Best AM3+ CPUs (Processors) for Gaming and Overclocking - 2020 Review

T​he longevity of the AM3+ platform can be accredited to its relatively affordable pricing and performance. It operates as well as most processors in terms of overclocking, clock speeds, cores, threads, and more, which is why AM3+ sales remain high despite the new Ryzen series processors entering the market.

Picking out the best CPU can be difficult. From the FX to the Phenom II series, it can get quite confusing as to which CPU offers the best performance for the most affordable price tag. Fortunately, we scoured the internet for the best AMD CPUs available today. Prepare for better operating frequency, performance, processing technology, and compatibility. 

    

Below, we look at handpicked AM3+CPU throwing more light on operating frequency, performance, processing technology and compatibility.


Top Pick - AMD FX-8350

The AMD FX-8350 is in the driver’s seat across many platforms in the CPU world for obvious reasons. It gives more bounce to the ounce with dynamic productivity for software performance.

Best AMD AM3+ Processor for Gaming for 2020

1. AMD FD8350FRHKBOX FX-8350 FX-Series 8-Core

Platform: Desktop

Frequency: 4.0/4.2GHz (base/overdrive)

Cores: 8

Cache: 8/8mb (l2/l3)

Power Wattage: 125w

The new AMD FX-8350 offers the industry's only 8-core desktop processor with a base clock of 4.0GHz and a turbo maximum boost of 4.2 GHz, allowing it to take on the extreme workloads that gaming frequently requires. The processor is extremely small but still packs a powerful punch. Due to its easy overclocking ability via Overdrive technology and the Catalyst Control Center, it's capable of handling mega-tasking and heavy-load applications like HD video editing or advanced 3D gaming.

It's innovative "Bulldozer" architecture and new 32 nanometer die shrink are designed to deliver optimal performance without raising power requirements. By reducing leakage, the FX-8350 is able to improve efficiency, increase clock rate headroom, and improve thermals. Installing games has never been faster with HyperTransport technology, which downloads at 8GB per second on bandwidth and 16GB per second in HyperTransport Generation 3.0 mode.

Unfortunately, this processor doesn't play nicely with non-AMD motherboards and the cooling fan does get a little loud, but overall, it is the best AMD CPU on the market.

         Pros

  • Powered by AMD Overdrive technology
  • Bulldozer architecture transforms overclocking potential
  • ​Peak performance for mega-tasking and extreme applications like advanced 3D gaming
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    Novel 32 nanometer die shrink engineered to decrease leakage and improve efficiency
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    Varied hyper-transport technology

Cons

  • The cooling fan gets loud
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    Incompatible with other non-AMD motherboards
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    CPU temperature hikes during marathon sessions

2. ​AMD FD8320FRHKBOX FX-8320 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition Processor

Platform: Desktop/Laptop

Frequency: 3.5/4.0GHz (base/overdrive)

Cores: 8

Cache: 8/8mb (l2/l3)

Power Wattage: 125w

Another member of the AMD FX series, the AMD FX-8320 is very similar to the AMD FX-8350 and prides itself on having the performance you need, the control you want, and the proven reliability you deserve. With Piledriver microarchitecture, multitasking is effortless, especially with such great overclocking ability. The control comes from OverDrive software, which generates a highly configurable power and performance curve, allowing for users to determine what is most important to them. If the CPU gets too noisy, sacrifice performance and efficiency. If noise isn't a concern, boost performance and efficiency instead. All of this is expected from one of the most trusted CPU companies in the world. From Sony to Samsung, AMD delivers. 

           Pros

  • Easily overclocked with enhanced stability
  • Engineered for extreme power requirements
  • High dynamic performance for computing tasks with multi-core operations
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    Creates an immersive gaming experience
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    Manageable power requirements

        Cons

  • ​Possible frying when overloaded
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    ​A few performance barriers

3. ​AMD FD6300WMHKBOX FX-6300 6-Core Black Edition Processor

Platform: Desktop/Laptop

Frequency: 3.5/4/1GHz (base/overdrive)

Cores: 6

Cache: 6/8mb (l2/l3)

Power Wattage: 95w

As another member of AMD's FX series, the FX-6300 offers control, reliability, and affordability. This low-cost CPU has an unlocked clock multiplier, which delivers a powerful overclocking advantage, as well as OverDrive performance software for greater power and performance control. Forget about purchasing a specific motherboard for this CPU; it is compatible with a variety of motherboards due to its architectural synergy. Thanks to its versatility and affordable price tag, the FX-6300 is one of the better CPU options available on the market.

         Pros

  • ​Low-cost processor that overclocks and delivers revved-up performance
  • A variety of motherboards still compatible with its architectural synergy
  • Effortless to overclock with multipliers
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    ​Versatile abilities at entry-level price point
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    ​Graphics card requirements are reasonable for all games at maximum settings

      Cons

  • ​FX lineup plagued by poor single-core performance
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    Multi-player gaming not supported
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    ​Requires more power than Intel processors

4. AMD Athlon II X4 640 Processor (ADX640WFGMBOX)

Platform: Desktop/Laptop

Frequency: 3.0GHz

Cores: 4

Cache: 2 MB

Power Wattage: 95w

The new AMD Athlon II X4 640 is the best option for those that aren't interested in the FX series. Multitasking is fast and easy with the Athlon II's next-generation Direct Connect Architecture, and with PowerNow! 3.0 technology, this processor takes full advantage of Window's newest power management features. One of the biggest selling points for this slower, less powerful processor is its affordability and energy efficiency. Utilizing Cool'n'Quiet, CoolCore, and Smart Fetch technologies, the Athlon II offers 50% more energy efficiency than previous Athlon II processors. While it isn't exactly ideal for tasks like heavy-load gaming, the Athlon II's integrated memory controller helps optimize performance, and the integrated Hypertransport 3.0 technology increases communication speeds between various networks and telecommunication equipment. Finally, the CPU's enhanced virus protection keeps your entire system safe.

Pros

  • ​Cost-effective quad-core processor
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    Multi-core processing for mega-tasking
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    Improved digital media and 3D gaming experience
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    ​Cool and quiet performance

      Cons

  • ​Not ideal for extreme-duty processing, such as heavy-load gaming

5. ​AMD Phenom II X4 840 Edition Deneb 3.2 GHz 4x512 KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor (HDX840WFGBOX)

Platform: Desktop/Laptop

Frequency: 3.2GHz

Cores: 4

Cache: 2MB

Power Wattage: 95w

The AMD Phenom II X4 is a workhorse processor that won't break the bank. It is compatible with an AM2+ motherboard and works with both DDR2 and DDR3 memory. The CPU cooler utilizes the same Cool'n'Quiet and CoolCore technologies as others in the Athlon series like the X4 640, but it does seem to lack in clock speed. Much like the Athlon and FX series, HyperTransport technology allows for up to 16GB per second of bandwidth, reducing system bottlenecks, and the Balanced Smart Cache keeps highly-used data ready for you. This CPU's quad-core processing is reliable enough for most serious gaming, but performance does oscillate depending on certain applications. For those more environmentally inclined, this processor comes equipped with power management technologies, which results in proven and measurable power usage reduction. Less power usage means lower energy costs and a more environmentally-friendly computing system. Finally, the AMD-V, or rapid virtualization indexing technology, improves overall reliability, performance, and security. 

      Pros

  • ​Industry competitive pricing with a good price-to-performance ratio
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    ​Compatible with AM3 and AM2+ motherboards
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    ​Works with DDR2 and DDR3 memory
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    ​Compatible with older chipsets for improved performance
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    Best overall Value

    Cons

  • L3 cache omitted
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    Oscillating performance based on application
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    Phenom IIX4 840 lags behind the Athlon II series in speed

6. ​AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz 4x512 KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor (HDX945WFGBOX)

Platform: Desktop/Laptop

Frequency: 3.0GHz

Cores: 4

Cache: 2MB

Power Wattage: 95w

Similar to the X4 845, the Phenom II 945 offers exciting features for both computer enthusiasts and casual users. Do you have an old motherboard? No problem. This CPU has a versatile AM2+ and AM3 socket, which is compatible with a wide range of motherboards. Its four powerful processing cores allow users to fully utilize the latest available software without slow down. With HyperTransport Bandwidth, an integrated memory controller, and 128-bit Floating-Point Unit (FPU), this AMD Phenom II is one of the fastest on the market at its relative price tag. It also comes equipped with CPU cooler technology, like PowerNow and CoolCare, which allows it to run quietly for long periods of time.

      Pros

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    Superior HD video quality
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    High-performance quad-core for multitasking
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    ​Good gaming performance
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    ​Industry competitive pricing
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    L3 Cache included

    Cons

  • ​Might not work with next-generation architecture

7. ​AMD FX-9590 8-Core 4.7GHz Socket AM3+ 220W Black Edition Desktop Processor (FD8590FHHKWOF)

Platform: Desktop

Frequency: 4.7/5.0GHz (nominal/max turbo)

Cores: 8

Cache: 8/8mb (l2/l3)

Power Wattage: 220w

For users that need maximum power, the new AMD FX-9590 delivers with its 8-core ultra-high resolution experience and AMD Eyefinity technology. This CPU is loaded with all the latest technology like Turbo 8-core technology. From advanced 3D gaming, complex 3D modeling, and HD video editing to its balanced smart cache, it offers effortless performance. Overclock and control up to eight cores of 5GHz max turbo power. The more technical users will enjoy the advanced vector extensions (AVX), float-point vector multiply-accumulate (FMA4) and extended operations (XOP), and advanced encryption standard (AES). Similar to most CPUs in the FX series, the FX-9590 is equipped with HyperTransport technology, which allows for up to 8GB per second of download speeds on bandwidth and 16GB per second in HyperTransport Generation 3.0 mode. Pair this CPU with a Radeon R9 series graphics card for an advanced gaming experience. Unfortunately, this product requires a robust liquid cooling system and doesn't work without a high-end motherboard.

      Pros

  • Ideal for high memory consumption software
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    8-cores and Piledrive architecture
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    Budget build media powerhouse
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    AMD’s Eyefinity technology for superior quality resolution

    Cons

  • 5.0 GHz has lockups and freezes
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    Requires high-end motherboards with 220W TDP
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    ​Cannot support high-memory usable for long periods of time

8. ​AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4GHz Am3 Quad-Core Processor 8Mb Cache 125W (HDZ965FBGMBOX)

Platform: Desktop/Laptop

Frequency: 3.4GHz

Cores: 4

Cache: 8MB

Power Wattage: 125w

This Phenom II X4 965 is very similar to the X4 945. It comes equipped with many of the same features like the AMD64 with direct connect architecture. The processors are directly connected to each other, helping to generate a faster and smooth system performance. All four cores have their own L2 cache memory, and data is shared amongst the units with the L3 cache. As always, this CPU utilizes HyperTransport 3.0 technology to increase communication speeds between the CPU and various other system necessities like servers and networking equipment. With PowerNow and Cool'n'Quiet technology, there is no need to worry about a noisy, overheated CPU. Finally, virtualization technology allows one computer to operate in various operating environments. Unfortunately, it does utilize more power than the X4 840 CPU, but it compensates with increased speed and overclocking ability. Don't wait, get yours today!

      Pros

  • Lightning-fast AMD chip
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    ​Cheaper than comparable Intel Core i7 lineup
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    Faster than the IIX4 840 at all tasks
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    Socket AM2+ compatible
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    ​Overclocking is very easy

    Cons

  • ​Utilizes more power than the Phenom IIX4 840

9. ​AMD 4.0GHz FX-8370 Octa-Core Black Edition Desktop Processor with Wraith Cooler (FD8370FRHKKHBX)

Platform: Desktop

Frequency: 4.0GHz

Cores: 8

Cache: 8/8mb (l2/l3)

Get ready for the ultimate thermal solution with the new FX-8370 octa-core desktop processer with a virtually-silent Wraith Cooler. The Wraith Cooler generates less than one-tenth of the noise, if not more, of most of the earlier FX versions. It comes with the best clock rate in its class, and with piledriver microarchitecture, this is one of the greatest CPU accomplishments in recent years. The FX-8370 comes equipped with advanced vector extensions (AVX), floating-point vector multiply-accumulate (FMA4), extended operations (XOP), and advanced encryption standard (AES). This is the only 8-core processor available with Bulldozer architecture. This CPU is ideal for video conversions and offers low power consumption due to the Wraith Cooler. No need to get an advanced motherboard to get great multitasking and overclocking functions. 

      Pros

  • I​Great multitasking and overclocking functions
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    ​Low power consumption with Wraith Cooler
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    ​Advanced control of the RAM usage
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    ​Ideal for video conversions
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    Overall Great Value

    Cons

  • Not a perfect fit for a high-end gaming rig
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    Dismal single-threaded performance

10. ​AMD FX 4-Core FX-4300 (FD4300WMHKBOX)

Platform: Desktop/Laptop

Frequency: 3.8GHz

Cores: 4

Cache: 4MB

Power Wattage: 95w

Last but not least, the FX-4300 is a CPU with plenty to offer for a very low price tag. It doesn't offer anything special in terms of performance, speed, or reliability, but casual users can get a high-level CPU without spending a fortune. It comes with good, single-threaded performance, and it does turbo boost to 4.0GHz. Most importantly, it comes equipped with the same technology that most AMD processors have, from the FX to the Phenom II series. The Turbo Core Technology allows for performance boosting. The Balanced Smart Cache saves and shares important data between cores. HyperTransport technology allows for up to 8GB per second download speeds and 16GB per second when utilizing HyperTransport Generation 3.0 mode. Memory optimizer technology leads to a low-latency performance. And the PowerNow and Cool'n'Quiet technologies keep the CPU from making too much noise or overheating. 

      Pros

  • ​Good single-threaded performance
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    Ultra-affordable
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    ​Low-cost option with easy installation
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    3.8GHz stock speed and 4.0GHz turbo boost
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    Four cores and four threads

    Cons

  • ​Slows down frequently in certain applications

Conclusion

The AM3 CPU platform continues to command a vast and growing fan base, while a majority of retailers are slashing prices due to a lack of demand. The most robust systems waiting to be built only need a great graphics card, RAM, and an AM3 motherboard. We've determined the best AM3 CPU on the market is the FX-8350. It's the best AM3 CPU on the market because it offers the highest levels of performance with the most affordable price tag. The best AM3 Phenom II series CPU on the market is the X4 840, and the Athlon II series, like the X4 640, is also worth consideration.

There are obviously plenty of factors to consider like performance, speed, loudness, motherboard capabilities, socket types, cores, frequency, and more. This is an overall guide and should not discourage readers from purchasing a CPU lower down on the list. All of these CPUs are great for building a high-end gaming rig. Simply adjust accordingly. For example, for a quieter performance consider a quieter CPU like the FX-8370 with the Wraith Cooler.

When all is said and done, all of these processors are worth praise and recognition. Fortunately for gamers and computer buffs alike, with the increased popularity this platform has gained over the last few years, it should stick around for a long time. 

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