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Bulldozer compatible 990FX boards hit the shelves

Retailers have pre-empted the launch of Bulldozer-compatible AM3+ boards featuring AMD's top-end 990FX chipset, releasing motherboards from several vendors for sale before they are even officially announced.

Boards from companies including Gigabyte, MSI, and Asus have appeared for sale throughout the world - with reviews going live on various technology sites shortly after in response.

With the official launch of the Asus 990FX AM3+ motherboards not due until later today - at a press event in Taipei held to coincide with Computex - it appears that the company's big announcement has been leaked ahead of schedule for the second time in as many days, after images of its Padfone device were spread far and wide by persons unknown.

Board prices start at around £110 for the base models, which include six ports with full SATA 6Gb/s support via the included AMD, SB950 chip, USB 3.0 support, in-built RAID, and full support for both 45nm and 32nm AM3 and AM3+ processors. The boards also boast full overclocking capabilities when paired with the unlocked FX-series Bulldozer processors.

The release of the boards' details also confirms an open secret: AMD will be launching its Bulldozer line under the FX-series branding, ditching its long-running Phenom naming system.

While the Bulldozer chips aren't yet available to purchase - making AM3+ boards somewhat redundant - unconfirmed reports have surfaced of quantities of eight-core FX-8130P chips, running at 3.8GHz and automatically overclocking to 4.2GHz when running single-threaded applications, appearing for sale in China.

AMD has invited thinq_ to a gathering in Taipei on Wednesday, but currently refuses to state why. With AM3+ boards already available for sale, and certain Bulldozer chips cropping up, it's almost certain that the company will be announced imminent availability of the processors.