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AMD Bulldozer Will Bring Socket Shift To PCs

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the make-sure-to-pick-up-the-socket-bonus dept.

AMD 219

An anonymous reader writes "One of the most dreaded hurdles on the PC upgrade path is the CPU socket. If socket design changes then you'll almost certainly need a new motherboard when you do upgrade. This is an area where AMD has historically been much better than Intel. Intel tends to change sockets with each generation of CPU — currently there are three types out there, LGA 1155 for Sandy Bridge, LGA 1156 for first generation core and LGA 1366 for the performance Core i7 processors. AMD on the other hand has always tried to keep sockets across generations. When it releases its new Bulldozer core desktop processors later this year AMD is having to make a socket shift from the current AM3 socket to a new one called AM3+. This article discusses the change, issues like backwards compatibility and what the industry is doing to prepare for the socket shift."

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Is it necessary? (5, Insightful)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712694)

Perhaps you can only maintain backward compatibility so far.

Re:Is it necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35712724)

Agree. Who really cares anyways? Computers are so affordable that buying a whole new set instead of just upgrading only the CPU is normal fare.

Re:Is it necessary? (4, Insightful)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712850)

In this economy why would you replace instead of upgrading when it's possible?

Ship of Theseus (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713846)

If you upgrade the CPU, RAM, drives, and operating system, what's the difference [wikipedia.org] between that and buying a new PC? If you buy a new PC, you can repurpose the old one.

Re:Ship of Theseus (2)

visualight (468005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713998)

Well, the cost of 1 case and 1 motherboard. Also, the cost of drives because only the cpu and ram need to be upgraded. Also, since we're going from ddr3 to ddr3 (unlike am2-to-am3), only the cpu needs to be upgraded. So yeah, you save the cost of the motherboard, ram, drives, and case.

Re:Ship of Theseus (1)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35714156)

A new computer also comes with a case and a new motherboard. It is usually a generation newer, which requires that you not re-use the same RAM, CPU, or certian peripherals. (can anybody find a AM3 motherboard capable of using an ISA 33.6Kbps modem from 1994, [without adapters]?) Can you re-use a PCI 10/100 NIC from 1996 in a modern motherboard? Yes.

Re:Is it necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35714090)

why would you replace instead of upgrading when it's possible?

If you're going to ask that, you might as well ask why upgrade the CPU. That Athlon II X2 is still pretty damn awesome, compared to whatever you (probably) had 5 years ago. Why are you shopping for Bulldozers at all?

The premise is that you are obsessively compelled to change some aspect of your computer's guts, because your old one wasn't kickass enough. If you've already got upgrade madness, I don't see a point in drawing a line and saying that dumping a perfectly good CPU is sane whereas dumping a motherboard is not. No matter where you draw that line, it's arbitrary.

It would be nice if sockets didn't ever change yet magically let each new CPU do its most, but it's not that big of a deal.

makes for lower MB costs as now they can make a b (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712852)

makes for lower MB costs as now they can make a board that will run today's chips as well as the new ones.

Better then Intel where the new i3 / i5 / i7 (lower end) have limited PCI-e (usb 3.0 and other stuff cuts in to pci-e) vs the older boards and the High end I7 need there own boards.

Intel should of had higher end I7 and the lower end stuff use the same chipset / sockets / boards.

Re:Is it necessary? (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712944)

Makes a difference to me; I have a 5 year old core2 system (E6300) that is generally just fine; 4GB of ram suits my needs as does the graphics card, and the drives are configured as I like.

Unfortunately, I cant shift either motherboard or processor without swapping the other, and its kind of obnoxious...

If you have more than one, leapfrog them (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713708)

I have a 4 year old Athlon64 X2 system which is generally just fine - but I also still have its predecessor, a 7 year old Pentium 4 in a pretty nice Thermaltake case. So when I'll treat myself to an upgrade later this year, it is the old P4 that will get most of its components swapped out. The Athlon64 will make a nice secondary PC at my parents' place (where the P4 currently sits).

I'm sure lots of geeks have more than one computer from different generations, and could do something similar.

A fucking waste (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35712958)

Agree. Who really cares anyways? Computers are so affordable that buying a whole new set instead of just upgrading only the CPU is normal fare.

It's a goddamn waste, though. It's sickening to throw out all that electronics, metal, and otherwise pretty good hardware just because someone wants to upgrade or because a component died.

At least with computers we have some choice. The other day, a pump went out on my pressure washer. Pump: $249. New pressure washer: $259 - WTF! So, I either pay out the ass for a new pump, or chuck out a perfectly good engine, frame, hose, nozzle, etc ...

OR Norelco electric shaver. New: $40. Replacement blades: $32. WTF!!!

I tell ya, our consumerist disposable society is really getting out of fucking hand.

And I'll refrain from the pollution and filling landfills with our disposable products.

I've stopped buying that shit - No more consumer electronics because it is THE worst offender.

Re:A fucking waste (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713068)

OR Norelco electric shaver. New: $40. Replacement blades: $32. WTF!!!

Feather Artist Club. More expensive, but the replacement blades are $20 a dozen and last 7-10 shaves--admittedly expensive. A Merkur HD and the Gillette 7 O'Clock yellow packs works pretty well, $30 for about 100 of those blades but $40 for the razor itself. Still, it costs about $25-$50 for a brush that'll last only 30 or 40 years and about $10 for a good puck of shave soap that'll last maybe a year, so eh.

Umm, OP is talking about ELECTRIC shavers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713232)

The blades that go in an ELECTRIC shaver are what he is referring to.

Re:A fucking waste (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713256)

How wasteful you are, Bluefoxlucid. Why waste all those resources on a razor, blades, brush, and soap, when you could just become a greybeard like myself? About once a month, I take a pair of scissors to my face. God, or nature (take your pick) put that hair on my face - I'm certainly not going to cut it all off!! I might end up looking like one of those girly-boys on television!

Re:A fucking waste (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35714084)

"Don't ever have to cut it, cause it stops by itself"

Re:Is it necessary? (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713000)

Yes well when some of us don't have money to throw around and have invested in PSU, Memory, etc., being able to swap out CPU saves ALOT of money.

Re:Is it necessary? (3)

SeNtM (965176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713004)

Affordable is relative. I have experienced a 50% reduction in income over the last 2 years plus the unemployment of my wife. Dropping $500-$1500 on a system 2-3 years ago would have been easily accomplished after a weeks worth of income...now I would have save for about six months for the low end components. I think most people are in this boat...

Re:Is it necessary? (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713466)

and those of us who arent, are buying the drinks for our friends who are

Re:Is it necessary? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713010)

Agree. Who really cares anyways? Computers are so affordable that buying a whole new set instead of just upgrading only the CPU is normal fare.

Cheap computers are affordable. But also cheap.

Costs can rack up once you build it yourself and want better components in some areas.

Re:Is it necessary? (1)

rrhal (88665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712826)

Its for people that are looking at buying now. Real soon now you will be able to buy AMD motherboards with AM3b sockets on them. These boards will run current AMD socket 3 CPU's. They promise there will be a BIOS patch so that these boards will run Bulldozer CPU's when they come out. That way they can sell equipment to fence sitters that might otherwise wait until June when Bulldozer comes out. This article does not imply that you can run Bulldozers on your current board (for 99.999% of you).

Re:Is it necessary? (1)

suutar (1860506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713214)

Actually, it does, just not at full efficiency. "These newer processors will be compatible with AM3 motherboards but need AM3+ to take full advantage of their features."

It is (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712938)

When you start to talk major architecture shifts, you get other requirements that change as well. Power, memory, chipsets, and so on. Part of that can be a new socket.

While Intel is rather overzealous with the socket change thing, perhaps doing it just to push motherboard sales, AMD has been perhaps too focused on compatibility, not enough with pushing forward.

Given that Bulldozer is supposedly a very big change, the new socket is likely very non-optional.

Re:It is (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713756)

This is especially likely now that memory controllers and GPUs and other formerly-motherboard components are now sharing a die, or at least a package, with the CPU. The latency savings cannot be denied; but it does mean that the CPU package needs rather more pins/lands than it otherwise would, and increases the number of things that can make a given socket design either fully obsolete or 'works; but not as designed'.

There is certainly a point past which changing sockets all the time is just about extracting rents; but there are plenty of reasons why a a new CPU design might either require a new socket, or be sufficiently poorly supported by the old one that buying a new CPU for an old motherboard wouldn't increase performance.

Re:Is it necessary? (2)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713460)

Not only is it not necessary, it's also not true that AMD have been better – AMD have been releasing a new socket with each CPU arch... they've just not been releasing any new CPU archs!

I've always had to upgrade my MB (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712710)

I've built a lot of computers and have never once reused a motherboard. MB cost is trivial and usually comes with improvements--such as a faster FSB/more memory slots, etc. So even if my old MB could accept my new CPU, I would probably still buy one. And since I stopped gaming, I upgrade so rarely now that my old MB almost never supports the new CPU anyway.

Are there really people out there who upgrade their CPU's so often that this is even an issue?

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712798)

No kidding. To my mind RAM compatibility is probably a bigger issue.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713032)

Which is why you typically don't throw out your motherboard because a new board invariably means you have to buy new ram.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (4, Informative)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713240)

The worst shift that I remember was AGP to PCIe - you have to buy new video card if you want a new motherboard (or better, buy a new CPU, replace MB, RAM and VGA just to be compatible) and gaming cards are not cheap. At least with ISA/PCI/AGP you could still use the old card while you save the money for a new one. While I have a few AGP video cards laying around, if my PCIe VGA failed, until I repair it or buy a new one, I'd have to use a PCI VGA made in 1995.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713826)

There are plenty of $30-50 PCIe graphics cards available. Mind you, they're not good for modern gaming... but then, neither is your PCI VGA card. And what motherboard do you have that has both PCI and PCIe slots but not onboard video?

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713880)

Tyan Thunder K8WE
2xPCIe x16
1xPCI
2xPCI-X 100MHz
1xPCI-X 133MHz

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (2)

grimsweep (578372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713874)

ASRock actually had a solution to this that I owned, known as the 939Dual-VSTA, which offered both fullspeed AGP and PCIe slots. Despite what you might think, it was a shockingly stable board that survived tortuous sessions of Planetside and several amateur computing experiments. It eased my transition to PCIe while even providing an upgrade path to AM2 cores.

Sadly, it wasn't really available until a good time after PCIe began to go mainstream.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713964)

There was at least one motherboard [asrock.com]
that had both agp and pcie, allowing for existing use of AGP until you decided to upgrade to pcie. Also, getting a mobo with onboard video can allow for redundancy with video...

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (2)

CynicTheHedgehog (261139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712804)

As soon as Bulldozer hits I plan on getting a dirt-cheap Phenom II X6 to replace my Athlon II X4 ... which will go back my old motherboard to make a new system for my kids ...

So a delayed upgrade, and still a 1:1 ratio of motherboard-to-CPU, but an upgrade nonetheless...

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713394)

I've been waiting to upgrade my Althlon II X2 2.2Ghz into a Phenom II X4^H^H X6 also. This news probably isn't good for us since there will be a lot of people on the same boat who would want to buy the Phenom II X6 as the highest-end CPU for their current-gen MB.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712870)

I've done it on the server side, upgrading from quad core to hex core Xeon's (5500 to 5600) and from Barcelona to Shanghai. When you have thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars worth of DIMM's, lots of peripherals like HBA's, and the time invested in setting up and QA'ing an application environment the small amount of cash to upgrade performance can often be well worth it.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712934)

By now it's the other way around for me. I upgrade when I think that my motherboard/computer needs new features. The CPU itself is hardly of influence, unless they bring out a much more efficient version (less TDP/watt). The last motherboard I bought was an Asus/Intel. I had problems with my AMD setup under Linux, so I specifically went out for a motherboard that was compatible with the 8GB of memory I had still laying around.

Besides all that, if there is anything annoying about upgrading a computer, it's the fucking about with the CPU fan.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (3)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713122)

CPU fans, my god is there anything worse? I'm in here, between six important looking capacitors, with a screw driver on a tiny lip of metal, leaning all my weight on it. How is this a good idea?

I have upgraded several CPUs without switching out the motherboard but not lately. I've also switched out motherboards without getting a new CPU. Example: one time my case got some snow in it. I let it all dry out and the motherboard was the only thing that needed to be replaced.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (2)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713304)

Depends on the fan/heatsink.

I usually use Zalman coolers that attach to the motherboard by screws (though you need to attach a new backplate to the motherboard so it's PITA if the computer is already built) and are quite good at cooling, but a bit expensive.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713028)

Agreed. I'm much more likely to reuse the case.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713058)

Good for you. I bought an AM3 chipset with an AthlonII X3 originally. Mobo had DDR3, USB3, SATA3, and 2 PCI-E slots avail at 16x/8x. Bought it when things were thin with an eye towards upgrading when things weren't. Added a Phenom X6 for under 200$, CrossFireX'd cards for cheap, and plenty of DDR3 ram for cheap after the fact. Started at $500. Probably put another 500 into it and kicked the replaced parts into a machine for my wife. Simple and easy with AMD. Damn near impossible with Intel.

And for the record, a good motherboard is not a trivial cost. Particularly a good Intel motherboard.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (1)

MindCrusher (1249502) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713076)

I've recently had a broken MB on an older computer (3+ years). I had managed find an AM3 motherboard with support for the existing AM2 processor and support for the older DDR2 already installed on the machine. It is also good if I need to make an upgrade from the current processor or switching to DDR3. If that would have been an Intel I would have probably had to search a used MB or replaced the processor, the MB and the RAM. This situation might not be common but it is a relief when a computer fails and you only have to replace a single component.

No kidding (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713078)

I think it is more done out of a "Here's something we offer that Intel doesn't," and maybe an attempt to appeal to the budget oriented crowd that tend to buy AMD.

Realistically, you probably want to upgrade your board when you upgrade your CPU. There are all kinds of new technologies that come along, not just faster CPUs.

For example I just upgraded my system from a Q9550 to an i7-2600k. Now of course I had to upgrade the board just because the socket changed, but I would have wanted to anyhow. Off the top of my head, here's the new things my new board gives me:

1) DDR3 RAM. It has doubled the measured memory speed in my system. That matters a lot for a faster CPU, I'd not get nearly so much benefit stuck on DDR2.

2) USB 3. I currently have no devices that use it, but the industry seems real interested and I think it is safe to assume I'll be getting some soon.

3) SATA 3. Again, no big deal right now but I can see getting an SSD in a year or two and it would be useful then.

4) UEFI. Much more capable than an old BIOS. My particular board has a full command line built in you can boot to for doing diags and so on.

The board upgrade was well worth it, particularly the memory. No sense in staying on slower RAM when getting a high end CPU. That just hamstrings things.

Really, it is likely a waste of money to upgrade your CPU more than once every 2-4 years and in that time enough will change that you'll really want a new board anyhow.

For that matter, you could end up needing one anyhow, even if the socket was the same. A new architecture can require a new chipset and new voltage regulators which would need a new mobo, even if the socket happened to be the same.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with using the same socket, but I don't much care if it changes either.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (1)

Prefader (1072814) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713112)

Actually, I was thinking of it the other way around . . . I have plenty of good Socket 478 CPUs kicking around, but I can't really buy any motherboards to stick them in. Maintaining the same socket type (and backwards compatability) means that I can keep using those perfectly good CPUs.

Umm, those are really obsolete (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#35714136)

Socket 478 means the old "Northwood" Pentium 4. A good CPU back when it was new, and if you happen to have matching motherboards, RAM and other things as well, it may be worthwhile to assemble the whole bunch into an "oldie" PC.
But I wouldn't bother buying any new boards for a P4, even if those were still available. Even a real cheap AMD for $40-$50 will clearly beat the P4 on performance, and modern DDR3 RAM is cheaper per GB than the DDR(1) RAM that was common in the Socket 478 age. Overall, going with modern parts will get you much better performance at marginally (if at all) higher costs ;-)

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713174)

Are there really people out there who upgrade their CPU's so often that this is even an issue?

Since the early 90s my game plan has always been two step upgrades... buy the newest MB with the cheapest slowest CPU available (usually pretty good anyway). Then when the fastest CPU available is cheap (because its pseudo obsolete) I buy that chip and install it on the MB. Over the years I've had plenty of fun... Some boards need to have the BIOS flashed to support the most recent CPUs...

Looks like the price of AM3 CPUs will be collapsing in the next couple months, so I'll be upgrading the CPU.

In a couple years or so, lets say late 2012, I'll buy a fancy new "bulldoze" motherboard and the cheapest CPU available for it...

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713216)

I've just upgraded from AM2 X2 3800+ processor to AM3 X4 deneb 820 core.

Sure, the deneb is using DDR2 RAM, but doubling number of cores, and increasing throughput per core by almost 50% seems to have been worth the $100 upgrade. No need to change my aging motherboard. First upgrade where I didn't need to upgrade the motherboard thanks to ASUS and AMD.

I never viewed as socket compatibility as important until it saved me a few hundred $$$ in upgrade costs ;)

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713376)

I've stayed away from the OSes that require "activation", but since most hardware is on the motherboard these days, isn't switching out a motherboard on Windows Vista/7 impossible without Microsoft thinking you are a pirate? I would think that when it starts up and looks at all the serial numbers/mac address/ect of your computer it would be much less likely to complain if only a CPU has been upgraded. Keeping socket compatibility seems like good strategy for easy upgrading of restrictive operating systems or other crap software that serializes itself to the system.

Re:I've always had to upgrade my MB (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713506)

That's because you're buying crap MB and/or are uninterested in some of the features a high-end mother board can offer you.

For example you build a box for a MediaPC /File server. You want it small, you want low power and passive cooling. So you get a $300 motherboard with everything embeded, SATA raid, passive chipset cooling, HDMI outputs, optical audio input, the works. You have this setup for 3 years, it works great, then 3 days before your family comes to visit (they love watching movies on your media pc) your CPU dies. There's a new model out thats awesome, has great features... but oh no, not backward compatible with your motherboard. You don't have the money to drop $600 on both on a Wednesday so you end up ordering one compatible with your board and not upgrading. AMDs backwards compatibility lets their users upgrade whenever they want. It makes them more money.

No user-serviceable parts inside (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712712)

Nobody really replaces CPUs. As of a few years ago, 80% of desktop machines were never opened during their lifetime. That's probably higher now, and higher still for laptops.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (2)

SimonUK (2030056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712818)

BS. If no one replaced CPUs, why do they still sell them Seperately? If no one makes or go's inside of computers. Why are all the parts still available.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35712878)

Spares.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712888)

Because people do still build their own computers.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (2)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712900)

There's still a market for enthusiasts that build their own machines from parts. You get exactly what you want that way. That's how I get new machines. Granted, I rarely upgrade a CPU without building a new box; I do tend to upgrade video card/memory at least once before I send an old gaming box to a family member.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (2)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713282)

There's still a market for enthusiasts that build their own machines from parts. You get exactly what you want that way. That's how I get new machines. Granted, I rarely upgrade a CPU without building a new box; I do tend to upgrade video card/memory at least once before I send an old gaming box to a family member.

This describes me pretty well. I want to pick specific components and features (which Intel processor, which graphics and SATA support, etc).

I have no interest in buying an off-the-shelf box with a motherboard and components picked amongst the lowest bidders paired with the most expensive Intel CPU available. I get a either a bare-bones system or motherboard combo from mwave (paying $10 for them to assemble and test), and I can upgrade to a screamer of a machine for $500 + graphics card (last time that was $300 for a near-top-of-the-line).

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713406)

Yup, this. My last system was $370 for all parts including a mid-line GPU. I'm waiting until the older Intel SSDs to drop in price when the new ones are released, then I'll add that into the system, probably bringing it to a total of $400 for a machine that kicks the butt of any brand name PC sold in stores for twice the price. Couldn't have done it without being able to handpick my CPU and mobo.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35712950)

Are you retarded? They buy a CPU seperately if they are doing a DIY PC build.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713124)

Indeed, I rarely if ever have bought a processor to replace one I've already got, I usually build my own computer which necessitates buying a processor to go with it. It's just not typically cost effective to upgrade the processor in most cases as I usually buy something that's close to the max the board can handle. Under normal circumstances I ever need a much more substantial upgrade or a boost to the GPU or HDD.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713926)

I think Animats's point is that DIY PC builds have become less common over the past few years, and they're still pretty much unheard of for laptops.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713198)

Are you fucking dense? How are you supposed to buy CPUs for custom builds if they aren't available?

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (2)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713234)

You do realize that if 80% of desktops have not been opened/modified, that means that 20% have been. That is who the separate CPUs are sold for. That and the big desktop manufacturers - Dell, HP, etc. who could not possibly afford to replace the entire desktop on a warrantied system, and will actually replace the components that fail. Sometimes these are CPUs. (Don't fall into the Slashdot trap thinking that the general public likes to actively mess around inside the guts of their computer systems.)

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35712836)

I put a cheap quad-core AM2+ CPU on a motherboard that was getting on toward 40 months old just last week so I'm really getting a kick out of this reply.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712886)

I replaced the CPU three times in my G3 Minitower Mac.

From a 233 MHz to 366 to a 433 over the years.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (0)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713518)

What does that have to do with whatever 2 Ghz monster you would buy today?

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (3, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713594)

Did you read parent post?

"Nobody really replaces CPUs."

Well I have, thats what it has to do with the topic.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35712898)

Exactly. Computers now a days are appliances, like a stove. Outside a tiny, tiny niche, they're seen as "welded shut boxes".

The coupling between CPU and motherboard is not a problem. It might cause a little bit of nerdrage, but nerdrage is not important when things are designed to be sold to the hundreds of millions in the mass market of people buying Dells and HPs beige boxes. It's the 0.2% complaining about something most people aren't even _aware_ of, let alone care about in the slightest way.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (1, Insightful)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713056)

and this article has nothing to do with people how buy Dell and HP computers. You would know this if you read the article and have ever worked on a Dell.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713288)

Enthusiasts do it.. and fairly regular at that. It is easier with AMD with affordably priced CPUs.

I went from from a Dual Core AMD to Black Edition AMD 550 to my present AMD Six-core 1090T. AMD's socket compatibility ensured that my motherboard more than kept up with the CPU change. Perhaps I need to upgrade my motherboard to take advantage of latest chipsets and may be my old motherboard does not really utilize my new processor effectively.

But nevertheless, CPU upgrades are fairly common for tinkerers. Not so much with the lay users, but I think the tinkering community more than justifies selling the processors separately.

Further -- in many countries where the competitive brand names often price themselves out of the price range of common people, a huge home-grown market exists for people who build computers and charge a modest fee.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (1)

greed (112493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713428)

Even if no-one replaced CPUs, this would still let OEMs make a single base system board and offer a variety of CPUs for it.

So you get your base system board, with the AM3+ socket. You can then sell it with a $50 dual-core Athlon-II or a $300 6-core Phenom Black and everything in between. (Mine's a $120 3-core Phenom... from a year and a bit ago.)

All without having to even re-program the pick-and-place equipment. Same form-factor parts, just have the robot pick a different CPU. Wouldn't even need to slow down the line for semi-custom configs.

Works the other way, too: if you think your stuff is mostly CPU bound, go with the simpler board with the AM3 socket, slower RAM, fewer PCIe channels, whatever. Then give it a big number cruncher that will mostly munch stuff in L3 cache or higher.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (1)

YojimboJango (978350) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713456)

The title of your post is "No user-serviceable parts inside". How about technician serviceable parts. I'm the geek that gets called on to fix the entire family's computers, and from hard experience I can tell you that having a current AM3 processor that I can dump into a 5 year old PC will really bring things back to life, Also If I have an known good AM2+ board laying around you can test pretty much anything, and testing really helps keep costs down for non-business types.

Compare with an intel system where if something stops working you have to trash almost the whole system unless you get really lucky. I've seen guys trash everything but their ram only to discover that it was the ram that went south in their system, just because they had no spare parts to test with. Granted nothing is ever that black and white, but I've had much better luck isolating problems with AMD based systems just due to having spare parts laying around that work.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713732)

"As of a few years ago, 80% of desktop machines were never opened during their lifetime"

I love made-up statistics.

Re:No user-serviceable parts inside (2)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35714018)

Admittedly, you said "desktops", but I've got a counter-example for you.

Where I work, we recently were trying to figure out what to do with a quartet of older, out-of-warranty Dell PE2970 servers. They were perfectly good servers, but they were no longer covered under a maintenance contract, so using them for mission-critical services was rather like playing Russian roulette. They might last for another decade, or they might die tomorrow, and if they were to die tomorrow, we would have down time while performing an emergency migration to a new physical host.

However, we had just built a new virtual server pool with a smoking-fast SAN on the back-end, and it occurred to us that these PE2970s would be great as a second pool of servers. This would allow us to continue to use these servers, rather than replace them with new hardware. The machines would be out of warranty so a hardware failure still means we have a physical machine down, but with four of them and with Xen's ability to move virtual machines between physical hosts in a server pool, a catastrophic failure of a physical host would only mean dropping a couple of packets until the virtual host was running on another physical machine (we've tested it, and it works as advertised).

But there's a catch: Xen will only allow you to create a pool of servers that share the exact same type of CPU. Unfortunately, each of the 2970s had a different AMD CPU, so we bought three of the fastest CPU that was still available (a 2387, IIRC) and upgraded the three different machines.

But that is still better that a cpu on fire (-1, Troll)

spacefan3 (2033722) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712722)

Once you actually could put a never AMD cpu in a socket, and make it catch fire [freeblogspot.org]

Warning, this is a Goatse (1, Offtopic)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712764)

Seriously, do you still think that's funny in 2011? In a few years, maybe you'll catch up to the Rickroll.

did they call it BULLDOZER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35712730)

because Intel has a SANDY bridge?

Erm... nothing? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712738)

what the industry is doing to prepare for the socket shift

What is this supposed to mean? What is "the industry" to begin with? People who upgrade their PC are mostly hobbyists at home anyway. Corporate desktops and servers aren't upgraded, they are replaced when they've served their purpose. At least that's my experience.

Re:Erm... nothing? (2)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713022)

"the industry" is motherboard manufacturers, RAM manufacturers, etc..
Seriously speaking, there are very very few hobbyists would even think of building their own motherboards.

They merely buy stuff off the shelf and put it together. They're the consumers, not the industry.

Thank you for listening. :)

Re:Erm... nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713338)

The industry will just suck it up and make new boards like they've been doing for intel for the past 10 years. This is a non-article to advertise AMD products and hit on Intel's upgrade path.

Re:Erm... nothing? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35714020)

Oh right, that industry. Aren't they thrilled about this, as new sockets mean new customers?

Uh (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712760)

While AMD's sockets have been pin compatible since socket AM2 there have definitely been incompatibilities between chipsets, BIOS's, chips, and ram along the way. The matrix of what's compatible with what is probably too big to fit onto even a B sized plotter sheet. This sounds like much the same thing where you can drop an AM3+ part into an AM3 socket with reduced performance. The only reason I can see doing that would be if you want more performance in a given power envelope as the new chips will give you much better MIPS/Watt.

Re:Uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35712954)

It's nice to be able to gracefully repurpose old hardware to match modern needs. As I mentioned in another post in this thread, I stuck a new quad-core AM2+ CPU on an old AM2 motherboard that had been sitting in my spare parts pile for nine months. Its socket previously held a single core Sempron, so the $75 the CPU cost was more than worthwhile for that machine's recipient.

It's rare to be able to do that in PC hardware, but it's not impossible and I'm grateful that AMD at least makes the effort. The Core i series on Intel's side has just been completely ridiculous.

Memory (1)

derspankster (1081309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712786)

Good thing memory and it's sockets never change, then we'd really have a problem!

Well they can't avoid this (-1, Troll)

spacefan4 (2033734) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712864)

According to leaks [tinyurl.com] these CPUs will support DDR4, so they need new interface (You know that ram controller is built-in in these CPUs...)

Parent is goatse (2, Informative)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712914)

Mod down, please.

Re:Well they can't avoid this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35712942)

Argh. Goatse alert...

Re:Well they can't avoid this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35712948)

goatse

Re:Well they can't avoid this (0)

AgTiger (458268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35712992)

Oh dear god my eyes. Haven't seen THAT awful image in a while.

Sockets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713002)

I've never had to purchase a new motherboard when switching CPU sockets. They make CPU socket adapters, and they're readily available from CPU suppliers. I've been on the same motherboard since my P4, and am currently running an i5.

You can also get PCI cards that supply SATA ports for the more modern hard drives. You may need an ISA -> PCI adapter depending on how old your MB is. I'm sure they make these, but I've never actually tried to find one. No idea how much they cost.

Re:Sockets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713194)

Are you fucking retarded? I don't believe you have ever purchased any such device. Fucking troll.

Re:Sockets (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713426)

Please to post a link to this socket 423 or 478 or 778 to modern socket adapter.

Bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713162)

Incorrigible skin-flints will insist on retrofitting new CPUs onto old motherboards despite voltage problem, BIOS problems, memory problems, etc. They then rage in forums about the horrible rip-off of GigaSUS, Biorock or SuperTAC because some chip won't work in a four year old board. For these folks there is AMD, at least until the board divests the remaining assets.

What's the difference between AM3 and AM3+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713222)

I mean seriously. This article is worth nothing other than telling people that there is a new socket which is somewhat compatible to the old one. But why is the change necessary and what is it for?

Not all it's cracked up to be (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713418)

AMD's socket's might carry the same numbers, but the sockets don't always work all that readily. Often seems to be the fault of the motherboard maker, but I've had plenty instances where I bought a new chip only to find out that my mobo, though having a socket that is support by the chip, doesn't support chips of that power draw, or made at a certainly transistor size, or just past a certain point in manufacturing.

In the end, it's less hassle to just replace the board when you replace the chip either way. In my groggy old age (only 29, but I feel pretty old in computer terms :)) I just don't care about overclocking and whatnot anymore, and if you just want a barebones "plug it in and work at stock settings" board you can usually get one for under $50.

Re:Not all it's cracked up to be (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713906)

It's mostly because you are buying $50 motherboards that you aren't getting BIOS updates to support future chips, there's no profit margin in $50 parts to support developing and testing an upgraded BIOS for an old product.

Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713550)

AMD needs to make more powerful chips, I could care less about backward compatibility.

because if (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713584)

we only had one fucking socket type, we wouldn't sell as many units.

Overreaction (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713768)

Geez... I understand your frustration with the current socket, but that's no reason to run over your computer with a bulldozer. Wait, what?

That's why I keep buying AMD (2)

acid06 (917409) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713800)

It may be silly but this is the sort of thing that makes me keep buying AMD. It shows they still respect their "power users".

I bought an Asus M2N-E motherboard several years ago for a single core Athlon 64 processor. Today, this same motherboard runs a Phenom X4 processor. And it will still hopefully serve other family members for some years when I finally switch it.

It may be silly, but I believe that all those "green aficionados" should be congratulating AMD. While Intel makes sure everyone needs to replace their MBs every year (and a lot of those go to the trash), AMD gives you another choice. Sure, most people just end up buying everything new again, but at least AMD gives you the choice.

Oh back in the day (1)

DeadBugs (546475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35713890)

Back in the day when I had the time and money to upgrade constantly these socket changes were a major inconvenience and expense. Now I don't upgrade much I just wait until I feel it's time and replace the whole thing. By then not only is there a new socket required, but new memory, new video card with a new DirectX, etc.

Yay AMD (1)

Eggbloke (1698408) | more than 3 years ago | (#35714062)

I guess I am an AMD fanboy but this is what I have always liked about AMD. They make cheap, backwards compatible chips. I am using an AM3 chip in an AM2+ board. Not having much money makes compatibility brilliant for me as I did not need to upgrade my motherboard and RAM to get a new processor.

I guess I will need to make the jump to AM3+/whatever the latest Intel socket is these days and DDR3 ram some day though.
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