On April 27th, AMD Corp. was launching Phenom II X6 processors and, at the same time, its new 8-series chipsets. Industry sources now report that the new SB850 southbridge, one of two parts making up the chipsets, is available in limited quantities to motherboard manufacturers. According to Digitimes, the shortage is caused by limited production capacity for the 55nm process at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Furthermore, AMD will be delaying the release of its value-oriented SB810 part, which is also expected to be fabricated on 55nm at TSMC.
The new 8-series chipsets lineup include 870, 880G, 890GX and 890FX products. The 880G and 890GX northbridges implement a DX10.1-compliant graphics core derived from the one featured on the 785G chipset released last year, but integrated graphics processor (IGP) operating frequencies have been revised. The 870 and 890FX chipsets, based on the 770 and 790FX northbridges, lack the IGP and are aiming at the discrete graphics segment. As northbridges are mostly the same as the ones from 7-series products, most of the new features found in 8-series chipsets, namely native SATA3 support, are held in the new southbridge.
Motherboard manufacturers will be using previous generation 7-series southbridges in some of their 8-series motherboards until supply shortages are resolved. The most important part of the new series of AMD chipsets, the SB850 and SB810, will therefore be missing from some motherboards branded as 8-series products. The situation might last until September, according to information obtained by Digitimes.