New A-Series Desktop Platform: Out Goes Lynx, In Comes Virgo
The New A-Series Desktop Platform Called 'Virgo'
With the introduction of the new Trinity desktop APU series, AMD has created a new socket called the FM2. This means that in order to utilize the Trinity desktop APU, one would have to purchase a corresponding Socket FM2 motherboard. Note that the older Socket FM1 APUs cannot be used with these new motherboards and neither can the new Trinity APUs be installed in the old FM1 socket based boards. However, in a move that is bound to confuse some consumers, AMD has also reintroduced existing motherboard chipsets, the AMD A55 and A75 that will work with the new FM2 socket.
Usually, socket changes come about when new power specs and voltage standards are used and incompatibilities like these are created to ensure mix-ups aren't possible. The chipset on the other hand, is still relevant since they will communicate with the APUs in the same manner as previously. This is why, they've been recycled for use on the new FM2 boards as well.
Joining the existing A55 and A75 chipsets is the new AMD A85X chipset which is the high-end option to target users who want to use an FM2 APU with dual discrete GPUs in a CrossFire configuration. So while AMD Dual Graphics technology is supported across all chipsets to utilize a hybrid form of CrossFire between the integrated GPU and supported discrete GPUs, the full fledged CrossFire support with multiple discrete GPUs is only supported on the AMD A85X chipset. This is because of the PCIe lane configuration support that's more flexible on the AMD A85X. All three chipsets support PCIe Gen 2.0. Here's how the three class of chipsets compare for the AMD FM2 processors:-
Another points to note that with support for FIS-based switching, owners of either a AMD 75 and A85X board is able to utilize one of their designated eSATA port as a hub and increase the number of eSATA ports their system can support, just like a USB hub. This will only appeal to users who have a slew of eSATA devices. For your information, we've managed to obtain some pricing information with regards to the top-end A85X boards and they should be priced in the range of S$138 to S$240. To get an idea of the breath of products and varieties available for this new socket, you might want to check our AMD FM2 Socket Based Motherboard Gallery compiled from Computex 2012.