880GM-LE (non FX release) bulldozer compatibility - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community
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880GM-LE (non FX release) bulldozer compatibility

 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I was wondering if anyone knew if the 1.70 BIOS release adds AM3+ support to this board. The 880GM-LE FX appears to be identical, aside from different text:
880GM-LE
880GM-LE FX

It doesn't even look like the BIOS chip changed. Or to make it more weird - it doesn't even look like the FX's socket has the additional pin, while it is an AM3+ compatible board. I don't want to risk ruining this board by using the BIOS from the FX series unless someone knows for a fact it works with some proof.

Any suggestions?

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 08:23 AM
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Based on the official CPU compatibility list from Asrock they don't have those CPU's listed on the base model, so it may just be a crapshoot.

I wouldn't put anything more than a 4100 in there based on VRM, though.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Right but since they seem to be physically identical, should that even matter? The only techincal detail I've noticed is the non-FX board supports faster RAM, but that's mostly because the FX processors have a limitation. Like I said, I don't want to take a chance and screw up the whole thing (especially since I don't even have an FX processor to test with) I'm just wondering if anyone has attempted this with success.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 10:32 AM
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I loaded the FX BIOS onto a flash drive for my HTPC running this non-FX board for laughs.
Apparently the existing BIOS checks the files themselves and will not display the FX bios as a flashable image.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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well, are you using the update utility built into the board or are you using a dos or windows utility? I don't want you ruining your board just to prove if this is doable or not, but I feel like asrock would have designed the fx bios like that deliberately.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-23-2020, 03:39 AM
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I know that this will be considered some hardcore necroposting, however I thought it would be interesting for this never-to-be-answered question to actually find its solution.

A brief comparison

I happen to have both a 880GM-LE and a 880GM-LE FX. Interesting thing is, at appears to be the exact same board. Not just similar physically, but exact same. The 880GM-LE FX is an identical PCB to 880GM-LE, down to even being the same revision, and the "FX" model name is just a paper sticker over the original 880GM-LE name. The same goes for the "AM3+" text, it's just a paper sticker over "AM3" printed on the PCB. Of course "8 core CPU support" is also just a paper sticker.

The photos on AsRock website for the non-FX version are bad for comparison, since they're of an old revision. Just imagine the non-FX board being identical to FX version but without the paper stickers and a couple more cap spots populated on the board.

Yes, the only visible difference on the pcb itself is cost-cutting, as they cheaped out and didn't install some of the electrolytic caps in the VRM section on the FX board.

The actual answer
So, does the FX BIOS work on the non FX board? It absolutely (almost) does! However, I had to flash it using a flash chip programmer rather than software, for reasons mentioned by previous posters.
**BUT** Why "almost"? It boots and recognizes itself as the 880GM-LE FX board, but only if you have an AM3 CPU installed.
It works only until you put in an actual FX CPU. Then the fans just spin up, and nothing happens, no beeps, no video. Dead.

That was quite unexpected TBH! After all it's the exact same board, with the only visible differences being paper stickers and a different bios flashed into the chip. I really doubt more or less electrolytic caps would affect compatibility in any way, if anything I'd expect the FX board to have more caps, not the other way around.

My current hypothesis is that perhaps the non-FX board has some of the socket pins not soldered? Some small caps underneath the socket are missing maybe? It's the same PCB mask so all the traces themselves should be there. This could be an answer as to why AM3+ CPUs were not compatible with AM3 despite initial information than they would be: Motherboard manufacturers might've cheaped out on the boards, not making them to full AM3 specs and only connecting things that the currently existing CPUs needed.

Currently I'm unable to investigate this further, since the FX motherboard is still being used in a family member's multimedia PC, but who knows, after another several years I may come back with the definite answer to this question.

PS. despite the crap VRMs the board has been (and still is) running OC'd FX-6300 for several years, so perhaps we're misjudging a bit what kind of VRMs some CPUs actually need.
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