Backward compatibility has always been a strong point of AMD’s platforms. When upgrading your motherboard, you might wonder if AM4 and AM3+ are the same. The short answer is that AM3+ and AM4 are distinct sockets are not compatible.
Here, we’ll review the differences between the two sockets, as well as whether or not AM3+ is still worthwhile.
Table of Contents
Differences Between AM3+ and AM4
AM3+ and AM4 differ primarily in the following respects;
The physical sockets are different, which means that AM3+ CPUs cannot be fitted into AM4 sockets, and vice versa. AM4 sockets have 1331 pins and 942 holes, while AM3+ sockets have 942 pins and 942 holes.
Memory Support: DDR3 is the only memory supported by AM3+, whereas DDR4 is exclusively supported by AM4.
Chipsets and Features: There is much more to offer with the AM4 socket than the older AM3 socket. Technologies such as DDR4, PCI-e 4.0 on later AM4 chipsets, USB 3.2 Gen 2 and NVMe are important to consider.
Age: Am3+ and Am4 were released in 2011 and 2017, respectively
CPU Performance: There are much faster and newer CPUs offered in AM4 than AM3+ ever did.
If you would like to read about the best AM4 motherboards currently available, click the link. There are models for every budget and feature.
AM3+ vs AM4
Here is a detailed comparison of the socket AM3+ and AM4.
|Basis||AM3+ Socket||AM4 Socket|
|Compatible Microarchitecture||CPUs that use the Bulldozer microarchitecture use the AM3+ socket.||Microarchitectures that use the AM4 socket include Zen, Zen +, Zen 2 and Excavator.|
|Backwards Compatibility||Backward compatibility with AM3 socket compatible components.||Parts designed for AM3+ processors are compatible with these.|
|DDR4 Memory Support||DDR4 memory is not supported||Support for DDR4 memory is the first from AMD. Gaming PCs may benefit greatly from this feature.|
|Pin Slot Count||Pin count: 942||Pin count: 1331|
|Heatsink Structure||As in previous sockets such as AM3 and AM2, the heatsink holes are placed rectangularly, with a lateral length of 48mm and 96mm.||Due to the size difference, some older heatsinks may not be compatible with AM4 because the holes are rectangular, yet the lateral lengths are 54mm x 90mm.|
|Overall PC Cost||Because AM3+ is an older technology, PCs built around it are relatively cheap||The AM4 socket is a relatively new technology, so PCs built around it are more expensive.|
Is AM3+ Still Worth Using?
Its performance is severely lacking in comparison to today’s standards. Unless you have the budget to upgrade, AM3+ is a poor choice.
Despite the best available CPU for AM3+, the best CPU from 2012 still beats you in gaming performance, as the FX series of CPUs never had strong gaming performance in the first place.
If you’re buying used, AM3+ isn’t necessarily the best value, unless you can get a really good deal on it. As older Intel processors usually offer better performance for similar prices, other platforms can offer better performance.
The differences between AM4 and AM3+ have been discussed, and we can confidently answer “No” to the question “Are AM4 and AM3+ the same?”.
There are quite a few differences between them, as well as performance levels. The one is objectively the best option on today’s market, and the other is a relic that should be left behind.
Our hope is that this article helped you expand your knowledge of hardware, and that you will find the information useful now or in the future.
Related: Best X570 Motherboards