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AM2+ vs. AM3

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a c 147 V Motherboard
January 7, 2010 12:33:08 PM

I have been pondering a couple of questions regarding AM2+ vs. AM3 motherboards, and I'd like some opinions.
If someone is building new, I would normally recommend AM3 over AM2+ if only because it is newer, has an upgrade path, and supports DDR3. BUT, for someone upgrading, or someone on a very tight budget, and for whom time (especially only a few %) <> money:

1. Given an equivalent chipset (e.g. 785G or 790G / SB710 or SB750), is there a compelling reason to upgrade an AM2+ mobo to AM3? I'm specifically not referring to those cases where the AM2+ board is older, for example only offering 1000HTs. Assume also that a RAM upgrade beyond an initial 4GB is extremely unlikely, so the increasing cost of DDR2 vs. DDR3 is a minor factor at most. Expansion slots, e.g. # of SATA, RAM and PCIE x16/x8/x4 are also equivalent or not relevant (i.e. buyer will run same GPUs).

2. Once again, assuming that time <> money, if the person is on a tight budget, would recommending an AM2+ board as having [near] equivalent performance be ethically questionable? The CPU would be the same, e.g. a Phenom II.

Overclocking is not a factor, as any variance could be attributable to the luck of the draw on the CPU; as mentioned the chipsets are equivalent (e.g. both would have ACC).

Although it looks like there's a small (3%?) difference due to DDR3 vs. DDR2, this appears not to matter. Am I missing something? Thanks.

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a c 435 V Motherboard
January 7, 2010 1:43:22 PM

Am3 boards only work with am3 cpus and ddr3, while am2+am3 boards work with ddr2 and most am2 and am3 cpus. It's your choice. I've only seen one board by Jetway that can use either ddr2 or ddr3 ram, and I wouldn't touch it.
a c 147 V Motherboard
January 7, 2010 2:29:10 PM

I realize that about the RAM (and I wouldn't buy Jetway either). I just want to be sure that an existing AM2+ mobo with DDR2 isn't going to be somehow unsatisfying compared to a similar AM3 mobo with DDR3.
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January 9, 2010 6:13:18 PM

Onus said:
I have been pondering a couple of questions regarding AM2+ vs. AM3 motherboards, and I'd like some opinions.
If someone is building new, I would normally recommend AM3 over AM2+ if only because it is newer, has an upgrade path, and supports DDR3. BUT, for someone upgrading, or someone on a very tight budget, and for whom time (especially only a few %) <> money:

1. Given an equivalent chipset (e.g. 785G or 790G / SB710 or SB750), is there a compelling reason to upgrade an AM2+ mobo to AM3? I'm specifically not referring to those cases where the AM2+ board is older, for example only offering 1000HTs. Assume also that a RAM upgrade beyond an initial 4GB is extremely unlikely, so the increasing cost of DDR2 vs. DDR3 is a minor factor at most. Expansion slots, e.g. # of SATA, RAM and PCIE x16/x8/x4 are also equivalent or not relevant (i.e. buyer will run same GPUs).

2. Once again, assuming that time <> money, if the person is on a tight budget, would recommending an AM2+ board as having [near] equivalent performance be ethically questionable? The CPU would be the same, e.g. a Phenom II.

Overclocking is not a factor, as any variance could be attributable to the luck of the draw on the CPU; as mentioned the chipsets are equivalent (e.g. both would have ACC).

Although it looks like there's a small (3%?) difference due to DDR3 vs. DDR2, this appears not to matter. Am I missing something? Thanks.


I've also been pondering this question throughout the day. The only difference I can see for my uses would be the massive price shifts in RAM between DDR2 and DDR3. I can't decide whether or not I should buy a new AM3 MB and DDR3 memory, or just keep my AM2+ MB and get some DDR2, even with the price increase, which will soon finalise the outdated status of the DDR2. I can't decide... :pfff: 
a b V Motherboard
January 9, 2010 6:29:46 PM

there will be a small amount of loss due to using the older design and as faster DDR3 chips come out there will eventually be some more loss in performance but as a jumping off point if the person already has an AM2+ MOBO or even some DDR2 Ram and is just looking for improved performance from the CPU then using an AM3 chip in an AM2+ MOBO is fine if on a tight budget (figure the savings from not having to buy the RAM and new MOBO can be invested in getting a better CPU now (say a Quad 955 instead of a dual core 550) while staying in the current budget and then when more funds are available that better CPU can be moved to an AM3 board when prices come down and DDR3 RAM is cheaper.

But if they are buying the entire system anyway (don't already have DDR2 RAM or an AM2+ MOBO) then I'd definitely suggest going the AM3 DDR3 route now instead of later to avoid having to do another interim upgrade in a year or so.
January 9, 2010 8:35:23 PM

Aggreed..If you are replacing the mobo then always buy the latest technology..If you are trying to save money and wanting to just coast by buy a new processor..
!