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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  • arswihart - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    actually here's a link to a foreign thread that has links to the new BIOS's:

    http://www.msi-forum.de/thread.php?threadid=17206&...

    Did this completely escape you Anandtech?

    Also, I've read the F6 Bios for the Gigabyte K8NS Ultra and the F9 Bios for the K8NSNXP give X2 support. Haven't read any results from them though.
    Reply
  • Noubourne - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    Wasn't part of the issue with 4 DIMMS that not only would you be stuck with 2T, but also with DDR333 with all four slots populated?

    Wasn't part of it also that 2x1GB wouldn't do 1T either? I am fairly certain SD and Venice are both capable of doing 1T with 2x1GB. That is important to mention for people looking at 2GB of RAM, but not necessarily OC.
    Reply
  • larson0699 - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    "We also had done some testing with the early Winchester and Newcastle chips which were based on the 90nm production process instead of the 130nm process used for clawhammer."

    Newcastle IS a 130nm part.

    "If the BIOS doesn't support rev E (In other words, you may have a good board, but the BIOS is pretty old), you will likely need to install a pre-rev E (AKA-130nm) AMD processor to flash the BIOS."

    Misleading. Winchester is also pre-Rev.E and is only 90nm.
    And that was from one of their own guys.

    #2, don't you fret. The mass of nForce3 owners raises too high a demand for the makers _not_ to do something about it. nForce3 isn't at EOL simply because of PCI-e; what matters is that it's socket 939 (still as much a current platform as nForce4's 939) and they have customers that they don't want to lose.
    Reply
  • Viditor - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    The Final Words link in the dropdown menu is broken...it takes you to a search page. Reply
  • arswihart - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    A couple nf3 boards have already made BIOS's available (MSI and Gigabyte), while DFI has promised support on its upcoming nf3 board. Epox support looks likely as well in the near future, as per Epox Tech.

    This is all based on what I've read, I never tried tracking down any of the actual BIOS files because I don't own an MSI or Gigabyte board. But I've heard they're out there.
    Reply
  • matthewfoley - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    BOOOO! No 939 nForce3 x2 compatibility!?!? MSI get off your asses and release a bios. That is rediculous. Reply
  • larry89 - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    ^.^ nice Reply

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