Am3 Vs Am3+ Vs Am4 Socket Motherboards: Best CPU in 2023

Computer shop windows are full of goods. Each piece of iron, gleaming with glossy sides, as if whispers to the buyer: “Buy me, I’m more modern, more technological, cooler. With me, your computer will just fly”

Eyes run-up, I want both. But how to find exactly “your” device without spending extra money?  So which is better: socket Am3 Vs Am3+ Vs Am4.

am3 vs am3 vs am4
am3 vs am3 vs am4

SUMMARY TABLE: Am3 Vs Am3+ Vs Am4 Motherbord socket

Comparison of sockets of different types and generations is usually done by comparing their older processor models. For AM3 it is AMD Phenom II X6 1100T, for AM3 +  AMD FX-9590 , for AM4 AMD Ryzen 7 2700X.

Kernel nameThubanVisheraPinnacle ridge
Release year200920132018
Technical process45 nm32 nm12 nm
# Of cores/threads6/68/88/16
L3 cache size6 Mb8 Mb16 Mb
Basic/max. frequency3300/3700 ​​MHz4700/5000 MHz3700/4300 MHz
Generation of memoryDDR3DDR3DDR4
Min / Max RAM frequency800/1333 MHz1066/1866 MHz1600/2933 MHz
Max. amount of RAM32 Gb128 Gb128 Gb
PCI-E version2.02.03.0
System speed tires5.2 GT / s5.2 GT / sUp to 16 GT / s
TDP125 W220 W105 W

As you can see from the table, the AM4 has the best performance/energy efficiency ratio. Systems based on processors of this generation are the fastest and most technologically advanced, but they also cost about 2-10 times higher than their predecessors. In addition, they are not very compatible with Windows 7, which many users still use. Adherents of the “7” will not have to abandon it altogether, but in order for it to work on a computer with AM4, you need to tinker.

Processors and boards AM3 and AM3 + can be purchased at a very attractive price, but, as a rule, from hands, since they are no longer brought to stores, and if something remains somewhere, then in a limited assortment. The hardware of this generation has no “misunderstanding” with Windows 7, but modern games and software designed for DDR4 speed and other technologies of recent years will not be able to reveal their potential on it. And you will have to pay more for electricity.

AM3 socket Motherboards

A socket is a processor socket. The brand, generation, and model of processors can be connected to the motherboard depending on its configuration.

Sockets AM3, AM3+, and AM4 are designed for AMD brand CPUs, and the global differences between them are due to the properties of the supported processors and to some extent – the motherboards that are equipped with them.

Socket AM3, otherwise called socket 941 by the number of pins on the board, is intended for the following lines of desktop CPUs of the K10.5 series:

  • Phenom II (X2, X3, X4, X6) with 2 to 6 cores.
  • Athlon II (X2, X3, X4) with 1 to 4 cores.
  • Sempron with 1 to 2 cores.

In 2019, the AM3 interface celebrated its 10th anniversary. It differs from its predecessor, AM2, by its support for dual-channel DDR3 memory and a higher bandwidth of the HyperTransport bus, which is used to exchange data between the processor and the chipset.

Certain Socket AM3 motherboards can work with AM3 + processors (excluding AMD FX) after a BIOS update. Check out detail comparison of LGA 2011 Vs LGA 1151 Sockets.

3 best Processors for am3 socket motherboard

Socket AM3 motherboards are compatible with both low-end budget devices like the Sempron 180 and Athlon II X2 215, as well as the top-end series of unlocked CPUs.

best processors for am3 socket motherboards
best processors for am3 socket motherboards

The most productive of them:

  • AMD Phenom II X6 1100 Black Edition is a 3.3 GHz 6-core Thuban processor with Turbo Core overclocking capability up to 3.7 GHz. The model allows manual overclocking by a multiplier from x16.5 to x18.5 and supports AMD-V hardware virtualization. It does not have a built-in video core. Compatible with DDR2 400-1066 and DDR3-800-1333 RAM, the maximum amount of supported memory is 16 Gb.
  • AMD Phenom II X6 1090 Black Edition differs from Phenom II X6 1100T in a lower frequency – 3.2 GHz with the ability to overclock up to 3.6 GHz both due to Turbo Core and by increasing the multiplier from x16 to x18.
  • AMD Phenom II X4  980 Black Edition is the most powerful quad-core processor in the Thuban line. It has a frequency of 3.7 GHz with the ability to overclock by a multiplier (x18) up to 4.1 GHz. There is no support for Turbo Core technology and embedded video, there is support for AMD-V. Works with DDR2 400-1066 and DDR3-800-1333 memory with a maximum capacity of 16 Gb.

The Intel Core i7-950, Intel Core i7-940, Intel Core i7-930, Intel Core i7-870 and Intel Core i7-860 processors are the closest in performance to the Phenom II X6 and Phenom II X4 processors.

3 best am3 socket motherboards

ASRock 890 GX Extreme 3 is a functional and inexpensive ATX motherboard based on AMD 890GX + SB850 chipset with a powerful ATI Radeon HD 4290 video controller and four DDR3 RAM slots. Onboard: PCI Express 2.0 controller, 7.1 audio based on the VIA VT2020 codec, Ethernet 1 Gbit / s, 14 USB connectors, including 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 FireWire ports, 1 eSATA port, optical S / PDIF output, D monitor connectors -Sub, HDMI and DVI, PS / 2 mouse and keyboard connector, internal PCI-E x16 (3), PCI-E x1 (1), PCI (3), SATA 6 Gb / s (6) slots.

The board has good overclocking potential and makes an ideal combination with the six- and four-core AMD Phenom II Black Edition processors.

ASUS M4 A89 GTD PRO / USB3 is an ATX technology motherboard. Equipped with a hardware Turbo Key II switch, which is designed to safely overclock the processor. Has a BIOS emergency recovery function and a MemOK button used to solve memory stick compatibility problems. Equipped with AMD 890GX + SB850 chipset with integrated ATI Radeon HD 4290 video core.

The device has 14 USB ports, 2 of which are version 3.0, 2 FireWire ports, optical S / PDIF output, D-Sub, DVI, HDMI monitor connectors, PS / 2 keyboard and mouse jack. Inside: 2 PCI-E x16 slots, one each – PCI-E x4 and PCI-E x1, 2 PCI slots, 6 SATA 6Gb / s connectors, 1 IDE connector (UltraDMA 133). 7.1 sound based on Realtek ALC892, network – Ethernet 1000 Mbit / s, 4 DDR3 RAM slots.

GIGABYTE GA-890 GPA- UD3 H ( rev. 2.1) is another top-end ATX board, “sharpened” for overclocking. Like the previous models, it is assembled on the AMD 890GX + SB850 chipset, has an integrated ATI Radeon HD 4290 video and 4 DDR3 RAM slots. Interfaces: 14 USB sockets, 2 of which are USB 3.0, 3 FireWire ports, S / PDIF input and output, D-Sub, DVI, and HDMI video outputs for a monitor, 1 PS / 2 port for a keyboard and mouse. Internal connectors: PCI-E x16 (2), PCI-E x1 (3), PCI (2), SATA 6Gb / s (6), SATA 3Gb / s (2), IDE (1). 7 + 1 audio channels are provided by the Realtek ALC892 codec. Connection to the network is possible at a speed of 1000 Mbit / s.

The board supports Dolby Home Theater technologies (creates a surround sound effect), Ultra Durable 3 Classic (provides improved heat dissipation and system stability under overclocking conditions), and has an additional built-in 128 Mb DDR3 SidePort Memory for accelerated graphics processing.

AM3+ socket Motherboards

Socket AM3 + (socket 942) is a modified version of AM3 that adds support for the Bulldozer and Piledriver architectures. It is compatible with the following processor series:

  • Server Opteron 3200 and 3300 with 4 to 8 cores.
  • FX 43xx, 63xx, 83xx and 9xxx (Vishera) with 4/2, 6/3 and 8/4 cores / threads.
  • FX 4xxx, 6xxx and 8xxx (Zambezi) with 4/2, 6/3 and 8/4 cores / threads.

And also with those intended for motherboards with AM3.

Externally, AM3 connectors differ from AM3 + in color. The former are made white, the latter black.

3 best Processors for am3+ socket motherboard

  • Powerful and hot 8-core AMD FX-9590 based on Vishera architecture. Its clock frequency is 4.7 GHz, up to 5 GHz. The processor supports the Turbo Core 3 automatic acceleration technology and has an unlocked multiplier (x23.5). There is no embedded video in it. Compatible with DDR3 800-1866 Mhz RAM up to 128 Gb. Supports M.2 SSDs. Needs a high performance cooling system as its thermal package (TDP) is a whopping 220 W.
  • AMD FX-8370 (Vishera) is slightly inferior in performance to the previous model, but its thermal package is almost 40% lower and amounts to 125 W. This processor also has 8 cores, but a slightly lower clock frequency – 4.0 GHz with the possibility of increasing to 4.7 GHz with Turbo Core enabled. It supports multiplier overclocking (x20) and, just like its “big brother”, lacks a built-in video core. It can work with DDR3 800-1866 Mhz memory up to 128 Gb.
  • AMD FX-8320 (Vishera) is the slowest of the top three. It has 8 cores and runs at a base frequency of 3.5 GHz with a Turbo Core boost up to 4.0 GHz. Has a free multiplier of x17.5. Supports DDR3 800-1866 Mhz memory up to 128 Gb. There is no embedded video. Its thermal power is 125 W.

3 best am3+ socket motherboards

ASUS Crosshair Formula is an ATX motherboard based on the AMD 990FX + SB950 chipset for high-performance gaming. The top model of its time with excellent overclocking potential. It does not have a built-in video core, therefore it is intended for use only with discrete video cards, for which this board provides 4 PCI-E x16 slots.

The device is equipped with one PCI-E x1, one PCI, seven SATA 6Gb / s and one eSATA, 18 USB ports of which 6 are 3.0, S / PDIF output and a PS / 2 keyboard and mouse slot. Supports 2-channel DDR3 1066-2133 Mhz memory up to 32 Gb. Connects to the network at a speed of 1000 Mbit / s. The Realtek ALC898 audio codec operates in 7.1 SupremeFX mode.

MSI 990 FXA- GD80 is no less worthy model, “sharpened” for use in conjunction with an overclocked AM3 + processor. Like its predecessor, it is built on the AMD 990FX + SB950 chipset, allows you to install up to 4 PCI-E x16 video cards and up to 32 Gb DDR3 RAM with a frequency of 2133 MHz.

Inside the board is equipped with 4 RAM slots, 4 with PCI-E x16, 2 PCI-E x1 and one PCI. There are 6 SATA 6Gb / s sockets for connecting drives. Of the external interfaces, it has 14 USB ports, 4 of them are USB 3.0, 2 eSATA and FireWire, optical S / PDIF output and hybrid PS / 2. The Realtek ALC892 codec is responsible for 7.1 sound, the network operates at a speed of 1 Gbit / s.

GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 is another high-performance gaming motherboard with excellent overclocking potential based on AMD 990FX + SB950 chipset. Supports DDR3 RAM up to 2000 MHz and up to 32 Gb capacity. There is no built-in video either, but 4 PCI-E x16 slots are provided for connecting discrete video cards.

This board also houses 4 RAM slots, 2 PCI-E x1, and 1 PCI. For disks and laser drives, there are 6 SATA 6Gb / s ports, for peripherals – 18 USB ports, 4 of them are USB 3.0, S / PDIF output, 2 eSATA, and FireWire connectors, as well as PS / 2. The network connection operates at a speed of 1 Gbit / s, the sound is provided by the Realtek ALC889 codec.

AM4 socket Motherboards

Socket AM4 or PGA 1331, so called by its configuration ( P in G rid A rray) and the number of pins, is designed for modern processors of the Zen and Zen + architecture. It is the first among AMD sockets to support dual-channel DDR4 memory with a frequency of up to 3200 MHz, PCI-E 3.0 bus (up to 24 lanes), PCI-E 4.0, USB 3.1 and 3.2, as well as SATA Express and NVMe storage interfaces.

Motherboards equipped with AM4 sockets can work with both powerful CPUs without a graphics core and A-series APUs (processors with integrated graphics), whose predecessors were released in the FM1 / FM2 / FM2 + socket format.

AM3 and AM3 + processors cannot be installed on an AM4 board.

Externally, socket AM4 differs from its predecessors, not in color (it may be different), but in shape – there is a small “well” in its central part.

Which processors are compatible with socket AM4: Here is a list

  • APU A6 with two cores.
  • APU A8 with four cores.
  • APU A10 with four cores.
  • APU A12 with four cores.
  • APU Athlon 2xxGE with two cores.
  • CPU Athlon X4 with four cores.
  • CPU and APU Ryzen 3 with four cores.
  • CPU and APU Ryzen 5 with 4 to 16 cores.
  • APU AMD Pro A6 with two cores.
  • APU AMD Pro A8 with four cores.
  • APU AMD Pro A10 with four cores.
  • APU AMD Pro A12 with four cores.
  • APU Athlon Pro 200GE with two cores.
  • CPU and APU Ryzen 3 Pro with four cores.
  • CPU and APU Ryzen 5 Pro with 4-6 cores.
  • Ryzen 7 Pro CPU with 4 to 8 cores.

3 best Processors for am4 socket motherboard

  • The AMD Ryzen 7 2700 CPU (no integrated graphics) is a high-speed multithreaded processor without a graphics core with great overclocking potential. It has 8 cores and 16 threads, clocked at 3.2 GHz with the ability to accelerate using Precision Boost 2 technology and multiplier (x37) up to 4.3 GHz. Supports DDR4 memory up to 2933 MHz and up to 128 Gb. Has a built-in 24-lane PCI-E 3.0 controller.
  • The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G APU (Integrated Graphics) is a powerful 4-core and 8-thread CPU with a Radeon Vega 11 graphics core. This processor has a base clock speed of 3600 MHz, upgradeable to 3900 MHz. There is support for 8 PCI-E 3.0 lanes and DDR4 1600-2933 MHz 128 Gb memory.

3 best am4 socket motherboards

ASUS ROG Strix X570- E Gaming is a high-tech ATX gaming device based on the top-end AMD X570 chipset. Supports processors with and without integrated Radeon Vega graphics. It has 4 slots of DDR4 RAM with a maximum supported frequency of 4400 MHz and a capacity of 128GB.

Inside the board there are 2 M.2 slots, 8 SATA 6Gb / s connectors, 3 PCI-E x16 video card slots and 2 PCI-E x1 slots. In addition to the gigabit Ethernet network adapter, this motherboard can connect to Wi-Fi networks (the controller version 802.11ac is installed) and create connections via Bluetooth. The Realtek S1220A codec is responsible for 7 + 1-channel audio.

To connect peripherals, this board provides 16 USB ports, 7 of which are versions 3.2 and 1 – 3.2 tupe-C. There is also an optical S / PDIF I / O and a DisplayPort monitor connector. The latter functions only when a processor with an integrated video core is installed.

The GIGABYTE X570 AORUS XTREME is an expensive flagship E-ATX motherboard designed for high-performance systems without active cooling. Designed for processors without integrated graphics, since it does not have connectors for connecting monitors. Built on AMD X570 chipset. Equipped with 4 DDR4 2133-4400 MHz RAM slots up to 128 Gb.

The board contains: 6 SATA 6Gb / s ports, 4 M.2 ports, 3 slots for PCI-E x16 video cards (PCI-E 4.0 version), S / PDIF output, 17 USB of which 7 – version 3.2 Gen2, 3 – versions 3.2 Gen2 Type C and 5 – version 2.0. A network connection is provided by adapters Ethernet 1000 Mbit / s, Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth. The Realtek ALC1220-VB codec and the ESS ES9218 DAC are responsible for the sound.

ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming 4 is a mid-budget ATX motherboard for gaming computers based on the AMD X570 chipset. Supports up to 128 Gb DDR4 2133-4066 MHz memory. Allows you to install processors with or without integrated graphics.

The board is equipped with: 2 PCI-E x16 and 2 PCI-E x1 slots (PCI-E 4.0 version), one HDMI port and one DP, 8 SATA 6Gb / s slots, and three M.2. It contains 15 USB sockets, of which 8 USB 3.2, 3 USB 3.2 Gen2 and 4 USB 2.0, 3 audio outputs (sound is provided by the Realtek ALC1200 codec), PS / 2 connector. An Ethernet 1000 Mbit / s adapter is used to connect to the Internet.

Upgrading a computer on socket AM3 / AM3 + to AM4 is most often unprofitable since the cost is almost equal to buying or assembling a new system from scratch. Therefore, it makes sense to invest in obsolete hardware only if it will be used for the simplest tasks. For everything else, AM4 is the best choice.