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Best AM3+ CPUs For Gaming

Published by Atif Liaqat on

Best AM3+ CPUs For Gaming

It is a well-established fact that the latest AMD Ryzen processors are highly sophisticated and are capable of extreme performance when it comes to gaming, however, not everyone can afford Ryzen processors and that is why older AMD processors are still being bought by many people.

The issue with the older AMD processors is that they had a very low single-core performance despite having a high core count. The processors were not so good in gaming because the games in those days usually required a couple of cores.

Nowadays, there are games that can even utilize more than eight cores and that is why some of the older AMD processors are proving to be enough for a suitable gaming experience. 

It is true that that the Intel processors from that time are quite faster in single-core performance but those processors usually did not come with more than two or four cores and this is a great thing for AMD processors that some of them are providing as much as eight cores. 

The current AMD socket is AM4 while previously, AM3+ was the mainstream socket which was an improved variant of AM3 and it was backward-compatible with AM3 processors.

Therefore, you can buy an AM3+ motherboard and use either an AM3+ processor or an AM3 processor. In this article, we will be discussing some of the best AM3+ CPUs for gaming, that might cost you even less than half of what a Ryzen-based system would cost.

Top 10 AM3+ CPUs

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AMD FX-8350 Black Edition

AMD FX-8350 Black Edition

AMD FX-8350 Black Edition is no doubt the king of AMD AM3+ processors, as it provided high performance while not being as expensive as the flagship processors.

As for the specifications of the processor are concerned, it is an octa-core processor, i.e. providing eight cores and eight threads which means that this processor predates the SMT technology which is similar to the Hyperthreading technology from Intel, allowing the processor to have twice the amount of threads than the physical cores.

Specifications

ModelAMD FX-8350
Base Clock4000 MHz
Boost Clock4200 MHz
Cores8
Threads8
Cache8 MB L3
SocketAM3+
UnlockedYes
TDP125W

The processor is clocked at 4000 MHz and has a boost clock of 4200 MHz, which is quite satisfactory for most people, as it is a mid-ground between performance and heat emitted.

All these AMD FX-X3XX series processors come in Black Edition, which means that they come with an unlocked multiplier, allowing the user to overclock them. The processor is based on the AM3+ socket, which means that you must use an AM3+ motherboard and an AM3 motherboard won’t work. The same is the case with all AMD FX-series processors. 

The performance of the processor is quite good in gaming and at stock clocks, this processor should be able to handle almost all games at above 60 frames per second on the average. The sheer number of cores here does help in the latest games and if you are low on budget and want the best bang for the buck, this processor should be great for you.

The TDP of the processor is around 125 watts, which is a bit high compared to processors these days and that is why you must couple this processor with a cooler good enough to keep it under 75 degrees and the likes of Cooler Master Hyper 212 should do the job. 

Conclusion

AMD FX-8350 keeps a great balance between performance and price, which is why this processor is one of the best among the FX-series processors for most people who are interested in making a low-budget rig.

The processor is still capable of playing most games at smooth FPS and you should not be worried about performance for another two or three years, thanks to the high number of cores.

Pros
  • A balance between TDP and performance
  • Great performance in most games
Cons
  • Somewhat hot

AMD FX-6300 Black Edition

AMD FX-6300 Black Edition

AMD FX-6300 is the younger brother of AMD FX-8350 and is priced lower as well. The processor is built on the same architecture but the difference lies in the specifications, where the frequency and the number of cores are notable.

Specifications

ModelAMD FX-6300
Base Clock3500 MHz
Boost Clock3800 MHz
Cores6
Threads6
Cache8 MB L3
SocketAM3+
UnlockedYes
TDP95W

AMD FX-6300 is a hexa-core processor, providing six physical cores and six physical threads. The frequency of the processor is lower than FX-8350 but this processor has an unlocked multiplier as well and if you have a good enough motherboard for it, you can probably push it beyond 4.5 GHz easily, leaving behind stock FX-8350. 

The cache of the processor is unaffected, at 8 MB, which is a great thing while Intel counterparts reduce the cache as well in lower-end processors.

As for the performance of the processor is concerned, six cores should be able to handle most of the games at a smooth frame rate and in fact, many FX-8350 owners will notice that most games are not actively using eight cores of the processor, which makes FX-6300 a bit more competitive.

Moreover, the TDP of the processor is lowered as well, at 95 watts but you still would require a good cooler if you want to overclock the processor beyond 4.5 GHz. 

Conclusion

AMD FX-6300 is a cheap processor that you can easily get your hands on and coupling it with a good motherboard and cooling solution, you won’t be suffering from FPS drops in games, apart from games like Assassins Creed Odyssey, etc.

Pros
  • Cheaply available
  • Good enough performance for most games
Cons
  • Not as future proof as FX-8350

AMD FX-9590 Black Edition

AMD FX-9590 Black Edition

AMD FX-9590 is the flagship processor from the Piledriver architecture and no doubt it is a mighty processor, leaving all the other FX-series processors in the dust. 

Specifications

ModelAMD FX-9590
Base Clock4700 MHz
Boost Clock5000 MHz
Cores8
Threads8
Cache8 MB L3
SocketAM3+
UnlockedYes
TDP220W

AMD FX-9590 is an octa-core processor just like AMD FX-8350 but it is a binned processor, which means that only those processors that are capable of hitting clock rates beyond 4700 MHz are labeled as FX-9590.

On top of that, you don’t have to overclock this processor, as this processor comes overclocked out of the box fairly high, having a base frequency of 4700 MHz and a boost frequency of 5000 MHz. 

Although this processor has a very high frequency of 5000 MHz, do not confuse this processor with the likes of processors that we have these days hitting 5000 MHz because the difference in IPC is a lot and this processor cannot perform tasks at even half of the speed of processors like Intel Core i9-9900K. 

The high frequency of this processor is a double-edged sword though and the reason for this is that it hugely increases the TDP of the processor, up to as much as 220 watts.

This much heat is a lot for a processor and you must couple it with a high-end cooler to properly utilize this processor, however, some of these processors also came with a liquid cooling solution and that should be able to handle it well.

As for the performance of the processor is concerned, this processor can keep above 80 FPS in most AAA games with a few exceptions and if you have a low budget but want the best processor from the Piledriver architecture, this processor is the best choice for you.

Conclusion

AMD FX-9590 is the master of FX-series processors, providing a large number of cores in combination with high frequency, allowing the users to play games much more smoothly than other FX-series processors.

Pros
  • Requires powerful cooling
  • Fastest processor from the FX-series
Cons
  • Price makes it a bit inefficient

AMD FX-8320 Black Edition

AMD FX-8320 Black Edition

AMD FX-8320 is a processor that is extremely similar to the AMD FX-8350 in terms of technical specifications. The processor comes with eight cores and eight threads, with stock clocks slightly lower than the FX-8350.

Specifications

ModelAMD FX-8320
Base Clock3500 MHz
Boost Clock4000 MHz
Cores8
Threads8
Cache8 MB L3
SocketAM3+
UnlockedYes
TDP125W

The processor is clocked at 3500 MHz with a boost clock at 4000 MHz. Although the clocks of the processor are lower than FX-8350, you can mitigate the difference in performance by overclocking it and this processor should be able to hit past 4500 MHz too if you use a good motherboard and cooling solution with it. 

The major difference between FX-8350 and FX-8320, apart from the higher frequency, is that FX-8350 is more likely to overclock higher because of binning. The difference should not be very noticeable to an average user and that is why you can do gaming fine on FX-8320 and get stable 60 FPS in most AAA games.

Conclusion

AMD FX-8320 is like a cheaper variant of FX-8350, having a lower stock frequency, however, once-overclocked, it gets a big performance gain as long as you keep the processor cool by using a high-end cooling solution. 

Pros
  • Cheaper than AMD FX-8320
  • Similar gaming performance to FX-8350
Cons
  • Might not go as much as FX-8350 in overclocking

AMD FX-8370 Black Edition

The next processor that we have on the list is AMD FX-8370, which is also very similar to AMD FX-8350. This processor is a better-binned variant of AMD FX-8350, which makes it slightly pricier and slightly better in performance as well.

Specifications

ModelAMD FX-8370
Base Clock4000 MHz
Boost Clock4300 MHz
Cores8
Threads8
Cache8 MB L3
SocketAM3+
UnlockedYes
TDP125W

AMD FX-8370 comes with eight cores and eight threads and has a base clock of 4000 MHz while its boost clock is rated at 4300 MHz. The difference in clock rates is not noticeable at all but there might occur a bigger difference in overclocking.

The gaming performance of this processor is still not going to deviate a lot from the FX-8350, just like the FX-8320 and you should rather look at the availability of any of these processors instead of targeting one.

Conclusion

AMD FX-8370 is the finest processor from the FX-8XXX series and hence provide top-notch performance, thanks to high core count and frequency. Once overclocked, the performance of the processor gets very close to AMD FX-9590 and you should have a smooth gaming experience with this processor. 

Pros
  • Good overclocking capability
  • Much more competitive than FX-9590
Cons
  • Not a big difference from FX-8350

AMD FX-4300 Black Edition

AMD FX-4300 Black Edition

AMD FX-4300 is one of the lowest-end processors from the Piledriver architecture and this processor has a very low price these days, making it great for those people who just want to enjoy the prime games of their childhood. 

Specifications

ModelAMD FX-4300
Base Clock3800 MHz
Boost Clock4000 MHz
Cores4
Threads4
Cache4 MB L3
SocketAM3+
UnlockedYes
TDP95W

AMD FX-4300 is a quad-core processor and comes with four threads as well. The L3 cache of the processor is half of what is found in the FX-83XX processors, which definitely limits the capabilities of the processor.

The processor has a base clock of 3800 MHz and has a boost clock of 4000 MHz, which means that even though this processor has a lower number of cores than AMD FX-6300, the stock frequency of the processor is higher than AMD FX-6300. 

Since this processor is also a Black Edition processor, this means that you can overclock the processor, and due to the low TDP of the processor, you might not require a cooling solution as powerful as you would require for the likes of AMD FX-8350.

The gaming performance of the processor is not so good in the latest games, as this processor not only lacks high single-core performance but also has a low number of cores. This makes this processor good for games before 2016, where most games utilized four or fewer cores.

Conclusion

AMD FX-4300 is the cheapest processor from the Piledriver-based FX-series processors and despite the cheap price, it comes with an unlocked multiplier and four cores.

The processor is capable of handling most games before 2016, however, you might not get a smooth experience in the latest AAA games where Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus, Battlefield V, etc. are worth mentioning.

Pros
  • Very cheap price
  • Lower TDP than other FX-series processors
Cons
  • Might not handle new games well

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition

AMD Phenom II X4 965 is a processor that is based on the K10 architecture, which is the predecessor to the Bulldozer architecture, which was in fact, the predecessor of Piledriver architecture.

This processor has the AM3 socket but due to the backward-compatibility of the AM3+ socket, this processor should work fine in the motherboards with AM3+ socket. 

Specifications

ModelAMD Phenom II X4 965
Base Clock3400 MHz
Boost ClockN/A
Cores4
Threads4
Cache2 MB L2
SocketAM3
UnlockedYes
TDP80W

The processor comes with four cores and four threads and supports both the DDR2 and DDR3 memory, although AM3+ motherboards support DDR3 only. In this microarchitecture, there was no boost clock of the processors, which is why the processor has only the base clock of 3400 MHz and no boost clock.

This processor, however, comes with an unlocked multiplier, although most of the other processors based on the K10 architecture are locked. The processor has a low L2 cache of 2 MB, which is worth noting because this is a processor that predates the L3 cache system.

If the clock rate of the processor would be slightly higher, its performance would be very close to the performance of AMD FX-4300, however, 3400 MHz is not a high clock rate for this era and that is why this processor is not suitable for AAA games after 2015.

The TDP of the processor is somewhat high for its frequency, at 125 watts, which is why it requires a good-quality cooling solution.

Conclusion

AMD Phenom II X4 965 is an old processor that comes with four cores and four threads and it is a processor that is cheaply available in the market due to being obsolete for many people.

If you are someone, who is going to play rather old games, this processor should still enough to provide you with fair frame rates, however, this processor cannot do high-end gaming, especially for the AAA games released after 2015.

Pros
  • Very cheap price
  • Lower TDP than other FX-series processors
Cons
  • Might not handle new games well

AMD Phenom II X4 840

AMD Phenom II X4 840
The top side of an AMD Phenom II X4 840 (HDX840WFK42GM) CPU

AMD Phenom II X4 840 is the relatively newer processor compared to other Phenom processors, although it is based on the K10 architecture as well. This processor was released at the beginning of the year 2011 while most other Phenom processors were released in 2009 or earlier.

Specifications

ModelAMD Phenom II X4 840
Base Clock3200 MHz
Boost ClockN/A
Cores4
Threads4
Cache2 MB L2
SocketAM3
UnlockedNo
TDP95W

AMD Phenom II X4 840 is a quad-core processor as well and comes with four threads. The processor has a base clock of 3200 MHz, which is even lower than the Phenom II X4 965, not to mention that this processor does not come with an unlocked multiplier, making its clock limited to the stock clock.

The cache of the processor is the same as the Phenom II X4 965, at 2 MB L2. The TDP of the processor is somewhat lower, at around 95 watts, which makes it a bit cooler than the Phenom II X4 965. 

The gaming performance of this processor is slightly lower than the Phenom II X4 965, which means that you won’t be able to play the latest games at smooth frame rates, however, you can still enjoy old games.

Conclusion

AMD Phenom II X4 840 is a cheap processor that was released before the Bulldozer-based processors and although this processor is not capable of playing the latest games at smooth FPS, it can be good for parents who want a cheap gaming PC for their children.

Pros
  • Very cheap price
  • Easily available
Cons
  • Low single-core performance

AMD Athlon II X4 640

AMD-Athlon-II-X4-640

AMD Athlon II X4 640 is a processor that is also based on the K10 architecture and it is a well-known processor for gamers in its era. The processor had a low price even during its release time and now after a decade, you can get this processor by spending a couple of bucks.

Specifications

ModelAMD Athlon II X4 640
Base Clock3000 MHz
Boost ClockN/A
Cores4
Threads4
Cache2 MB L2
SocketAM3
UnlockedNo
TDP95W

This processor also supports both DDR2 and DDR3 memory, which is why it can be used with cheap motherboards as well. The processor has a low clock rate of 3000 MHz, which makes it abysmal for the latest games, although you should be able to play pre-2014 games fine on this processor. 

A great scenario for this processor could be that you can make a very cheap gaming zone for classic games like Tekken Series, King Of Fighter series, Need For Speed series, etc. 

Conclusion

AMD Athlon II X4 640 is although not as good as the FX-series processors, it can prove to be very useful in certain work-scenarios, such as multiple gaming PCs for children or super-cheap gaming zone for classical games.

Pros
  • Super-cheap price
  • Good for classical games that don’t require powerful CPU
Cons
  • Very low single-core performance

AMD Phenom II X4 945

AMD Phenom II X4 945

The last processor on our list is AMD Phenom II X4 945, which is quite similar to AMD Athlon II X4 640 in performance and has similar technical specifications as well.

Specifications

ModelAMD Phenom II X4 945
Base Clock3000 MHz
Boost ClockN/A
Cores4
Threads4
Cache2 MB L2
SocketAM3
UnlockedNo
TDP95W

The processor comes with four cores and four threads, having a low frequency of 3000 MHz. This processor is also a locked processor, which means that you cannot increase the frequency of the processor by overclocking, although you probably wouldn’t get a huge boost in performance even if the processor would come unlocked. 

The TDP of the processor is 95 watts, which is fine and most cooling solutions should be able to handle this processor. The gaming performance of this processor is very similar to the AMD Athlon II X4 640 and so is the price of this processor, which is why you should get any of these two processors, depending on availability.

Conclusion

AMD Phenom II X4 945 is a similar processor to the AMD Athlon II X4 640 and that is why this processor can also be used for playing classical games of your childhood or for making a cheap gaming zone for these games.

Pros
  • Similar price to AMD Athlon II X4 640
  • Can be used with AM3 motherboards as well
Cons
  • Single-core performance is as worse as Athlon II X4 640

Closing Thoughts

Hereby, we are coming to the end of this article about the best AM3+ processors for gaming. Even though most of the processors on this list are around a decade old.

They should be able to provide you with a suitable gaming experience nonetheless, especially the ones with six or eight cores, although, the last few processors can be used to play games of your childhood or you can buy them for your children who would play classical games as well.

Categories: Buying Guides

Atif Liaqat

I have been fond of computer technology for a long time, ever since childhood, and was always meddling with various hardware and software. With graduation in computer engineering from a recognized university like NUST was a dream come true and enabled me to pursue my dreams in swift ways. Currently, I am working for various websites as a hardware reviewer and content writer.