldozer-base Zambezi to have greater performance and capability.
The majority of the computer buying public will not upgrade their processors, but enthusiasts do. When we did the analysis it was clear that the customers who were most likely to upgrade an AM3 motherboard to a Bulldozer would want the features and capability that would only be delivered in the new AM3+ sockets.
0 0 [Posted by: Blackcode  | Date: 08/29/10 09:44:12 AM]
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"TNX AGAIN AMD for yet another proof that you you're business aren't any better than intel."

Dude AMD need money to survive. They haven't been making a lot for quite a while. I think AMD are making the best decision under the circumstances. Trust me it will all be worth it in the end.

0 0 [Posted by: dizzystuff  | Date: 08/29/10 08:21:37 PM]
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5. 
"When we initially set out on the path to Bulldozer we were hoping for AM3 compatibility, but further along the process we realized that we had a choice to make based on some of the features that we wanted to bring with Bulldozer. We could either provide AM3 support and lose some of the capabilities of the new Bulldozer architecture or, we could choose the AM3+ socket which would allow the Bulldozer-base Zambezi to have greater performance and capability," the official said."

Despite the pleadings of all the fanbois, I think AMD have done the right thing here. I have an AM3 board and as much as i'd like to just have a "drop in" bulldozer upgrade I tend to think in the long term this is the right decision.
Lets face it AM3 socket is dead and to be honest was very underwhelming (boy am I glad im not one of the chumps who got a 8 series chipset!) I certainly wouldn't want some handicapped bulldozer chip chugging along on AM3.
Anyway this is finally some good news, now I can plan my Bulldozer build around the 990FX AM3+ chipset with some good DDR3 2500 and maybe a 6800 series card (or 2) and (finally) a 64 bit O/S!

0 0 [Posted by: dizzystuff  | Date: 08/29/10 08:06:33 PM]
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6. 
"Considering the fact that all modern high-end Intel Core i7 processors with up to six cores feature triple-channel memory controller, it is unclear how AMD plans to "feed" eight cores of Zambezi with dul-channel DDR3 without creating bottlenecks."

with high frequency/bandwidth ddr3. and that's it.
2 or 3 channel makes almost no difference on the desktop market which the i7's clearly demonstrate.
the 3 channels were added by intel for the server market (because all sockets need to be able to access all memory, requiering more bandwidth), but AMD has got quad-channel on that market already.
dual channel with a high frequency will be plenty to feed 8-cors.
0 0 [Posted by: Countess  | Date: 08/30/10 12:48:01 AM]
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I am total agreement with you and have been pushing AMD to go to more memory channels.

They desperately need to deliver a higher power integrated memory port as well so we can use higher speed memory without worrying about burning up the chip.

4 channels seems logical for an 8 core CPU (4 banks of 2)
0 0 [Posted by: fdunn  | Date: 09/26/10 02:06:52 PM]
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