Gigabyte lauches first Bulldozer-friendly boards

Gigabyte has announced that it is the first to market with AM3+ motherboards suitable for AMD's upcoming Bulldozer line of processors, launching sixteen new boards with guaranteed compatibility.

Despite being based on existing AMD 800 and 700 series chipsets, Gigabyte claims the new boards - dubbed 'Black Socket' in order to offer at-a-glance differentiation from the company's existing AM3 motherboard range - will support all the new features of the AM3+ standard due to launch with AMD's Bulldozer CPUs later this year.

While it's impossible to test out Gigabyte's claims - unless you're one of the lucky few to have got your hands on an early engineering sample, which are currently popping up in hardware partners' hands - the new boards include full backwards compatibility with exiting AM3-based processors, making them an easy choice for users wanting to future-proof a new build.

The Bulldozer line, which will launch later this year, is AMD's attempt to fight back against Intel's Sandy Bridge processors - which have proven incredibly successful with mainstream and enthusiast users, despite some early chipset flaws that saw many motherboards recalled.

At the high end of Gigabyte's 'Black Socket' range is the GA-890FXA-UD5, a board based on AMD's 890FX northbridge with SB850 southbridge - the chipset of choice for overclockers and performance enthusiasts. Models based on 890GX, 990G, 870, and 770 chipsets are also available - while budget models based on the 760G with an SB710 southbridge are 'coming soon,' the company has claimed.

While Gigabyte might be the first to market with Bulldozer-compatible motherboards, it certainly won't be the last - and if AMD's latest processors prove as competitive to Intel's offerings as the company is suggesting, it's a market which is set to get very interesting later this year.