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What Is Socket AM2?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
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  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2016
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The AMD® socket AM2 is a socket soldered to the motherboard, which allows central processing unit (CPU) hardware to function with the computer. Made as a direct upgrade from the previous socket 754 and socket 939, the socket AM2 — which was replaced by the AM3 in 2009 — had a larger memory-bandwidth-carrying ability. It also featured a midway upgrade called the AM2+, which improved on these features even more. This socket contains 940 pins and, while many earlier CPUs can fit the socket, they will not work. Under the correct conditions, both AM2 and AM2+ can be installed on the same computer and can operate together for powerful computing functionality.

The socket AM2 came equipped with 940 pinholes, and the CPUs came with the same number of pins. Many of the earlier AMD® CPUs fit this pin configuration but only AM2-specified CPUs will work. This is because the pin configuration is slightly different, so the electrical contacts will not match up and the CPU will be unable to activate.

Socket AM2 speeds range from 1.8 gigahertz (GHz) up to 3.6 GHz, with most of the CPUs falling into the middle of this range, around 2.4 or 2.6 GHz. With the AM2+ upgrade, the speed ramped up to anywhere from 2.8 to 4.2 GHz. This socket was made for desktop CPUs and had no mobile CPUs for laptop or mobile computers.

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There are six main CPU releases for the AM2 connector. This lineup includes the Athlon 64®, Athlon 64 X2®, Athlon 64 FX®, Opteron®, Sempron®, and the Phenom®. The CPU thickness, depending on the CPU model, ranged from 65 nanometers to 90 nanometers.

The socket AM2 received an upgrade, called the AM2+, before the AM3 was released. This new socket increased memory transfer rates and also operated at higher speeds. While the socket is somewhat different, both AM2 and AM2+ can work simultaneously. Operating at the same time can only be done on computer platforms that have the correct basic input output system (BIOS) software for such interoperability.

This socket was intended for high-end users who needed powerful CPUs but did not have the money for more powerful sockets. Only desktop CPUs could be used in this socket. If looking for a mobile CPU, the Socket S1 was needed instead, and socket F was needed for servers. Both the AM2 and AM2+ were completely replaced by the socket AM3 in 2009.

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