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Asustek Computer, the world's largest maker of mainboards, announced on Wednesday that select current mainboards with AM3 socket will also support next-generation AMD FX-series "Bulldozer" microprocessors after a BIOS upgrade. A similar move will likely be made by other motherboard suppliers, which will prove that current platforms can technically support Bulldozer chips.

"Asus today announced the release of the industry's first AM3+ CPU enabled motherboard solution based on the existing AMD 8-series chipsets. Current owners of an AM3-based board will make their AMD 8-series motherboards compatible with the latest AM3+ CPUs with a simple BIOS update from the official Asus website," a statement by Asus reads.

At present all of Asustek's mainboards powered by AMD 890FX and AMD 890GX can support future-generation AMD FX-series "Bulldozer" central processing units (CPUs) with BIOS upgrade to beta version 3012. Going forward, Asus plans to release M5A-series of mainboards featuring AM3+ socket as well as current AMD 8-series chipset.

Officially, AMD's next-generation code-named Zambezi desktop chips come in AM3+ form-factor and are compatible with AM3+ motherboards presumably powered by AMD 9-series core-logic sets.

"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," an official from AMD said back in mid-2010.

AMD FX "Bulldozer" CPUs do have a number of things that AMD's current platforms lack, for example, Turbo Core 2.0 dynamic acceleration technology, new power saving capabilities and other features. However, in case they can be disabled issues, then a lot of people may prefer to stick to their old setup and just install new processor as it saves time and money.

Asus is not the first company to announce AM3+ mainboards based on AMD 8-series chipsets, so in the end this solution could be officially supported by AMD. As a result, in case AM3+ sockets are not much different from AM3, other makers of mainboards will also follow Asus and will also release BIOS updates enabling operation of AM3+ processors on current platforms.

Tags: ASUS, AM3+, Bulldozer, Zambezi, Phenom

Discussion

Comments currently: 8
Discussion started: 03/16/11 06:37:43 PM
Latest comment: 03/20/11 05:13:38 AM
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1. 
I thought the pinouts for the upcoming AM3+ CPUs are slightly different from current AM3 sockets?
0 0 [Posted by: RtFusion  | Date: 03/16/11 06:37:43 PM]
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2. 
If this unexpected backwards compatibility has to be paid for by sacrificing some Bulldozer features and performance, AMD should put a stop to this ASAP.

AMD can't let mobo makers compromise its flagship Bulldozer.

And yes, AM3 CPU is supposed to fit into AM3+ socket, but not AM3+ CPU into AM3 socket.
0 0 [Posted by: BernardP  | Date: 03/16/11 06:50:42 PM]
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What do you expect to limit the performance of Bulldozer CPUs in AM3 boards?
0 0 [Posted by: Martian  | Date: 03/16/11 08:21:53 PM]
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Considering what is said in the above article, I would expect compromises with Turbo and power mamagement.

We should know soon enough, at the latest when BD is released in June. But AMD should react to this promptly.

I wouldn't buy an AM3 mobo today assuming that BD will run on it without compromises: I would wait for AM3+. But of course, if I had an AM3 mobo, I would be glad to know I can put a BD CPU on on it.

Could this be a way to try to boost sales of the current AM3 lineup for the next few months? Many AMD enthusiast seem to have put any upgrade on hold while waiting for Bulldozer.
0 0 [Posted by: BernardP  | Date: 03/17/11 04:33:07 AM]
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I totally disagree with you! Are you envy to people who already paid a premium price for an ASUS mobo? I don't need turbo core or some other features - I'm going to overclock the cpu anyway. So why I have to pay for the same mainboard with the same chipset again?
PS. I have an ASUS M4A89GTD Pro.
0 0 [Posted by: Whitesnake  | Date: 03/17/11 01:56:27 PM]
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The only reason AMD needs to stop this is because it may lower sales of new AM3+ motherboards.

I have an 890GX board made by Gigabyte. (The UD3H). I hope Gigabyte follows suit with their 890 series boards.
0 0 [Posted by: MonkRX  | Date: 03/20/11 01:23:43 AM]
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Why should they stop this? This is a handy upgrade path for those that don't want to buy a new CPU and motherboard at the same time.

0 0 [Posted by: GavinT  | Date: 03/20/11 05:13:38 AM]
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3. 
I will buy an AM3+ motherboard when I upgrade to a Bulldozer CPU but I'm glad that you don't have to.
0 0 [Posted by: bbo320  | Date: 03/16/11 07:25:20 PM]
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