It's been a while since we've discussed AMD motherboards at AnandTech—over the next few months, I am hoping to bring them back. To start, we have our first Desktop Llano product on the test bed—the ASRock A75 Extreme6. Unfortunately, what I've been testing is still 'a work in progress'—so there are issues with the BIOS and design still to be decided. For now I'll let you know what I've found, in terms of performance and design. But when the full board comes my way with release information, I'll post a full review.

The desktop Llano series is the mainstream jewel in the AMD calendar. As Anand has discussed, the Fusion APU architecture of AMDs plan is split between the Brazos platform (with Ontario and Zacate) of sub 18W processors with Bobcat cores, and the Lynx platform (with Llano) for 25-100W processors. The former has 1-2 Bobcat cores, whereas with Llano we're dealing with 2-4 K10 cores.

In terms of motherboard design, the Llano processors absorb any form of Northbridge, and the motherboard will use a series of 'Fusion Controller Hubs', codename Hudson. The desktop version will use the Hudson-D series Fusion Controller Hubs, with the A75 Desktop 'Lynx' models under the Hudson-D3 header. The main selling points will be the six native SATA 6 Gbps ports and the four native USB 3.0 ports.

The Lynx platform comes up with some interesting points: hybrid CrossfireX with any 6-series GPU and the APU, native USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gbps, and dual channel DDR3-1866 native support. Here's some comparisons with P67:

  Hudson-D3 P67
Codename Lynx (Desktop) Sandy Bridge
SATA 6 Gbps + 3 Gbps 6 + 0 2 + 4
Memory Support DDR3-1866 DDR3-1333 / 2133 OC
PCIe 16x or 8x/8x 16x or 8x/8x
RAID 0,1,10 0,1,5,10
USB 3.0 + 2.0 + 1.1 4 + 10 + 2 0 + 14 + 0
Display Output VGA + 1 dedicated /
4 shared (HDMI/DVI/DP) from APU
VGA + 3 HDMI/DVI/DP
FIS-Based Switching No Yes
Overclocking Clock Multiplier

For displays, two four-lane interfaces are dedicated for Display Port 1.1, DVI and HDMI—but various combinations aren't possible:

AMD are keen to point out the power consumption curves generated by the gating of the processor and system, depending on various sleep states—citing a one second recovery from S3.

But alas, most of the hype regarding Fusion and Llano is CPU based. In terms of the motherboard, it's up to the designers to get creative, so let's take a look at the ASRock A75 Extreme6.

A75 Extreme 6 Preview
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  • marc1000 - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Ian, I believe that in the "release to market" boards, the memory speed should be configured according to the official maximum speed of each platform. if that means 1333 for intel and 1800 (or whatever the final spec may be) for AMD, then this is the way it should be tested. maybe AMD was aiming for higher speed to compensate for the low number of channels. ;) Reply
  • KaarlisK - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Seconded.
    If a platform supports DDR3-1866, it is an actual advantage of the platform and it should be used.
    There is the question of cost, though.
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Noted for the future. It's always interesting to hear what other people think on the issue.

    Ian
    Reply
  • semo - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Do AMD motherboards fully support UEFI like this ASRock? Reply
  • mino - Thursday, June 16, 2011 - link

    UEFI support is PURELY motherboard vendor's choice.

    It has nothing to do with the CPU, be it AMD, Intel or VIA for that matter.
    Reply
  • mino - Thursday, June 16, 2011 - link

    Err, better wording would be "has UEFI", as the board either uses UEFI or BIOS loader.

    It does not "support" either. It contains/uses them.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    How many PCIe lanes does the southbridge have in total? If it's low enough (eg the same 4 as the mobile part + 4 on the CPU), then the 3 legacy PCI slots might simply reflect not being able to add anything else?

    The ethernet and additional sata controllers would take two; and if the firewire controller is PCIe instead of PCI that would take a 3rd, leaving only the 5 used in the 1x and 3rd 16x(phy) slot.

    Alternately, are they using AMD audio or a 3rd party controller? The latter would take a connection as well.
    Reply
  • mino - Thursday, June 16, 2011 - link

    Exactly. Reply
  • glugglug - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    Is there an AMD equivalent of QuickSync? To me, that is the biggest plus of SandyBridge right now. Reply
  • Shinobi_III - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - link

    I hope there's some sort of safety here, resetting that would suck while running.. Reply

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