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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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Kevin Carbotte is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews of graphics cards and virtual reality hardware.