Top 3 Best AM3+ CPUs for Gaming

Released in 2011, the AM3+ CPUs are now the grannies on today’s CPU market. But are they still relevant today? Although we’re now using AM4 CPUs, some AM3+ CPUs are still around. Either still in some stores or part of some builds, the AM3+ chips are still viable for low-end or mid-level gaming PCs. With 8 cores and clock speeds over 4.0 GHz, the AM3+ CPUs are still kicking.

The specs for these CPUs are not exactly impressive compared to what AM4 CPUs bring to the table, but if you’re still interested in them, we found the best AM3+ CPUs for Gaming. So if someone wants to give you an older PC with an AM3+ CPU and you want to see if you can play some games on them, check this article to see what they offer today.

Before You Buy an AM3+ CPU

Before buying a new or second-hand AM3+ CPU, make sure your motherboard supports AM3+ chips. The board must specifically say that it supports an AM3+ socket. Also, make sure you have a good cooler on the AM3+ CPU (the FX chips really need extra cooling), such as the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo to keep the chipset cool.

AMD Black Edition FX-8300 Vishera

Among the best AM3+ CPUs, the AMD Black Edition FX-8300 Vishera offers respectable performance, allowing for overclocking over 4.2 GHz.

Pros: High clock speed and cache memory, low energy consumption, overclockable

Cons: Outdated technology, needs DDR3 memory kits, quickly overheats

AMD Black Edition FX-8300 Vishera – Specs

  • CPU Socket: AM3+
  • Base Clock Speed: 3 GHz
  • Turbo Speed:2 GHz
  • Memory Support: DDR3, 1866 MHz, Dual Channel
  • TDP: 95 W

AMD says that the FX-8300 never exceeds 70.5 degrees due to its heat sinks and auxiliary airflow, but as all FX CPUs, it’s better to pair this chipset with a better cooler if you’re looking to overclock it. The CPU offers good gaming experience as long as you’re not looking to play new games at high settings.


AMD FX 8320E

One of the top AM3+ chips for gaming, the AMD FX 8320E was aimed at gamers on a budget. The FX 8000 CPU series shares the same features among its various models, with the 8320E being positioned between the FX-8300 and the FX 8350.

Pros: Overclockable, high clock speed and cache memory, low energy consumption

Cons: Quickly overheats, outdated technology

AMD FX 8320E – Specs

  • CPU Socket: AM3+
  • Base Clock Speed: 2 GHz
  • Turbo Speed:0 GHz
  • Memory Support: DDR3 1600, 1866 MHz, Dual Channel
  • TDP: 95 W

With a more powerful cooler than the one that comes with the CPU, the AMD FX 8320E is a good AM3+ chipset. When released, the AMD FX 8320E was the cheapest eight-core CPU on the market.

AMD FX 8350

A good CPU for gamers and designed for overclocking, the AMD FX 8350 can handle the load and with a good cooler can keep up with the load without overheating. Released on 23rd October 2012, the FX series is still viable for general use and gaming.

Pros: Good gaming performance, good for streaming, overclockable to 5 GHz stable (but needs water cooling)

Cons: Runs hot, power-hungry, outdated tech

AMD FX 8350 – Specs

  • CPU Socket: AM3+
  • Base Clock Speed: 0 GHz
  • Turbo Speed:2 GHz
  • Memory Support: DDR3 1600, 1866 MHz, Dual Channel
  • TDP: 125 W

The AMD FX 8350 was the best bang for your buck back when it was sold as a new CPU and can still be if found at under $40-50 as a used PC part. Assuming you’re not trying to playing new multiplayer games at high settings, the AMD FX 8350 is still a good choice for a budget PC.

Should You Buy an AM3+ CPU?

To be honest, no, it’s not worth buying an AM3+ CPU in 2020. If you’re going to buy a second-hand AM3+ CPU at under $50, then it’s worth your money. However, you must make sure you have an AM3+ compatible motherboard.

Investing in a top AM3+ processor sounds good if the price is right and you don’t need anything else to upgrade your PC.

But let’s see the downsides. Compared to newer tech, the AM3+ CPUs have heating issues, eat a lot of power and cannot handle new games at high settings.

It’s obvious that a 9-year-old CPU tech is not a good choice in 2020. Aside from the limited performance, there is no upgrade path either.

Last but not least, AM4 CPUs are supported by a wide range of motherboards. The latest AM4 CPUs come at great prices and need a motherboard that has an AM4 socket. Compared to the AM3+ mobos, the AM4 motherboards allow for future upgrades and are compatible with current and future Ryzen processors.

The conclusion would be that if you want better performance, you should go for an AM4 CPU. There are plenty of great CPUs on the market (be it new or used), offering great value for their prices.

About James Sterling

James Sterling received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Southern California (USC). His Bachelor of Science was completed in Computer Science (Games) and his Master of Science was completed in Game Development. James spends his free time contributing on popular forums such as Tom's Hardware and AnandTech while hanging out with his cat Jonathan. Humorously, his favorite youtube channel is Jimquisition by Jim Sterling.

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