A-Series CPUs, like all AMD CPUs since the Athlon 64, have an integrated memory controller. This controller supports dual-channel memory architecture, but what is new is the official support for DDR3 memories up to 1,866 MHz at 1.5 V. (In our review, however, we used DDR3-1333 parts.)
All models have an L1 memory cache of 128 KB (64 KB for instructions and 64 KB for data) per core and an L2 memory cache of 1 MB per core.
Not all A-Series CPUs will support AMD’s Turbo Core technology, which is the equivalent of Intel’s Turbo Boost. This technology allows the CPU to increase its clock rate if applications are demanding more processing power. In the A-Series line-up, the models ending with “50” don’t have this feature, which is the case of the model we are reviewing.
A new feature for AMD processors is the addition of a PCI Express 2.0 controller inside the CPU. This controller is capable of accessing one PCI Express x16 slot running at x16 speed or two PCI Express x16 slots running at x8 each. In addition, it has four x1 general-purpose PCI Express lanes, which can be used to drive PCI Express x1 slots or other on-board components. More PCI Express lanes are available on the chipset. The current chipsets available for this platform, the A55 and the A75, support four x1 PCI Express lanes.
Speaking of chipsets, AMD is releasing two chipsets for this new platform, the A55 and the A75. Both are single-chip solutions. The A55 is an entry-level solution, supporting six SATA-300 ports, 14 USB 2.0 ports, and the four x1 PCI Express lanes already mentioned. The A75 is a high-end solution, with six SATA-600 ports, four USB 3.0 ports (making it the first chipset with an integrated USB 3.0 controller), eSATA port multiplier (“FIS-based switching,” which allows you to install more than one hard drive to a single SATA port; click here to understand more) and the other features found on the A55.
The new A-Series CPUs are based on a new 905-pin socket, called FM1. (You will see this socket being referred to as having 937 pins, but this information is incorrect.) In Figure 6, you can see how this new socket looks. It supports the same CPU coolers as sockets AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, etc.