AMD Motherboards: Processor Support

by Wesley Fink on 6/28/2005 1:00 PM EST
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  • arswihart - Friday, July 08, 2005 - link

    epox has release official dual-core BIOS's for the 9npa+ and 9npa SLI Reply
  • leexgx - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    -mood mode on-
    silly post system
    -mood mode off(ish)- :)

    why are you lot setting your self on fire when its only been out for an week or so every board by the end of the month will get its bios updates put up (well the ones that do realy support it)
    Reply
  • leexgx - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • OldDummy - Monday, July 04, 2005 - link

    The FN95 V3 motherboard works with the X2. This is the motherboard in the SN95G5 V3,It works well. Reply
  • SUOrangeman - Saturday, July 02, 2005 - link

    The Shuttle released a new BIOS for the SN25P on 21 June. The linked README doesn't refer to this new release (yet), but I'm hoping that it has something to do with X2 support.

    http://global.shuttle.com/Download/Download_File.a...
    Reply
  • OldDummy - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    Shuttle SN95G5 V3 has problems with the X2 but a bios is in the works.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    The chart on page 4 has been updated based on information sent in by readers - Thank you. If we could verify the BIOS existed and claimed x2 support by the mfg, then it was added to the list.

    If we have overlooked any x2 BIOS please let us know. The motherboard supported, BIOS rev date, and where the BIOS can be downloaded would help us in verifying the information.
    Reply
  • porn loader - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    The new DFI UT LP NF3 Ultra-D supports rev E/x2 cpus right out of the box.. Reply
  • 100proof - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    I don't believe this question has been asked yet. In refference to the comments concerning the addiotion of 433, 466, and 500 DDR speeds for Revision E processors, which motherboards currently have bios releases that support these speeds?
    Reply
  • ceefka - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    Likewise. a very useful article. Reply
  • 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
  • PrinceGaz - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    #32- those TWINX memory products are matched pairs of 1GB modules, which gives a total of 2GB. They are not individual 2GB modules. AFAIK all of the 2GB modules available are registered ECC such as Crucial's 2GB PC3200 module CT25672Y40B. That makes them unsuitable for A64's, but fine for Opterons (which is what you would expect as modules of that size are only likely to be used in servers).

    I'm almost certain that A64 Rev.E DOES support four DIMMs at 1T command rate, but ONLY if single-sided. Being able to use 1T command-rate is dependent mainly on the load placed on the memory bus, ie the number of memory chips on the channel. Two double-sided modules per channel is 32 chips which is never going to run at 1T.

    #27- all 1GB modules are double-sided, it's highly unlikely that your freind with four 1GB modules is running at 1T, or if he is that they are running error-free. I suggest he lets Memtest86 loop through all its tests overnight as it will probably report errors (test 5 in particular).
    Reply
  • smn198 - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    #28 Wesley - I also would love to see the performance of dual core with the new async. memory speeds. I imagine that dual core would benefit dual core more than the FX57 but I'm not sure how bandwidth starved a dual channel X2 is.

    "AMD has also added additional "hidden" features in the AMD on-processor memory controller. Additional asynchronous ratios are available at 433, 466, and 500 memory speed on boards that implement the necessary code to access these memory controller features. These options should be available with any Revision E chip if the manufacturer implements the controller option read in BIOS."
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    anyone want to make a wiki for processor support here for AMD stuff? Reply
  • justly - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    "If we overlooked boards and/or BIOS revisions that belong in our Supported list please let us know."

    The Asrock K8Upgrade and Combo-Z also have X2 BIOS support.
    Reply
  • Slaimus - Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - link

    What about single sided sticks? I have two single sided 512MB sticks in my current system specifically to allow two more to be added. Reply
  • jiulemoigt - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    Your not actully saying the same thing 4 gigs ram != 4 sticks of ram, there are 2gb sticks just not many:
    TWINX2048-3200PRO 2048MB 3-3-3-8 2x184
    TWINX2048-3200C2 2048MB 2-3-3-6* 2x184
    TWINX2048-3200C2PT 2048MB 2-3-3-6* 2x184
    TWINX2048-3200 2048MB 3-3-3-8 2x184
    TWINX2048-3200PT 2048MB 3-3-3-8 2x184

    gettting 1T commands out of any of those sticks on the other hand may simply not be possible, the problem was not the size of the memory but shared latency, with four sticks you have four over lapping fields that have to line up really nice. With 2gb sticks you only have two fields :)
    Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    "Unfortunately the long-rumored 1T Command Rate with Rev. E AMD processors appears to have been just a rumor. We could not run 4 matched dimms at 1T in a motherboard with Rev. E/x2 support. Four dimms still required a 2T Command Rate."


    Doesn't surprise me... thats the price you pay for the amd platform. However its pretty much the only bad part.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    #27 - People who know memory also tell me no 2T with 4 dimms, so I am skeptical of your friend's claim. Sandra appears to report 1T when it is not really reporting Command Rate which confuses many. I know Oskar's BIOS' for every memory - I believe last count was more than 55 BIOS revisions for the DFI nF4. That's not the issue. The 4 dimms 1T would be a function of the mem controller on the new Rev E and not have a lot to do with the board. The new Rev E mem controller is indeed a better overclocker than the earlier 0n-CPU controllers.

    Reply
  • KeithDust2000 - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    Wesley, thanks a lot for the informative and prompt reply, I can´t wait to see the results!

    :)
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    KeithDust2000 - Wish I had an answer to that. I'm still waiting for a FX57 and/or 4800+ from AMD for our motherboard reviews. When supplies ease a bit and I get the CPUs I'll include some asynch benchmarks in a future review. The difference will not be dramatic, but with DDR500 available at pretty fast timings these days, you will get a bit of a boost from a 400 CPU running at stock and driving memory at DDR500 or 533.

    Only a few boards implement the new memory options correctly, and that may be why a lot of reviewers overlooked them. AMD didn't advertise the new ratios in their press kit and most weren't looking for them.
    Reply
  • DEMO24 - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    I know someone with a venice chip, and 4 gigs of ram in a DFI SLI-dr board and hes running 1T. I dunno why yours doesn't work for you. There are specific BIOS dates in the 5/10 form for different kinds of memory. Maybe that would fix it. Reply
  • KeithDust2000 - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    Wesley, I mean why are there no benchmarks available
    using the new capabilities? I´m very interested in that!
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    #24 - The FX57 is also 90mm Rev. E. We mention several times in this article that the new Rev. E memory controller adds additional asynchronous memory speeds to DDR500. This is not just a feature of FX57, but applies to all Rev. E processors including x2.

    The BIOS has to implement the new programming for the additional memory ratios to be available in BIOS.
    Reply
  • KeithDust2000 - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    Hi Wesley! What´s up with the 533Mhz Memory support included in the FX-57?

    "The shift to the 90-nm SOI process also means that the FX-57 differs in some small ways from the FX-55. Originally, the FX-55 supported just DDR-400 speeds; the FX-57's memory controller now will interface with DDR-533, and has some other small improvements, Seckler said."

    http://www.extremenano.com/article/AMD+Ponders+Dua...

    No one seems to be covering that!?!
    Reply
  • KeithDust2000 - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    test Reply
  • OldDummy - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    nice article, just a good general roundup of topics. well done Reply
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    My motherboard has X2 support but it isn't listed. It is the Giga-Byte K8N Ultra SLi. From the Giga-byte website:
    F3 2005/6/28

    Support Athlon 64x2 dual core CPU
    Reply
  • Googer - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    Thanks Wes,
    I have been looking for an article like this one for little while now.
    Reply
  • matthewfoley - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    supposedly there is a beta bios out for the MSI K8N neo2 Platinum that has dual core support...

    http://www.lejabeach.com/MSIK8N/7025nms19B5.zip
    Reply
  • matthewfoley - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    This is an interesting thread on the nF3 dual core topic...

    http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid...
    Reply
  • 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
  • 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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