New motherboard/data channels?


D

Dave C.

I'm looking to replace my motherboard. I'm an Asus gal, I love their
boards and won't use anything else. I'm the same about my AMD
processors :).

Since I have a perfectly good AM2 processor and 4 gigs of DDR2 RAM,
I'm thinking I might stick with them.

I'm considering the ASUS M4A79 Deluxe.

When checking the reviews on Tiger Direct, I ran across this comment:

"AM3 uses three data channels. The ASUS M4A79 Delux only has two
channels. A true AM3 Motherboard uses DDR3 memory wich has three
channels. AM3 is backward compatible to work with ASUS M4A79 Delux.
The ASUS M4A79 will never use all three data chanels of the AM3."

I'm not very hardware saavy, but I do learn :). What are the data
channels and do I really care if I'm missing one?

Gwen

Data is moved around the mainboard between various components via a data bus. There can be more than one. The "channels" you are asking about are data buses, or pieces of data buses.

To move from two channel data to three channel data is like upgrading the highway from two lanes each way to three lanes each way. Traffic will likely flow smoother/faster, whether that traffic is cars or ones and zeros.

Should you care? No. Not unless you intend to upgrade to an AM3 processor and triple-channel memory someday. But if that day comes, you will probably want to replace your mainboard (again) anyway.

If you think that the M4A79 Delux is a good fit, buy it. Don't worry about the data channels. Two channels is good for the processor and RAM you intend to use. -Dave
 
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S

Susan Miller

I'm looking to replace my motherboard. I'm an Asus gal, I love their
boards and won't use anything else. I'm the same about my AMD
processors :).

Since I have a perfectly good AM2 processor and 4 gigs of DDR2 RAM,
I'm thinking I might stick with them.

I'm considering the ASUS M4A79 Deluxe.

When checking the reviews on Tiger Direct, I ran across this comment:

"AM3 uses three data channels. The ASUS M4A79 Delux only has two
channels. A true AM3 Motherboard uses DDR3 memory wich has three
channels. AM3 is backward compatible to work with ASUS M4A79 Delux.
The ASUS M4A79 will never use all three data chanels of the AM3."

I'm not very hardware saavy, but I do learn :). What are the data
channels and do I really care if I'm missing one?

Gwen
 
M

Mike Easter

Susan said:
I'm looking to replace my motherboard. I'm an Asus gal, I love their
boards and won't use anything else. I'm the same about my AMD
processors :).

Since I have a perfectly good AM2 processor and 4 gigs of DDR2 RAM,
I'm thinking I might stick with them.

I'm considering the ASUS M4A79 Deluxe.

When checking the reviews on Tiger Direct, I ran across this comment:

"AM3 uses three data channels. The ASUS M4A79 Delux only has two
channels. A true AM3 Motherboard uses DDR3 memory wich has three
channels. AM3 is backward compatible to work with ASUS M4A79 Delux.
The ASUS M4A79 will never use all three data chanels of the AM3."

I'm not very hardware saavy, but I do learn :). What are the data
channels and do I really care if I'm missing one?

The issue is actually the use of DDR3 vs DDR2.

You are planning on using AM2 & DDR2 instead of AM3 and DDR3.

The wiki has a good discussion of the strengths of DDR3 vs DDR2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ddr3 "The primary benefit of DDR3 is the
ability to transfer at twice the data rate of DDR2 (I/O at 8× the data
rate of the memory cells it contains), thus enabling higher bus rates
and higher peak rates than earlier memory technologies."
 
B

Bob Knowlden

You might check the official CPU support list for the board, to see whether
yours is there:

http://support.asus.com/cpusupport/cpusupport.aspx?model=M4A79 Deluxe&SLanguage=en-us

(Looks like the board supports many AM2 and AM3 CPUs.)

I'm not sure about the comment at Tiger Direct. If I understand it
correctly, it's false. The AM3 Athlons are dual channel, like the AM2 chips.
AM3 adds support for DDR3, though. (It can also be used with DDR2, like on
the M4A79 Deluxe.)

Maybe the poster was confused by the Intel Core I7 CPU: it supports DDR3 in
single, dual, and triple channel modes. The Core I7 was Intel's first
desktop CPU with an integrated memory controller. (AMD had had one for
years.) The new Core I5 CPUs support DDR3, but they're dual channel. There
were also Socket 775 boards that supported DDR3, in dual channel. As far as
I know, there's no fundamental link between DDR3 and triple channel. DDR3
and DDR2 appear to very similar, although DDR3 has higher available clock
frequencies, and they are completely physically incompatible (different RAM
slot keys).

Why do you wish to replace your motherboard? Sounds like you're not looking
for a performance upgrade.
 
M

Mike Easter

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P

Paul

Susan said:
I'm looking to replace my motherboard. I'm an Asus gal, I love their
boards and won't use anything else. I'm the same about my AMD
processors :).

Since I have a perfectly good AM2 processor and 4 gigs of DDR2 RAM,
I'm thinking I might stick with them.

I'm considering the ASUS M4A79 Deluxe.

When checking the reviews on Tiger Direct, I ran across this comment:

"AM3 uses three data channels. The ASUS M4A79 Delux only has two
channels. A true AM3 Motherboard uses DDR3 memory wich has three
channels. AM3 is backward compatible to work with ASUS M4A79 Delux.
The ASUS M4A79 will never use all three data chanels of the AM3."

I'm not very hardware saavy, but I do learn :). What are the data
channels and do I really care if I'm missing one?

Gwen

This is a general structure for the modern AMD processors.
They are two channel. You have to be careful, about what
processors support which memory standards. The CPUSupport
chart on the Asus site, can help verify you're mixing the
right processor with the motherboard. Checking the advert,
to see the memory type, tells you whether the board will
work with your memory. Newegg says that board is DDR2, so you can
reuse your DDR2 memory.

+------------------+
| AM2/AM2+/AM3 |
+------------------+
| |
Channel 0 Channel 1
| |
+--DIMM +--DIMM
| |
+--DIMM +--DIMM

DDR2 DIMM Voltage = 1.8V
DDR3 DIMM Voltage = 1.5V <--- Available on AM3

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socket_AM2

This is my best guess at a summary (I cannot find a nice
article, showing what the split plane powers and so on).

AM2 - one power plane, HT 2.0 standard
AM2+ - split power plane (two power supplies to CPU)
HT 3.0 standard
AM3 - split power plane (two power supplies to CPU)
Presumably HT 3.0 standard.
Support for DDR2 and DDR3 (motherboard design choice).

Core i7 looks like this, and uses DDR3 memory.

+-------------------------------+
| LGA1366 |
+-------------------------------+
| | |
Channel 0 Channel 1 Channel 2
| | |
+--DIMM +--DIMM +--DIMM
| | |
+--DIMM +--DIMM +--DIMM

Intel has launched Core i5 (LGA1156), but (yawn), it isn't
worth drawing a diagram. Core i5 returns to dual channel design.

HTH,
Paul
 
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