A ServeTheHome forum user has teased a Socket SP5 (LGA6096) motherboard for AMD's upcoming EPYC Genoa processors. The photograph seemingly confirms that Genoa will arrive with 12-channel DDR5 support, opening the gate to running up to 12TB of high-speed memory on a single motherboard.
The mysterious motherboard features an E-ATX form factor to house the elephantine Socket SP5. However, it appears to an engineering sample of a dual-socket platform, meaning it has two Socket SP5 and 24 DDR5 memory slots instead of the 12 DDR5 memory slots on a normal motherboard. The Socket SP5 seemingly contains 6,096 contacts. The Socket SP3, which accommodates AMD's EPYC Naples, Rome and Milan chips, only has 4,094 contacts, so the Socket SP5 represents a 49% increase in contacts. The substantial boost in socket size accounts for Genoa's enhanced attributes, including 96 Zen 4 cores, DDR5 support and PCIe 5.0 support. In addition, Socket SP5 will continue to support Bergamo, Genoa's successor, which will see the core count jump up to 128 cores.
AMD had confirmed that Genoa would support DDR5, but the chipmaker didn't delve into the specifics. However, an AMD driver and a Gigabyte hack lent credence to the rumor that Genoa would support 12 memory channels. In addition, the latest photograph provides further evidence of the original tale.
AMD's EPYC processors have always supported up to eight memory channels. With the current density that DDR4 offers, the maximum capacity was 4TB per chip. That's already a lot; however, Genoa will allow up to 12TB. But, of course, you won't get there with ordinary DDR5 DIMMs. So instead, we're looking at 3DS DIMMs, which are 3D stacked DIMMs using Through Silicon Vias (TSVs) technology.
Genoa will not only enjoy higher memory capacity, but the 5 nm data center chips will also take advantage of the benefits that DDR5 offers. AMD's current EPYC Milan processors do DDR4-3200 out of the box. If the rumors are accurate, Genoa could debut with DDR5-5200 support. Nonetheless, the data rate will depend tremendously on the type of DIMMs, memory ranks and the number of memory slots you fill. If maxed out at 12TB, we suspect the supported data rate would drop between DDR5-3600 to DDR5-4000, similar to how DDR5 works on Intel's consumer Alder Lake chips.
AMD confirmed in its Genoa presentation that the company had already sampled 5nm processors for various customers, which would explain how the photograph of the Socket SP5 motherboard leaked out. Although AMD didn't commit to a specific launch date, Genoa should be here before the year is over.