• Now's your chance win big! Join our community and get entered to win a RTX 2060 GPU, plus more! Join here.

    Pi Cast Episode 3 streams live on Tuesday, August 4th at 2:30 pm ET (7:30 PM BST). Watch live right here!

    Catch Scharon on the Tom's Hardware Show live on Thursday, August 6th at 2:00 pm ET (7:00 PM BST). Click here!

Question What is the best budget AM3 socket, DDR3 CPU that is still available new?

Jun 3, 2020
4
0
10
0
I just bought a new ASRock DDR3 , AM3 socket MoBo to replace the mobo in my desktop machine - the graphics had become unstable when running dual monitors and I couldn't isolate the fault, i.e., I couldn't determine for sure if the problem was in the CPU or the MoBo. The CPU didn't have any other obvious issues so I replaced the mobo. The existing CPU is an A6-6400. So yeah, I screwed up: the new mobo and the old CPU are on different sockets. Since the new mobo is installed and the old CPU is only 2 cores and 6 or 7 years old, I guess I might as well replace it, too. And who knows, the graphics instability might turn out to be in the CPU after all. So it's time to get a new CPU, and now I'm not sure where to go. I just read on this Forum that the Ryzen CPU's are DDR4 only and can't be run with DDR3 ram due to a voltage incompatibility. So what are my options? This mobo doesn't have any graphics ports at all: it has to be used with a discrete PCIe GPU, which I have. So I don't need a CPU with on-board graphics. This seems to suggest an FX series DDR3 CPU, but as far as I can tell from shopping for one, AMD seems like they are no longer making these? All of the FX CPU's I've found on Amazon are used, and the last thing I want is to buy a used CPU from some 3rd party vendor that I've never hear of and risk getting one that's DOA. I'm also on a budget. This machine isn't my primary desktop anymore, it's a backup that I'm going to give to my granddaughter eventually, when she gets old enough to have a PC of her own in a couple of years. So I don't want to spend more than about $100 for a CPU. What does AMD make, that's still available new, that's AM3 socket, DDR3, and not more than $20 per core?
 
Is this an AM3 or AM3+ board? There is a difference between the two, AM3 can only support old Athlon II and Phenom II CPUs, AM3+ can support the FX CPUs. It would help to know the exact model of board you have.

Either way you will be hard pressed to find new CPUs unless you want to pay a large premium for old stock that some retailers might still have, both platforms have been out of production for a while now so it's mostly down to used chips at this point.
 

DSzymborski

Champion
Moderator
"ASRock DDR3, AM3 socket" doesn't tell us enough information. Not all CPUs of a same socket work with all motherboards of the same socket and of the ones that do, not all CPUs should be used in all motherboards of the same socket. You need to tell us what the exact motherboard is.

Also, FX CPUs are an AM3+ socket CPU, not an AM3 socket CPU.

AMD moved past AM3+ CPUs years ago. At this point, all that's left of "new" FX CPUs is unopened CPUs that have been sitting around for years.
 
Jun 3, 2020
4
0
10
0
"ASRock DDR3, AM3 socket" doesn't tell us enough information. Not all CPUs of a same socket work with all motherboards of the same socket and of the ones that do, not all CPUs should be used in all motherboards of the same socket. You need to tell us what the exact motherboard is.

Also, FX CPUs are an AM3+ socket CPU, not an AM3 socket CPU.

AMD moved past AM3+ CPUs years ago. At this point, all that's left of "new" FX CPUs is unopened CPUs that have been sitting around for years.
The MoBo is an ASRock 970M Pro 3. The CPU Socket is "AM3b". I was hoping to be able to re-use my 4 sticks of DDR3 ram, that I paid almost $300 for when I built that machine. But it sounds like you are suggesting that this mobo is seriously obsolete, and that I might be better off returning it, if I still can, writing off both the old CPU and the old DDR3 DIMM's, and building a new budget system around a economy level Ryzen 3 CPU, a budget DDR4 mobo, and one 16 gB stick of DDR4 ram?
 
Last edited:
The MoBo is an ASRock 970M Pro 3. The CPU Socket is "AM3b". I was hoping to be able to re-use my 4 sticks of DDR3 ram, that I paid almost $300 for when I built that machine. But it sounds like you are suggesting that this mobo is seriously obsolete, and that I might be better off returning it, if I still can, writing off both the old CPU and the old DDR3 DIMM's, and building a new budget system around a economy level Ryzen 3 CPU, a budget DDR4 mobo, and one 16 gB stick of DDR4 ram?
If you have the opportunity and budget to build a new system, that would get you the best value in terms of components for the money. However, there is some value in being able to just swap a bad motherboard or processor and then not having to do anything else to be back up and running so consider that as well--especially if the system was doing all you needed it to do.
 
Jun 3, 2020
4
0
10
0
If you have the opportunity and budget to build a new system, that would get you the best value in terms of components for the money. However, there is some value in being able to just swap a bad motherboard or processor and then not having to do anything else to be back up and running so consider that as well--especially if the system was doing all you needed it to do.
You are right: I priced out the parts, and it doesn't make sense anymore to build a DDR3 system, even with the incentive of saving some money by re-using your existing DRAM modules. I could build a basic home or small-business machine with an $88 Ryzen 3-3200G cpu, a $55 basic Gigabyte ddr4 mobo, a $65 single-stick 16gB DDR4 DRAM module, and a $65 500gB m.2 SSD. And re-use one of my old HDD's for the data store. All four parts for $273, which is only $40 more than going with an FX CPU on that ASRock mobo, assuming that I could even find a new one somewhere. And with the Ryzen system, it would include an SSD, which I wouldn't be able to use at all with the DDR3 mobo option. $40 is insignificant: I blow more than that on a single tank of gas in my car every couple of weeks. This is embarrasing to admit: I'm 63, and I've built a lot of PC's since my first XT clone in 1985, and I've known for 30 years that you can almost never re-use old DRAM modules in a newer system, You are going to end up throwing them in the trash almost every time you start thinking about building a new system, yet I forget that hard-earned lesson and am now going to maybe eat the cost of an obsolete $75 mobo that I just bought, and for which you can't buy a new CPU because AMD hasn't manufactured new DDR3 CPU's since about 2015. Sigh. Thanks for your quick replies. I am waiting to see if the vendor will let me return that mobo, if they will take it back, I'll go with the Ryzen 3. This is just a backup machine, in case my primary, a Ryzen5-3600, suffers some kind of failure and I need a quick replacement. I don't need this backup for gaming, just email and light-duty home use, so the Ryzen 3 is plenty good enough.
 
I'm glad you were able to analyze what was best for you. :) For others, it's those parts that you have that are the gold that keeps them holding on for a bit longer as they can't afford a new setup and just need to swap a bad part. You can also sell the ram easily as it is still in demand. Probably can sell the motherboard too if need be, but a refund would be best.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
I could build a basic home or small-business machine with an $88 Ryzen 3-3200G cpu, a $55 basic Gigabyte ddr4 mobo, a $65 single-stick 16gB DDR4 DRAM module, and a $65 500gB m.2 SSD.
Don't buy a single 16GB DIMM. You want two 8GB DIMMs to provide the extra memory bandwidth to the integrated GPU. Also be careful about CPU support with inexpensive motherboards. The 3200G may not be supported by all BIOS versions for older or less expensive motherboards. Check the webpage of the motherboard BEFORE you buy it.
 
Reactions: ctsurv553
Jun 3, 2020
4
0
10
0
Don't buy a single 16GB DIMM. You want two 8GB DIMMs to provide the extra memory bandwidth to the integrated GPU. Also be careful about CPU support with inexpensive motherboards. The 3200G may not be supported by all BIOS versions for older or less expensive motherboards. Check the webpage of the motherboard BEFORE you buy it.
Thanks! While I did know that "G" series AMD CPU's steal some of the DRAM for video memory, I didn't know that using 2 modules instead of just 1 is better. Learn something new every day. I am also aware that BIOS support is something that has to be verified, as BIOS's change, frequently, during the lifecycle of any given CPU architecture series. When I built my current mainline system, an ASUS mobo with a X-570 chipset, and a Ryzen 5-3600 CPU, I was worried that there might be a BIOS issue, but the MoBo user guide stated specifically that my CPU was supported. When I finally got all the pieces put together, Win 10 Home installed itself on the SSD without a single glitch and the machine booted up first time and has run perfectly for 6 weeks, no problems whatsoever. I'm running an ASUS Radeon 5500X GPU in that box, with 64 gB of DRAM (all four slots populated with a 16gB in each). It looks like that much dram was overkill, and I spent a couple hundred more $$$ than I needed to. None of the apps I've tested, including FSX and Photoshop CS6, use more than 8 or 9 gB of that dram. Are there games or something that can actually use the 128gB of dram that this mobo supports?
 
Last edited:

DSzymborski

Champion
Moderator
No games, but for someone with a lot of virtual machines or programming needs or running a home server, you can use a lot of RAM.

I have 32 GB of RAM in my main rig, but that's only because I something do database stuff that can run into the 25 GB range. Generally speaking, you would need to be doing really specific things to need 32 GB or more and games certainly wouldn't be that which pushes you to that need!
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY