AMD Reveals Single Socket For Zen CPU, APU

AMD talked a little bit more about its upcoming Zen architecture processors at CES 2016. Specifically, the company revealed the socket that will be used and announced the code names of the new CPUs and APUs.

The current lineup of AMD CPUs and APUs spans across a number of different sockets: The FX line of processors drop into the AM3+ socket, the APU lineup uses socket FM2+, and the Athlon and Sempron SoC chips slot into socket AM1. These three sockets exist because each of the processor lines has very different underlying architecture.

FX CPUs still require a Southbridge and Northbridge on the motherboard, APUs have an integrated Northbridge with the Southbridge on the motherboard, and AM1 Athlons and Semprons are SoC (system on chip) processors with USB and SATA controllers integrated. With all the differences between processor architectures, AMD was not able to create a universal socket that works with all of them. That all changes with Zen.

AMD announced that the upcoming Zen architecture will be sharing one socket across both the CPU and APU lineups. Socket AM4 will succeed AM3+, FM2+ and AM1 to become the only socket needed for any AMD Zen processor. The company said that each of the Zen chips will be supported by all motherboards, which will make for very clear upgrade paths from entry level to top tier hardware.

AMD also revealed the code names of both the CPU and APU that are being developed for release later this year. The Zen CPU is known as Summit Ridge and the APU is called Bristol Ridge. These processors can use the same socket because they are both SoCs and they both support DDR4.

We don’t yet know anything else about the forthcoming processors but AMD said we’ll hear more details as the launch of Zen approaches over the coming months.

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  • ingtar33
    we knew this almost 3 years ago just before the FM2+ socket was about to be released

    At that time back in late 2013 AMD said that FM2+ would be the last "split" socket from AM3+, and that the next socket would unify the structure on AM4, supporting DDR4 ram (which is how the AM sockets always have been numbered, based on the version of the ddr ram they supported)

    I guess it's nice to see their plans haven't change, but i can't help but feel like this is all too little too late at this point. The time for Zen to be launched and be relevant was probably early last year during the underwhelming broadwell release. by the time Zen comes out intel will be on the chip beyond skylake (either the refresh kaby lake or the upgrade on 10nm cannon lake), and if the promo material about Zen is to be believed it will be sitting on roughly Ivy Bridge performance (possibly Haswell level performance, though I've seen nothing to suggest it will be that good)

    the Story of post 2005 AMD. too late to the game every time. Once the core2 lineup was released it took them 3 years to find a chip that could play with it (PhenomII), we're now on year 7 of the core I lineup, and they still haven't released a product that matches sandybridge. it breaks my heart since i want AMD to be competitive but i fear AMD's management has crippled the company to the point of non-competitiveness.
  • Quixit
    Well, yeah. The only reason AM3+ is still around if because AMD skipped a generation of high-end processors, otherwise they would already have done with with FM2.
  • TechyInAZ
    Makes sence. It's pointless to have multiple sockets when you don't have a south bridge or north bridge anymore.