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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  • Den - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    Both the ASUS A8N-E and A8V support the E4 (in addition to E3 and E6) stepping according to AMD's page though your article just lists E3 and E6. See cut and paste below...

    Asus
    A8N-E
    # 2.0 ATX nVidia nForce4 Ultra Cool'n'Quiet
    # PCIe™
    # Supports up to processor stepping: E3
    # Supports up to processor stepping: E4
    # Supports up to processor stepping: E6
    Reply
  • xeizo - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    You forgot to mention in the text that there are indeed older K8T800Pro/agp-boards that supports dual-core, in fact they are on your list, like the Abit AV8 2.0 and the Soltek K8TPro-939 .... Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    > Date: June 28th, 2005
    > Topic: Business
    > Manufacturer: 3Com/U.S. Robotics
    > Author: Wesley Fink

    Did someone do too much copy/pasting?
    BTW, _new isn't a valid target for an anchor.
    Reply
  • Houdani - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    Is there any value with including which SFF designs are X2 / Rev E compatible?

    I'm fairly certain the Shuttle SN25P does support the X2.
    Reply
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    Just as a note, Gigabyte released the BIOS update for the GA-K8N Ultra-9 nForce 4 motherboard today. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    $6 - While AMD did not officially support DDR400 with 4 dimms on earlier Athlon 64, the fact is almost every board we tested ran fine at DDR400 with 4 dimms. Check our earlier roundups. The boards that would NOT do DDR400 with 4 dimms stood out, since most would. Also 2x1GB has never been a problem at 1T in our testing.

    #7 and others - It's good to hear there are new BIOS' to support x2 on nForce3. The websites did not list any nF3 with x2 support when we suveyed the last few days, but readers with nF3 boards will be happy to know some are becoming available.

    #10 AMD says that if the board supports Rev. E the X2 chip should run in single core mode to allow BIOS update. If the board does NOT support Rev. E chips you will need a new BIOS chip or an earlier A64 to flash.
    Reply
  • arswihart - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    this is what one user that I know of reported when he installed an X2 in an Epox 9nda3+ (NF3) mobo. Reply
  • elpheer - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    Nice article.

    I'm unclear on one particular point though; am I correct in assuming that if you mount an X2 on a motherboad that has an outdated BIOS, it will successfully boot on just 1 core, thus allowing an OS installation?

    This in-case there is no immediate second hand PC available to make a BIOS disk to flash..
    Reply
  • bigtoe36 - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    #6

    2x1gig dimms have been doing 1T for a while already with winchester and Clawhammer proving easliy capable of supporting the feature, it was however not guaranteed.

    4x double sided will always be 2t in my books, but E die seems to allow some good overclocking so much of the speed can be clawed back.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    #5 - You're Correct and this has been updated. Reply

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