AMD Motherboards: Processor Support

Everyone was pleased to hear that the new AMD Venice and San Diego processors would work fine in their Socket 939 motherboards. In many cases, however, a BIOS update is required to support these latest Revision E Athlon 64 chips, which are based on the 90nm manufacturing process and support SSE3 extensions.



Then Venice/San Diego got extended with the Dual-Core X2 processors. The good news is that, once again, any Socket 939 motherboard can theoretically support the new x2 processors with a BIOS upgrade. This was certainly a welcome contrast from the Intel dual-core announcement which required new chipsets and motherboards for dual-core to function. However, since the official launch of X2 at Computex earlier this month, confusion seems to reign as to which boards support Dual-Core processors.

To try to shed some light on the current BIOS revisions and processor compatibility we took a closer look at the state of x2 processor support among motherboards. In many ways the adoption of x2 is faster than we expected, but there are still gaping holes in x2 and Rev. E processor support. Hopefully with this guide and a little research you can find the perfect motherboard home for your new Revision E or x2 Dual-Core Athlon 64 processor.

The Processor Factor
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  • Anton74 - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    Actually the ECS KN1 also seems to have nForce4 Ultra, not nForce4 as listed?

    http://www.ecsusa.com/products/kn1_spec.html
    Reply
  • Anton74 - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    #40 / Wesley,

    I've noticed that out of all the nForce4 equipped boards on the list of supporting motherboards, there's only 1 with the nForce4 Ultra chipset, the Asus A8N-E (which by the way does also support rev. E4 according to the linked AMD page). The vast majority is either nForce4 of nForce4 SLI. Coincidence?

    The ones that do support E3/E4/E6 are all some flavor of nForce4.

    I was looking at an nForce4 Ultra board, with a dual core either now or in the future, so I'm very much looking forward to that roundup before making a decision. Looks like I may have to consider other nForce4 flavors as well. I'm also hoping to figure out if I can at least make the thing run long enough to do a BIOS update if needed, otherwise I might be in trouble, with no other Athlon 64's at hand. It's hard to tell what BIOS version one can expect when buying from an online retailer.

    Why is it by the way that others, such as the EPoX 9NPA* Ultra which I was considering, do claim revision E support with a BIOS update on their web site, but didn't make it onto AMD's list? Do they not fully support the new CPU's as claimed?

    Great article by the way.
    Reply
  • BPB - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    From what I see on MSI's site the RS480M2-IL is in testing for X2 support, they do not say it is supported. Should I chance it? Reply
  • Markfw900 - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    I have bios 1.95 on my neo2 with a 4400+ working perfectly. Its a beta, and not on the MSI site. Duvie found it for me. Reply
  • T2k - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    On NF3 concerns: my NF3 Pro-based Gigabyte GA-K8NSNXP-939 is fine with X2 after you flashed the latest BIOS, confirmed by Gigabyte. Reply
  • nserra - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    I think its a little risky using the 1T rate with 4 banks, even if works "fine", AMD (or the mobo maker) cant afford to lose some stability even if slightly. Reply
  • bupkus - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    Link to next article, "A Look at Solaris 10 and Sun's Dual Core Fire V40z", is brokern. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    Zebo - Actually I'm finishing an nF4 Ultra roundup that should post in the next few days. The Abit Fatal1ty AN8 is one of the boards in the roundup. Reply
  • arswihart - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    Zebo - Think again. On AOAforums, the user LBJGH recently had a discussion with the Epox support staff, who said, concerning the new BIOS with X2 support for the 9nda3+, "we should have it ready by next week."

    Read this quote and the whole thread here:
    http://www.aoaforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=31...
    Reply
  • Zebo - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    Thanks a lot wes, great fact finding mission..

    It looks like I'll finally have to upgrade to PCIe since my epox 9NDA does'nt support dual core. Do you know if ASUS has fixed thier 1T cmd issue at high HTT?? Also would you guys review ABIT AN8 Ultra as it seems to be the only passive chipset design and at xtreme guys seem to be hitting 300+ HTT even so. Only thing I don't like is mem proximity in dual channel which makes cooling difficult..
    Reply

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