How to upgrade from AM3? Haswell/Skylake or ZEN?

Hello my friends! I am a bit a computer geek and I find tom's to be my main source of entertainment these days.
So my story is this: I found out my fx 8350(3 years old) was overheating a bit - I used the stock cooler and set it to minimum due to high volume. So, I decided to change the thermal paste only to notice that the CPU was stuck to heat sink of the cooler. I manage to ruin the CPU, if you can imagine that, with the help of some local IT shop who used a knife to ruin some pins and simply brake the CPU ... yea .. true story.
So now I am stuck with a 30$ second hand Athlon X3 450 - which seems to be doing really fine !
I can still play Witcher3 (on minimum , 20-40 fps, bit of lag sometimes, not 100% playable) though the processor does not meet minimum requirements.My system also includes a GTX950 and 16gb of ddr3.

So now I was thinking: WHAT TO DO ? Buy a new FX am3 processor or change entirely to Skylake as I'm comparing some charts and the fx seems to lack behind. I don't know why I chose AMD 3 years ago as I don't do any video editing or anything else and use the computer solely for gaming. I realize now that FX 8350 was not really best suited for what I am doing and I could have done with a cheaper less power consuming CPU.
Also I'm also contemplating on a SH haswell(mb +cpu) maybe as low as G3258
For now, most cost-efficient would probably be to get a FX 6300 of 6350 and keep the mobo.
What would you advise?

My main idea for the future would be to go for an I3 6100(or even g4400) + z170 + some ddr4 , but I will probably wait for BF to get some 20-30% discount
Do I really need Z170? I only intend to use one GPU , no OC and ddr4 2133 seems enough.
4 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about upgrade am3 haswell skylake zen
  1. As you've said, most cost effective would be an FX CPU into your existing system. However, Skylake is a solid upgrade. These are some good combos:

    i3 6100 + H110
    i5 6500 + H110 or H170 (more RAM slots)
    i5 6600K + Z170
    i7 6700 + H110 or H170
    i7 6700K + Z170

    There's no point in going with a Z chipset or K CPU if you don't intend to OC. H110 is limited to 2 RAM slots but will pair just as well with an i7 as with a Pentium. H170 tends to have more USB and SATA ports, in addition to 2 more RAM slots.

    Zen is pretty far away, and current speculation is that it's not going to be as fast (per core) as existing Intel CPUs, perhaps by a fair margin. I'd say you might as well buy Skylake now.
  2. Well, it depends on a) how much your budget it, b) if you're looking for a long-term solution or just something to tide you over, and c) how much of your existing hardware you want to reuse.

    The cheapest & least extensive option is to just buy a new FX chip. Tom's is still recommending an FX chip (FX-8300) as one of their "best" picks for mid-range use (,3986.html). It's not too bad on price (, except that's it a little more expensive than the FX-6300 (, despite being at the same tier (,4312.html). For a little more, though, you could pick up a replacement FX-8320/8350/8370.

    If you're worried about performance, well, it depends on the game. Yes, Intel does have superior performance in its i5 & i7 chips -- & in a few games with its i3 chips. However, while some games have a fairly large chasm separating AMD & Intel performance, other games (like GTA V, for example) see the FX chips provide close performance to the Haswell i5s & even beating Skylake i3s.

    If you're going to go for a Skylake build, don't even bother with the Pentiums. You'll want at least an i3, if not an i5. Just realize that you'll have to make sure your files & data are backed up, as it will require a reinstall of your OS. And if you haven't already upgraded to Windows 10, you'll want to do all of this before next Friday so that you can then upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

    Like @Ecky said, if you go for an Intel build, don't waste money on a Z170 board and/or a "K" chip unless you plan to OC the system -- aside from having to pay a financial penalty for an option that you won't use, you'll have to spend money on an aftermarket cooler ("K" chips aren't provided with a stock cooler).
  3. Thank you all guys! I'll probably go for a sh fx 6300-8300 depending of what good offer I can get. I think it will pair nicely with my gtx950. If I got a better mb + processor combo probably the video card would be the bottleneck.
  4. Best answer
    It depends on your budget actually

    Because an upgrade to either skylake or zen requieres both a new MOBO and new ram. Then it's expensive but it's much better of course

    If you can't afford a new platform perhaps you shouldn't even get an FX 6300 or 8350. Nowithstading they are cheap

    At least skylake is a very efficient platform you will definitelly see a noticeable gain of performance. On top of that and i3 6100 plus an H110 mobo cost like $150, less than an FX 8350 with less power consumption, less heat output and overall better gaming performance and you might grab an i5 nevertheless it isn't convinient for a GTX 950

    Games don't take advantage of over 4 cores most of the time so I'd rather overclock that CPU (which still runs a 3.2 ghz) and unlock that 4th core

    The only games which benefit from more than 4 cores is battlefield series

    However I have got the i3 4160 and observe a very decent performance in BF4 with the exact same GPU so I cant tell you from experience that an new intel CPU is a great choice

    If you already have the athlon X3 ou only need a new cooler that might cost $15-25 and you are ready to go you don't need to waste your money on an FX because it should be known than the bulldozer architecture is just a bit superior than the one on a phenom or athlon ii and you'll be spending like $100 on that

    stick with that CPU it's still great

    here is the proof:
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