Report: Llano will introduce a new desktop socket

The days of Socket AM3 reigning supreme in the AMD world could come to an end next year. Fudzilla reports that Llano, AMD’s upcoming 32-nm processor with a graphics core built in, will fit in a new kind of socket called Socket FM1.

That’s more or less all of the detail the site goes into, so you’ll have to use your imagination to picture the new socket. (Maybe AMD will finally switch to a land-grid-array design like with the Opteron family.) However, Fudzilla does give us some dirt about the matching AMD chipsets: word is that some of them will have built-in USB 3.0, although the rest will pair USB 2.0 with 6Gbps Serial ATA, just like the existing 800 series of chipsets.

Last we heard, Llano had begun sampling and would enter volume production in the latter half of the year. We know Llano will have four cores based on the same architecture as today’s Phenom IIs, a graphics processor built into the same piece of silicon, and power consumption low enough to allow for notebook-bound variants in addition to the desktop parts.

I think AMD did a nice job giving folks an upgrade path from Socket AM2 to AM3, since quad-core AM3 processors support both DDR2 and DDR3 RAM and work in AM2 motherboards. Over the same stretch of time, Intel went from LGA775 to LGA1156 and LGA1366, none of which are compatible with each other. I was even told at Computex that, next year, Sandy Bridge will bring about a new, non-backward-compatible LGA1155 socket type. Surely AMD has earned a "switch desktop sockets free" card at this point.

Comments closed
    • AMDguy
    • 9 years ago

    I’m okay with this. The technology keeps moving along.

    FM1 will most likely be sold primarily on micro ATX boards for business class, home computing, and HTPC.

    Like many people, I’ll want to upgrade my 2 yr old 790G motherboard in order to migrate to DDR3 and USB 3.0. Heck, if the prices have come down on SSDs, the new SATA speeds might benefit me too. (But I’m not holding my breath on this, lol.)

    And if it turns out I need even more graphics firepower than Llano provides, I can always add a discrete card.

    It all sounds good to me. 🙂

    • packfan_dave
    • 9 years ago

    I’ve always thought the enthusiast community gets way more upset by socket changes than is rational. How often do you want to upgrade CPUs without getting a new motherboard (or an entirely new system, for that matter)?

    • jackbomb
    • 9 years ago

    But can it play FM Stereo?

      • Trymor
      • 9 years ago

      What’s FM? Is that a form of 8-track or cassette or something?

      Try

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    Built-in USB 3.0 is nice (hey wait that means a new mohterboard, there goes that ‘great upgrade path’ angle) but I’m not so sure these CPUs will make a huge dent in the main rig enthusiast area. PhenomII/Core 2 level performance is certainly good enough for the majority of regular users but Sandy Bridge will smoke it and FWIR Intel is going to be very aggressive moving SB throughout the lineup unlike Nehalem. However this could make for some great OEM or budget/more basic machines that has all the right bullet points for marketing slides, by now most enthusiasts have at least this level of performance though.

      • Trymor
      • 9 years ago

      Me. Case and point. I ran a northwood 2.4c at stock speed with cheap mem for a year or 2. When faster mem was available for cheap, I bumped up to 3 GHZ, which made it faster than my actual 3GHz intel northwood.

      I have been running my Q6600 that I got over a year ago at stock speeds. I have been thinking of overclocking it, but I don’t feel the need too yet.

      Edit: I barely game, but this setup with a Nvidia 260GTX runs Dirt nicely enough at 1080p.

      Try

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    Fanboys and their sockets….

    Only enthusiasts replace parts quickly enough for socket compatibility to matter.

    No one else cares.

    Still, us geeks need something to whine about.

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    I just thought of something else. What are people currently buying a budget Intel system going to do? Intel has said nothing (AFAIK) with regard to the Celeron line and only has one cheap Pentium SKU for socket 1156. What if you only have the money to buy a <$75 CPU and want to upgrade to a faster one later. There isn’t an option for Intel without making your system immediately obsolete. The only thing you can do is buy a Celeron or Pentium socket 775 processor and then upgrade to a faster 775 processor later. However, Intel never slashed the prices on the Core 2 duo or quad and aren’t worth the buy over Nehalem.

    This situation is not good.

      • PinkCow
      • 9 years ago

      If you need to buy the very cheapest, AMD has been the better choice for a while; especially looking at the package of CPU+mainboard.

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    Not to forget even cpu coolers wont fit the same way with each intel socket…

    • eitje
    • 9 years ago

    AMD is getting a new socket. FML.

    …err, FM1. 😉

      • AlvinTheNerd
      • 9 years ago

      No there is a new AMD socket. Llano has the IGP in the chip and mobos based on the new FM1 don’t need an IGP on the board, so a new socket is needed. It would be rather odd to have an IGP on both the chip and mobo. Further, Llano is going to be STARS based and thus most people with the AM3 are not going to want to upgrade to the Llano.

      But AM3 is going to stay around for the nonIGP chips, aka Bulldozer. And thus AM3 boards will still have an upgrade path.

    • Voldenuit
    • 9 years ago

    This is not news. This is olds. We’ve known that Llano would have a separate socket for a year now. It’s no shocker since it’s obvious more pins would be needed for video out.

    Bulldozer will still be AM3.

      • vvas
      • 9 years ago

      /[

    • JrezIN
    • 9 years ago

    I agree that they did a nice job with the AM2/AM3 generation… but in my book, the “free card” will only make up for the debt with the socket 939 thing…

    I just hope they’ll continue with AM3 releases for some time (unlike happened to 939), because the main reason to select AMD instead of Intel to my soon upgrade would be socket longevity.

      • Arag0n
      • 9 years ago

      Sometimes you need to break compatibility in order to go further. Not every generation costs of make the new cpu’s compatible with old socket it’s up to amd to work on it.

        • JrezIN
        • 9 years ago

        I’m aware of that, but in any case, to costumer will be benefited or will spend more in upgrade without needing to…

        But in the subject of “AMD has earned a “switch desktop sockets free” card at this point.”, I still maintain that from this point of view, they only made up for the way things worked out in the socket 939 generation.

        Any way, there’s the possibility that this FM1 socket would be necessary only to Fusion+Mainstream processors… and they keep high-end CPUs with AM3 for a longer time, who knows?

        From my part, I just wish they continue to release AM3 CPUs for some time after a new socket platform is available.

          • BooTs
          • 9 years ago

          I would expect they continue to release more AM3 CPUs for a while, which is what happened with 939.

          I have no hard feelings about 939. I bought a 939 mobo early, and still have it running. I upgraded it from a A64 3200+ to A64 4600+ (I think the last 939 chip they made) when they decided to close the 939 socket several years later.

          I think they did just fine by consumers with the 939, and have been remarkably considerate with the AM3 socket.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 9 years ago

            I ran my 939 board until it died. I was able to upgrade from a single-core Athlon 64, to an Athlon 64 X2, with a higher clock speed, for a whopping $60. That was quite possibly the most useful and cost effective upgrade I will ever see in my life from just swapping one part out.

            Intel did a good job with 775, but they’re throwing all of that out the window.

      • khands
      • 9 years ago

      AFAIK Bulldozer is supposed to be AM3 (at least the first gen, it’s probable that the Llano-Bulldozer combo won’t be socket compatible) next Jan-March.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 9 years ago

      l[

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    This is for all those who were whining how bad Intel’s socket compatibility is, and how AMD is the way to go.

    Enjoy your 32nm upgrade.

      • Corrado
      • 9 years ago

      Uh… by the time its replaced, it will have been over 2 years since AM3 debuted, and the AM3 CPUs were still compatible with AM2 as well, going back to 2006. I guess 5 years isn’t enough for you?

      • poulpy
      • 9 years ago

      So much bias, so much frustration, why?

      Also you’ll be able to get a 32nm upgrade, thank you very much, just not with Llano..

      • Voldenuit
      • 9 years ago

      Intel had LGA 775 chips that were incompatible with older LGA 775 motherboards. So Cyril’s breakdown is actually rather generous, if not misleading.

      AM3 isn’t going anywhere. It will continue to be the high end platform for Bulldozer. I’m guessing that most people getting Bulldozer won’t be using an IGP, but will be getting a Cypress or Southern Islands GPU to do their APU heavy lifting.

      As for Llano, it’s a budget-mainstream product using the existing K10 architecture, with a GPU bolted on. This will mainly go into OEM/HTPC/budget boxes, not enthusiast rigs.There will be a mobile version, but I’m not sure if it will use the same socket.

      At some point, AM3 is going to be retired, but it won’t be next generation. For now, anyone getting a 6-core Thuban can reasonably expect to drop in a Bulldozer CPU with a BIOS update in the near future.

      EDIT: Reading the posts here, it seems there is a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about where FM1 fits into AMD’s lineup. FM1 will slot in next to AM3 (and coexist). AM2/2+ will probably be retired – this is speculation on my part. It would probably be worth Cyril updating the news post to avoid any misunderstandings.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 9 years ago

        You allude to a key point but don’t come right out and say it and people often gloss this over when the fan flames start up regarding Intel vs AMD sockets – being the same socket does not guarantee compatability. There’s also VRM/power compatability and BIOS/motherboard compatability. AM2/+ boards do not universally support all AM3 CPUs. Even if we ignore power compatability there’s BIOS/motherboard compatability which is never certain.

          • Voldenuit
          • 9 years ago

          That’s why it pays to buy a motherboard from a reputable maker. ASUS and Gigabyte in particular are very good at issuing BIOS updates to support new CPUs. Their motherboards also tend to be a bit overengineered, which again bodes well for things like VRM and power capacity constraints.

          Yes, some budget boards can’t take higher power CPUs, but I’m guessing the people who bought those probably weren’t going to stick a 965BE in their $50 motherboard, or if they were, then they have other issues. 😛

          The key difference is that a canny AMD buyer can choose a platform with some care, and be pretty much guaranteed to be compatible with some if not all of the next generation chips. Whereas the intel user is SOL because intel wants to stiff you on chipset bundling. $150-200 saved on every CPU upgrade is not something to sniff at.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 9 years ago

            My Dad has an Asus AM2 motherboard for which I was looking at cheap upgrades. The best it supports is Phenom I. So while it i[

      • jdaven
      • 9 years ago

      Okay, let’s put this in perspective. When AMD first released the K8 architecture, it had three sockets as well none of which lasted long. They had socket 754 (budget) and socket 940 (enthusiast) which soon became socket 939.

      Now if any of you Intel lubbers wrote ANY negative comments to this situation a few years back, then you must own up and do the same for Intel. They have socket 1156 (budget) which will soon be replaced in less than a year with socket 1155 and socket 1366 (enthusiast). Sort of reverse what AMD did but bad nonetheless.

        • BooTs
        • 9 years ago

        The 940 pin socket was Opteron / server class and not “enthusiast.” Some early mobos used 940 socket for enthusiast motherboards, but the socket wasn’t meant that way. The 939 was just launched a bit later.

        You also don’t mention the LGA775 socket at all for Intel.

          • jdaven
          • 9 years ago

          Socket 940 was the introductory desktop K8 socket and must be counted. It didn’t matter what was meant for what. AMD did not have socket 939 ready and the first Athlon 64’s were socket 940 for almost a year and then they switched sockets with no pin compatibility. A big no no in my book and comparable to the situation coming with sockets 1156 and 1155.

          I didn’t mention the 775 because it doesn’t meet the comparison requirements very well. Socket 775 is the last generation socket that continues to be updated. This adds confusion to the situation, I grant you that, but socket 775 was never meant to have Nehalem based chips unlike the 754/939/940 and 1156/1155/1366 situation which was for all the same generation of processors.

          • bhtooefr
          • 9 years ago

          Then what was the original Athlon 64 FX? A server chip? Last I checked, it was a Socket 940 enthusiast chip.

      • JrezIN
      • 9 years ago

      The way you put this, only makes Intel socket compatibility beyond bad…

      AMD is making up for the socket 939 with the nice transition from AM2 to AM3… but Intel in the other hand just throws sockets and splits costumer base to avoid non-complete upgrades…

      If something may be bad, doesn’t hide the fact that something else is even worse…

      • Hattig
      • 9 years ago

      I believe that Bulldozer will still come in an AM3+ option, that will run in AM3.

      • can-a-tuna
      • 9 years ago

      AMD has much better socket compatibility lifespan. I have AM2+ mobo with AM3 CPU on-board. Previously had AM2 CPU with same board.

    • normalicy
    • 9 years ago

    I agree, AMD deserves props for making the transition to their Phenom processors smooth. Shame I didn’t know this when I bought my S775 CPU. Now I don’t want to upgrade because I’ve got too much invested.

    • Skrying
    • 9 years ago

    This isn’t surprising and completely understandable. The change in pins is clearly needed for the graphics portion of Llano.

    I’m also curious to see if AMD changes to the grind ball layout. I went Core 2 Duo -> Phenom II and swapped motherboards with both chips twice. Couldn’t really care either way though. I’ve never had the trouble some people did with bent pins and with there being so many at this point it’s very hard to put pressure on two few to cause such an accident.

      • Farting Bob
      • 9 years ago

      Clarkdale can use the same socket as whatever the other 1156 chips without IGP’s in are called (minds gone blank), all it takes is a BIOS update generally. But then AM2/3 have been going a long time, maybe they are changing more than just adding IGP’s to the chip and decided to take advantage of the timing and combine all the changes into 1 socket.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    The reason I recommend AMD at this point is because Intels chipset support has been scitzo at best.

      • NeelyCam
      • 9 years ago

      I have no idea what you’re talking about.

      I feel bad for whoever takes your advice.

        • Flying Fox
        • 9 years ago

        Actually there may be 1 reason to diss Intel chipsets for the current year and next: no native SATA3 and USB3 support. Other than that Intel chipsets have been very good in terms of stability.

        • jdaven
        • 9 years ago

        Neelycam, don’t feign ignorance. You know exactly what he is talking about. There are 3 currently supported sockets for Intel chips (775, 1156 and 1366) just like the article states. None of them are pin compatible. AMD has three sockets but only the AM3 is considered current but all are pin compatible.

        That’s what he means by schizo. Intel keeps releasing new chips every other month for all three sockets, none of which will allow you to jump to another family of processors without a new motherboard and sometimes new RAM.

        Come on now we talked about this crazy Intel fanboi stuff didn’t we?

          • PinkCow
          • 9 years ago

          Well, AMD doesn’t need something like 1366 for high-performance platforms anyway, as their CPUs currently suck too much. Or do you think that Intel should abstain from offering the best desktop platforms just to keep the number of different sockets down?

          And what do you propose be done about the switch to IMC between 775 and 1156? This simply requires a new socket. Would you propose that Intel shaft its 775 customers the same way AMD did when dropping 939, just to force them into upgrading? Luckily, Intel gives its customers the freedom to choose when to upgrade. This is a good thing IMO.

            • jdaven
            • 9 years ago

            Okay, obviously you buy Intel and rather die than buy anything else. I rather talk with Neelycam. You can just read the conversation if he responds back.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 9 years ago

            775 to 1156 isn’t the issue, ding dong. It’s switching from both 1366 and 1156 at the same time, and really only months after 1156’s CPUs showed up, which have functioning integrated GPUs and obviously do not require a new socket purely for that purpose.

            • PinkCow
            • 9 years ago

            Will 1155 replace 1366? Sorry, can’t imagine that. The three memory channels are there for a reason, and SB will actually need more bandwidth than Nehalem if the AVX units are full-width. However, if they replace and introduce *[

            • Game_boy
            • 9 years ago

            No, but 1366 will be replaced by TWO new sockets: Socket H2 and Socket B2. More segmentation.

          • FuturePastNow
          • 9 years ago

          And 1156 and 1366 are *both* going to be replaced with incompatible new sockets in the next year or two.

          Geez. I understand that S775 was no longer workable with new designs, but Intel could have shown a little foresight in replacing it.

    • TheEmrys
    • 9 years ago

    So AMD is moving sockets from AM to FM? Does Llano come in stereo?

      • BooTs
      • 9 years ago

      Ok, that was brilliant. Llano is definitely Hi-Fi.

      Also, I would like to publicly agree with:
      l[

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 9 years ago

      No, it only comes in quadrophenia.

      • wira020
      • 9 years ago

      Lol, good one…

      • alwayssts
      • 9 years ago

      My thinking:

      AM2/3: (A)thlon64 (M)otherboard series (2) or (3). 939 being “AM1”. Not counting 754 not only because it’s single-channel, but because 939-AM2-AM3 are all similar with only small incremental differences; all backwards compatible from one to the next, mostly the memory controller and/or HyperTransport (in the case of AM2+) changing. Obviously 2 or 3 also applies to the DDR standard.

      FM1 almost certainly means: Fusion Motherboard series 1.

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