Motherboard Compatibility

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By now the question has probably entered your mind: Does my motherboard support the AMD Athlon XP processors? There are several factors that will contribute to the answer to that question and I’ll attempt to touch on them all here.

At the time of this article launch, the list from AMD of officially supported motherboard for the Athlon XP processors is rather small and precise. By precise I am referring to the revision numbers on many of the motherboards. Below is the list of the only official motherboards that have been AMD-approved for the Athlon XP:

Official AMD-Approved Motherboards
Model and Revision
Bios Version
A7V266 rev. 1.07
1002 Beta 005 AMD4
M7MIA rev. 2.1
M7VIB rev. 1.2
K7VTA3 rev 1.0A
K7S5A rev 3.0
AD11 rev1.2A
GA-7DX rev 4.3
GA-7ZMMH rev. 3.0
MS-6330 rev. 3.0
MS-6380 rev 1.0A
MS-6340M rev 5.0

As you can tell, that is not even close to a large majority of the boards that are currently available for the AMD Socket A platform. So what gives? The main reason why the list is small – there just hasn’t been enough time from the final revision of the XP processor to get to many of the motherboards. But, I have had long discussions with many of the motherboard manufacturers about their line of boards and what they could tell me as far as motherboard support. Please keep in mind that these are NOT officially AMD approved boards in most cases, but just that the manufacturer told me that with the latest bios upgrades and specified revisions that they can offer Athlon XP processor support.

Abit had little to say to me at this time.

Asus was able to verify that the A7A266 and A7V266 are verified at their labs and they have the bios available that offer the correct CPU ID and SSE instructions available on their website as of today.

ECS has been testing their K7S5A motherboard with the Athlon XP and say the latest bios offers all the needed changes for Athlon XP support.

Epox has three motherboards that have support for the Athlon XP – the 8K7A, 8KHA and the new 8KHA that is based on the KT266A chipset (review coming soon). Those bios are also currently available for download.

FIC has been approved on the AD11 for Athlon XP support and the bios for this option is available.

Gigabyte currently is only offering Athlon XP support for their 7DX boards revision 4.0 and higher. The bios for this board is out and ready to be downloaded.

Iwill told me that their KK266Plus and KA266Plus motherboards both have full support for the Athlon XP processors with their latest bios’ as well.

MSI says their new K7T266A and their older K7T266 boards have Athlon XP support. The support from the K7 Master is still up in the air at this time, but keep checking here or MSI for more updates.

Shuttle says that both their AK31 Rev2 and their upcoming KT266A powered AK31 Rev3 have bios’ ready to support the Athlon XP processors.

Soyo has verified that their KT266 and KT266A powered K7V Dragon and K7V Dragon Plus offer full Athlon XP support with the latest bios.

So, how come there are some motherboards being left off of this list right now? There could be one or two things behind it. First, and most easily fixed is that perhaps the bios engineers have not gotten around to adding the necessary changes to the bios’ such as enabling SSE instructions and changing CPUID tables to recognize the Athlon XP processors and correctly report them.

If you want to verify that you have SSE enabled after installing an Athlon XP processor, simply run SiSoft Sandra (or other program with CPUID options) and check to see if it tells you SSE instructions are enabled (not SSE2).

The other problem that some motherboards may be having could prove difficult to fix, if in fact the rumors and information I am getting are true. Apparently, there are some motherboards that require a new revision change to fully support the Athlon XP processor. All the information I was able to get about the problem was that there was, in some cases, a resistor value that needed to be changed and could not be done via the bios alone. I can speculate that this is in fact referring to either the boards in ability to power the processor correctly, in which cases it is the motherboards without three-phase power that will need to be modified. Another option is that the Athlon XP requires the low-pass filter on the bus of the board that was recently added by motherboard manufacturers six or so months ago. Again, these problems are still currently speculative and I have not received any verification from AMD on the subject at all. I will bring you more information as soon as I get it, so keep checking back at if your board doesn’t yet support the new Athlon XP processors.

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