AM3 Vs AM3+ | Which Is Better & Why?

AM3 Vs AM3+
AM3 Vs AM3+

AM3 Vs AM3+ the Question of which is better a valid one. There are definite distinctions between the two that set them apart from each other.

The original AM3 socket was designed for the Phenom II processors. These processors used DDR2 memory and generally ran at lower clock speeds than the current FX series processors.

The AM3+ socket was introduced with the release of the FX series processors utilizing DDR3 memory and higher clock speeds.

AMD’s AM3 and AM3+ CPU sockets belong to the 939 form factor (also known as m-ATX). They are both electrically identical.

AM3+ motherboards can support certain tweaks, overclocking, and CPUs that require more power than what is available on an AM3 board.

However, this difference does not make much of a difference for 99% of people out there. So AM3 Vs AM3+ which one should you pick? Let us explain:

Performance: AM3 And AM3+ Perfomance

For most users out there (including gamers), the extra performance boost you get from using an AM3+ CPU is not going to be worth it for the hassle of upgrading your motherboard and risking frying it in the process.

For another thing, AMD has not made any significant improvements to their CPUs since they released the FX-8350, and AMD’s line of processors is getting quite stale. 

AMD has already dropped support for AM3+ sockets in their latest Ryzen chips and we do not expect them to release new CPUs for it anytime soon.

You’re better off with an AM3 CPU and waiting for the prices to drop (and stay low).

Price: AM3 Vs AM3+ Price Comparision

Since AMD has already dropped support for AM3+, you can find newer and faster CPUs at a much lower price than what you’d pay if you were buying an AM3+ processor.

You’ll also want to keep your motherboard as long as possible for maximum resale value.

If you were planning on overclocking, there is not much of a point in getting an AM3+ board since all of them use the same voltages that are available on their normal counterparts. 

AMD chips simply do not require more voltage than what they ship with and therefore will not benefit from higher voltages aside from mild performance boosts.

So, in terms of price and performance, AM3+ CPUs do not make much sense for most users.

Features: AM3 And AM3+ Difference

In case you were arranging on utilizing the most recent AMD CPUs with an AM3+ motherboard, you’re out of a good fortune.

The earliest motherboards that support AMD’s FM2+ sockets also work with their latest Ryzen processors.

So if you do not want to upgrade your motherboard, simply look for a board that supports FM2+.

If all of this does not sound good enough yet, there is more bad news. AM3+ boards are not without flaws either.

Some companies released BIOS updates to support certain FX-8350 CPUs but they caused tons of problems for people who installed them on their systems.

Most users reported crashes and black screens when trying to install Windows so most major manufacturers have dropped support for a said update.

Bottom-line:

If you were planning on overclocking your CPU, we’d suggest getting an AM3+ motherboard just to be safe and future-proof your build.

If you aren’t overclocking and want a fast chip that is still supported by AMD’s current lineup, we’d recommend sticking with the tried and tested AM3 design.

It’ll save money and give you peace of mind knowing that your motherboard won’t suddenly get discontinued without warning (like what happened to NVidia).

Also, if you ever wanted to upgrade or sell your rig later on down the road, it will be easier since AM3/AM2/FM2/FM1 CPUs and motherboards will still be widely used.

Peace of Mind:

If you want a long-lasting system, using an AM3 board makes more sense. AMD has been supporting it for years now and there are plenty of compatible CPUs to choose from.

If you plan on going with an AM3+ motherboard, there is a possibility that they might not support the latest Ryzen processors months after launch as AMD will drop support for newer chipsets in future generations.

In this case, if your old 990FX motherboard suddenly becomes unsupported by new AM4 Ryzen CPUs then any investment into it is wasted money.

It’s highly unlikely that technology will advance far enough by 2020 – 2021 so a few years down the line it may become useless.

This gives us of mind knowing we have a system for life and we will not be forced into upgrading it down the road.

For all these reasons, we recommend using an AM3+ motherboard only if you plan on building a high-end desktop and value performance and future upgradability over peace of mind and monetary savings.

If you’re just an ordinary consumer who just wants to play games or use your PC as a workstation, then there is no reason to risk frying something by overclocking it or paying more for those extra features that most people will never need.

AMD’s FX line of CPUs was built with enthusiasts (gamers & power users) in mind but new Ryzen series processors are designed for mainstream consumers.

This means they require less effort to stay cool inside and can be easily overclocked to perform as well as some of the older more costly FX processors.

AM3+ Give You More?

It only gives future-proofing if there is something you wish to do in the future that requires it.

An example would be using multiple graphics cards which you will not benefit from if you are happy playing games at 720P or lower resolutions(for optimal gaming quality).

Apart from that AM3 boards have been proven more reliable than their newer counterparts so buying an 8-year-old CPU from AMD instead of a brand new one for the extra power is just not worth it compared to spending $30 on an AM3+ board.

On the other hand, if you want to overclock, then AM3+ would be more beneficial since it has higher guaranteed OC limits (not that this makes much of a difference) and some motherboards can support BIOS updates which allow for better-overclocking potential. If you think that AM3+ is best for you but wonder why are they so expensive then you should check our article Why Are AM3+ Motherboards So Expensive?

AM3 Vs AM3+ | Conclusion:

An AM3 motherboard can offer everything you need from a home PC or an entry-level gaming PC without any hassle. It’s cheaper & more reliable than AM3+.

AMD doesn’t seem to be developing CPUs for this socket anymore so we do not recommend buying an FX chip for your next system build – Stick with Intel instead as they are more reliable for high-end processors.

If you intend on overclocking and want to do it with an AMD CPU, then you should opt for AM3+.

If you want to take advantage of multi-GPUs, you’re better off with an AM3+ board as well.

I hope this article was helpful for you to know AM3 Vs AM3+ | Which Is Better & Why?

Leave a Comment