Socket AM2, AM2+, and AM3 compatibility matrix

AMD's desktop processors have migrated from Socket AM2 to Socket AM2+, and will eventually be migrating again to Socket AM3. AMD has tried to preserve some compatibility between the various sockets, with imperfect results. So just what can you mix and match?

In other words, are these combinations compatible?

Socket compatibility matrix
AM2 AM2+ AM3
Processor AM2 Yes Yes No
AM2+ With BIOS update Yes No
AM3 With BIOS update Should be Yes

Compatibility of Socket AM2+ and AM3 processors with Socket AM2 motherboards is technically possible according to AMD, but can require BIOS updates from the motherboard manufacturer. When manufacturers fail to make such updates available, there may be compatibility problems.

Socket AM3 processors are expected to be compatible with Socket AM2+ motherboards (most likely with a BIOS update). Because there are not yet any Socket AM3 processors available, there is no way to be certain. Stay tuned.

Any combination of newer and older hardware will be limited by the older hardware. Socket AM2+ allows the use of faster HyperTranpsort links, and a split power plane that puts the processor's integrated memory controller on a separate power plane from its cores. With Socket AM3 comes support for DDR3 memory (Socket AM3 processors will have both a DDR2 memory controller and a DDR3 memory controller).

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