In an effort to promote its AM3+ motherboards over the current AM3 solutions that will support AMD's Bulldozer processors via a BIOS update, ASRock has disclosed the main differences between the two CPU sockets revealing that the former uses wider pin-holes as well as better voltage regulation.According to the ASRock marketing material, the AM3+ pin-holes measure 0.51mm, in comparison with the 0.45mm of AM3, and were specially designed to allow for durability and improved power delivery.
As a result, the CPU can now draw up to 145A of current through the socket (110A for AM3), a change that ASRock claims it will eliminate any power shortage issues.
The revised electrical specifications of the socket also include support for a different VID, as AM3+ chips use a 3.4 MHz VID while AM3 socket can only handle a 400 KHz VID.
This will be accompanied by a more advanced load-line design that minimizes vDroop by monitoring the electrical loads placed on the CPU and keeping voltages within a stable range.
All these changes, together with ASRock's implementation of the socket in its new AM3+ motherboards, should lower the electrical noise of the current sent to the processor by up to 22%.
Finally, with the release of AM3+, AMD chose to go with a redesigned CCR (Combo Cooler Retention Module) that is made up of two separate retention modules to ensure air blown downwards by top-flow coolers makes its way to the board's VRM circuitry.
According to one of the slides released by ASRock, the Taiwanese company plans to launch nine new Zambezi FX AM3+ motherboards based on the AMD 800-series chipsets.
To differentiate themselves from their AM3 counterparts, AM3+ motherboards use a black socket design which is clearly marked as "AM3b."
ASRock hasn't stated if their AM3+ motherboards are able to support the new power-gating functions introduced in the Bulldozer CPUs, but a recent report suggests these will only be compatible with AMD 900-series boards. (via TechPowerUp)