AM3+ is an upgraded modification to the AM3 socket produced by the company AMD.
When choosing a CPU, or processor, for a new gaming PC, the consumer has two options: Intel or AMD. For most of its existence, Intel has had a monopoly on the CPU market. But, with the emergence of AMD and their line of cheaper and better processors, Intel has had to step up their game.
Both of these companies make processors to fit a wide variety of needs. From that of the hardcore gamer to that of a hardcore office worker.
Here, I will be examining AMD’s line of processors which fit modern AM3+ motherboards. I will also look at their usefulness to each type of individual, and how to generally pick an AMD processor.
If Intel CPUs have become so popular, why should I go out of my way to buy a chip from a less-established company?
Good question. Yes, it’s true that AMD as a company has existed in the mainstream for a brief time. And less compatibility exists with AMD gaming motherboards in particular. Yet, AMD is releasing motherboards in two separate versions. One is compatible with traditional Intel CPUs, the other with Ryzen series processors. It seems the problem may not exist for much longer.
Although AMD does make GPUs of their own, more popular NVIDIA cards, such as the GTX and RTX series, are compatible with Ryzen processors.
The greatest reason to choose AMD over Intel is the price. Take, for example, the Core i9-9900k, Intel’s current top consumer chip. With 8 cores and 16 threads, the processor costs a hefty $530. AMD’s Ryzen 2700X, also their current top consumer chip, possesses the same specs; yet, it often goes for $200 less. This theme occurs throughout comparisons of similarly priced CPUs. AMD’s processors at least a marginally, and sometimes significantly, better deal.
Furthermore, it seems that AMD may win out in the future in terms of upgradability. AMD’s current AM4 socket is slated to be around for the next users. This allows future chips to be able to work on older AM4 boards. With Intel, it is unclear if Intel’s current socket for their 9th generation processors will support future processors.
How to Pick the Best AMD Processor for You
When choosing a CPU for a PC build, the first thing to do is identify the future primary usage of the PC itself. Essentially, is the PC going to be used primarily as a gaming machine? Or will gaming simply be a second to something like video and photo editing? Or some other sort of content creation?
Identifying the PC’s primary use is paramount in the process of choosing the right processor. This article will focus on gaming as a primary use, but I still will offer help in choosing the right CPU for other tasks. When choosing a processor, there are some things you should keep an eye out for. Let’s break a few of these technical terms down:
The words “dual-core” and “quad-core” are thrown around quite often. But what exactly does that mean? Not too long ago, all processors possessed only a single core to handle all the data sent to the processor. Multi-core processors have become popular in recent years. As their availability has become much more common, prices have dropped. Also, the software has become more compatible with multi-core technology.
Nowadays, the most common processors have anywhere from two to eight cores. The advantage of having more cores is easy to see. As more cores are integrated into a processor, those cores are able to split up the processor’s task. This allows processes to be done in half or a fourth of the time. Beware, a processor can only perform as well as the software on which it is running. If the software is only able to utilize three of the eight cores, then five of those cores are going to be unused.
A processor’s cache is a small amount of very fast memory that is used for temporary storage. This reduces the average cost of time and energy to access data from the main memory. Data that needs to be accessed quickly can be stored here, but only limited amounts. This means that the larger a processor’s cache, the more files it will be able to store for quick retrieval, allowing for faster data retrieval.
The frequency, or clock rate or speed, of a processor, is also information often thrown around in the mainstream.
Frequency, measured in hertz (Hz), is the speed at which a CPU operates. Something such as “3.8 gigahertz” processor (A gigahertz is one billion hertz). It would follow that a CPU with a faster frequency would perform better than one with a lower frequency.
This has indeed been the case in the past, but not any longer. In some cases, a CPU running at a lower frequency may actually perform better than a processor running at a higher frequency. This is due to the infrastructure of the CPU’s integration with the memory (Intel’s Optane memory).
In fact, even I am guilty of this false belief that a faster frequency equals a better processor. Last year I bought a laptop with a 2.9 GHz Core i5 second generation processor instead of a laptop with a 2.5 GHz Core i3 eighth-generation processor because of that faster clock speed.
I am happy to inform you that my old laptop recently became unusable and I recently purchased a Core i3. I have been quite impressed with its performance and speed compared to my old one. So, moral of the story, it is more important to look at a CPU’s “instructions per clock” and the frequency of the CPU. Frequency is still a good indication of how quickly a processor can perform. But it is no longer the only factor that impacts the actual speed of a processor.
The Best AM3+ CPUs for Gaming:
AMD Ryzen 3 2200G – Best Entry Level / Budget
- Built In Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
- 4 Cores Unlocked
- Frequency: 3.7 GigaHertz Max Boost; Thermal Solution: Wraith Stealth Cooler
- Socket Type: AM4; Max System Memory Speed : 2667 MegaHertz
- OS Support Windows 10 64 Bit Edition, RHEL x86 64 Bit, Ubuntu x86 64 Bit; Operating System (OS) support will vary by manufacturer
For those just getting into PC gaming, or who are looking for a decent chip on the cheap, the Ryzen 3 2200G has enough to please everyone.
Retailing for well less than its Intel equivalents, it has four cores (quad-core) and four threads, base clocks at around 3.5 GHz, and turbo clocks near 3.7 GHz.
It has 4 MB of L3 cache. For the non-gamers among us (or those who simply have no need for a dedicated graphics card in their build), it has integrated AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics.
The Ryzen 3 2200G packs some serious power at a much cheaper price than its main competitor, the Core i3-8100. Because this is a budget option, you shouldn’t expect too much. The 3.5 GHz is great but doesn’t compare with other, higher-end options. Also, the measly 4MB cache is too little to provide for quick speeds on regular processes. For those looking for a bit more power (and more than four threads), I have some other options for you.
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X – Best High Level
- 8 Cores/16 Threads Unlocked
- Frequency: 4.3 GHz Max Boost. Base Clock 3.7GHz
- 20MB of Combined Cache
- Compatibility : Windows 10 64 Bit Edition , RHEL x86 64 Bit , Ubuntu x86 64 Bit
- Socket AM4 Motherboard Required, Supports Windows 10 - 64-Bit Edition RHEL x86 64-Bit Ubuntu x86 64-Bit
For those looking for the best gaming or content-creating performance out there at a competitive price, the Ryzen 7 2700X offers enough to please even the most serious gamer.
With eight cores and sixteen threads and a base clock near 3.7 GHz with a turbo clock near 4.3 GHz, this processor can cater to nearly anything (within reason). For intense gaming or multitasking, this processor can handle plenty.
It also has a nearly 20MB cache, large enough to hold copious amounts of data. Compared to its Intel equivalent, the Core i7-8700k, the Ryzen 7 2700X wins out in many fields. These include file compression and encryption, media encoding and manipulation, and blockchain computation (for you diehard cryptocurrency freaks). Intel does seem to have a slight advantage for gaming performance.
The Ryzen 7 2700X does require a lot of cooling. It runs much hotter during average and intense usage than Intel’s equivalent. Besides this, the Ryzen 7 2700X offers great performance across the board to those who need it.
Ryzen 5 2600 – Best All-Rounder
- 6 Cores/12 Threads unlocked; Max Temps : 95 degree C
- Frequency: 4.2 GHz Max Boost; Includes Wraith Spire Cooler
- 19MB of Combined Cache; Pci express version is pcie 3.0 x16 and cmos 12 nm finfet
- Socket AM4 Motherboard Required. Base Clock 3.6GHz
- Supported technologies are amd storemi technology, amd sensemi technology, amd ryzen master utility and amd ryzen vr ready premium
For those looking for the best of both worlds, price, and performance, the Ryzen 5 2600 is the processor for you.
It can act as a mid-range option for those wanting decent performance for a good price. With six cores and twelve threads, this powerful CPU clocks near 3.4 GHz and the turbo clocks at 3.9 GHz. This is quite astonishing considering its budget price point.
For gaming and multitasking, the Ryzen 5 2600 has nearly 20 MB of cache. Compared to its Intel counterpart, the latest generation of Core i5 chips, the Ryzen is a much better CPU with the price to performance ratio. It performs well in multi-threaded apps and is able to be cranked up without getting too warm.
The performance on this chip, in many ways, seems superior to that of its Intel counterpart. This certainly is true, except in the field of gaming. In terms of gaming, it performs without the energy and liveliness possessed by the Core i5. It should be mentioned that the Intel chip is quite a bit more expensive.
Furthermore, while this won’t matter to the gamers out there, the Ryzen chip lacks integrated graphics.
Overall, the Ryzen is a great chip for most (especially productivity freaks), but hardcore gamers may want to consider other options.
AMD offers a worthy line of processors in their Ryzen series. All of which can cater to a specific individual need. Whether that be gaming, video and photo editing, or anything else.
If you can afford it, the Ryzen 7 2700X provides the best experience for anything, though it shines especially for gaming.
If you are new to the BYOPC scene, you can’t go wrong with the Ryzen 3 2200G, which offers great performance for such a budget price.
And, finally, if you’re looking for something in the middle, I would recommend the Ryzen 5 chip. While its gaming performance may not quite stack up to that of its Intel equivalent, its performance in other processor-heavy tasks and overall well-roundedness is quite appealing.
No matter the AMD chip you choose, based on my experience and other reviews, I can assure you that it will serve you well.