AMD Socket AM2 Family Preview
From Tyan we have been told that they are currently working on various AM2 adaptations, but nothing too definitive has been released, or any period for this launch. If you will recall from our time with the Tyan Tomcat K8E S2865 and primarily the Tomcat K8E-SLI S2866, they have certainly made some very competitive workstation solutions for the Athlon 64. With their K8E-SLI variant, they had also opted to go with the nForce Professional 2200 Chipset when using the Socket 939 setup.
One of the other motherboards to be announced during Computex is the ASRock AM2NF4G-SATA2. While we will have our preview of this motherboard going up today, this motherboard is certainly an outlier when it comes to its Chipset implementation. The AM2NF4G-SATA2 relies upon an nForce 410 and GeForce 6100 combination. The AM2NF4G-SATA2 is almost identical to the recently reviewed 939NF4G-SATA2. With the memory controller being located on the CPU, it is possible for motherboard vendors to go with already existing Socket 939 Chipsets. However, a majority of the motherboards to be released in the coming months will rely upon the nForce 500 products, as well as the Chipsets to come shortly. These matured Chipsets will largely be used for budget motherboards.
To our knowledge, ASRock will also be displaying two AM2 motherboards at Computex that are based upon the ULI M1695 and ULI M1697 -- the AM2XLI-eSATA2 and AM2XLI32-eSATA2. Meanwhile, after the award-winning success of DFI's LAN PARTY nForce 4 series, Design For Innovation hopes to capitalize upon their past success when launching the nForce 500 series of LAN PARTY motherboards.
Like ASRock, Albatron will also be announcing several AM2 motherboards that support the AM2 specifications yet they are based upon the already existing nForce 4 Chipsets. The Albatron KM51PV-AM2 will boast the nForce 430 and GeForce 6150.
When it comes to the whole server and workstation topic of Socket AM2 support, NVIDIA is currently working on a replacement for its nForce Professional 2050/2200 Chipset. This new NVIDIA nForce PRO 3k core-logic is still under NDA with its vendors. We would anticipate that the new NVIDIA nForce Professional Chipsets would arrive in July to coincide with the AMD LGA-1207 DDR2 Socket F launch, while the PRO Chipsets will remain compatibile with Socket AM2 parts.
While we will save our final Linux comments in regards to the AM2 until reporting our performance results and other compatibility notes, the experience should be relatively smooth. ATI's SB600 with its SATA, PATA, and audio capabilities, have already been merged with the 2.6.17 kernel in its release candidate 3. For those motherboards continuing to use previous Socket 939 Chipsets, such as the ASRock AM2NF4G-SATA2, there should be no extraordinary Linux problems to note as the nForce 4 is already well supported within Linux. We do anticipate that the nForce 500 series arrival will be smooth now that NVIDIA has experienced territory in Linux as they now know what will be required of them in this arena. We will have more on this to come as we finish up our AM2 testing.
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