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I have an old Gateway MT6450 laptop which shipped with an AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-50 processor; the CPU has the following specs:

  • dual-core
  • 1600 MHz clock speed
  • 31 W TDP
  • Socket S1

I located a Phenom II quad-core mobile processor for $45, with the following specs:

  • quad-core
  • 1800 MHz clock speed
  • 25 W TDP
  • Socket S1

Unless I'm mistaken, that processor should work in the laptop. The TDP is lower so the laptop should be able to handle the heat dissipation, the socket is the same so it should seat into the motherboard etc.

Here's the problem. I've already updated the BIOS to the latest version available from Gateway (I did that back in 2010 when the update was released). Judging by the fact that the Phenom processor was released in 2010 as well, I presume that BIOS update should have included support for those chips as well. However, when I swapped the CPUs on my board, the laptop wouldn't boot. It just powered on, flashed a couple of lights, the screen was completely blank, then it would power off and start all over again. So of course after seeing it repeat that process once, I figured I'd turn it off and swap back. So it's back up and running on the Turion chip again.

What I can't figure out is why it wouldn't POST or let me get to the BIOS or anything with the other chip in.

I checked the BIOS settings again to make sure I didn't miss anything, but there's no option for me to configure the power/bus/etc. in the BIOS so I assume it's got to be automatic based on the CPU, right?

The only thing I can think of is maybe Gateway used a board that can only support a dual-core chip? That's the one thing I hadn't considered - that the Turion chips were released in 2006 or 2007 and I don't think there was such a thing as a quad-core chip at that point, at least not outside of the server market maybe. So my fear is that the motherboard doesn't support a quad-core processor, but I don't know if that's even a limitation that is possible, or how to check that, etc.

Kudos to anyone who can help solve this little conundrum for me.

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1  
Glad to see youve done the majority of your homework. One thing you didnt mention is memory. I would recommend looking that up for both chips. Unless im mistaken, the Turion utilized DDR2 and the Phenom uses DDR3. It could very well be that the chip is incompatible even though the socket is the same. Memory design is more than likely different. Tough to put a V8 in a Geo without the supporting parts..if my analogy is not horrible. –  francisswest Oct 18 '12 at 18:48
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Ah crap. Yeah the Turion chip has a DDR2 controller and the Phenom has a DDR3 controller integrated into them. I take it a DDR3 controller isn't going to work with the 2 gigs of DDR2 ram installed in the laptop is it? –  Brian Oct 18 '12 at 18:54
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Sadly on a board that supported a turion, I wouldnt honestly be able to recommend it even if there was one. The rest of the design of those older boards is antiquated by todays performance standards. However, in this case Im thinking the only quad core that supported DDR2 was the old Intel Core 2 Quad series on the 775(or was it 1155...?) platform, it supported DDR2, and there were boards that supported Core2Duos (dual core) but didnt support the Quad Cores. Tough to remember what AMD was doing quad core wise those days.... –  francisswest Oct 18 '12 at 19:02
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Also, while the two processors use the same socket (Socket S1), they're of different generations (S1g1 for the Turion and S1g4 for the Phenom), and as the linked article says, "Different generations of processors used variant pinouts of the S1 socket; processors were not necessarily compatible with a socket even if they fit mechanically." –  Indrek Oct 18 '12 at 19:02
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If you still want to upgrade that Gateway, it should support the Turion 64 X2 TL-64 (2.2 GHz), and possibly also the TL-68 (2.4 GHz). –  Indrek Oct 18 '12 at 19:12

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The reason your laptop won't boot is because the Phenom CPU is electrically (though not physically) incompatible with the socket on the motherboard. Despite the fact that they both use Socket S1, they use different pinouts. The motherboard is designed to accept older processors like the Turion (which uses the S1g1 pinout), and newer processors like the Phenom (which uses S1g4) aren't compatible.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socket_S1:

Different generations of processors used variant pinouts of the S1 socket; processors were not necessarily compatible with a socket even if they fit mechanically.

If you want to upgrade your laptop, the best you can do is either the Turion 64 X2 TL-64 (2.2 GHz), or possibly the TL-68 (2.4 GHz). The latter uses a newer 65 nm process, whereas the TL-64 and your current TL-50 are 90 nm, but they all use the S1g1 socket, so should be compatible. You won't, however, find a quad-core processor that works in your laptop.

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