Wondering about the best AM3+ motherboard? Don’t panic, as we’ve got you covered.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a performance enthusiast, a casual gamer, or someone who just enjoys building a new PC.
Everyone needs a decent motherboard to suit their needs. Today, we’re rewinding the clock to the best AM3+ AMD motherboards.
The AM3+ platform builds upon the fundamentals of the AM3 socket. It has a faster serial link between the CPU and power controller, as well as a larger pin socket diameter.
While this platform is quite old at this point, it is great for people who want to put together an HTPC, a streaming rig, or a computer for their children.
We wouldn’t recommend processors from this era for serious gaming, but we’ll get to that later on. For now, here are our top picks for the best AM3+ motherboards. Let’s look at the comparison table.
Best AM3+ Motherboard Comparison Table
MSI 970 Gaming
Best Premium Motherboard
ASUS Crosshair V Formula Z
Best Budget Motherboard
ASUS M5A78L-M Plus
How We Choose the Best AM3+ Motherboard Features
In order to make this guide as clear and concise as possible, there are several things we need to go over. Normally, we would concern ourselves with the AMD processor at hand, but we are instead dealing with an entire socket.
Not only that, but this socket supports multiple chipsets. It is vital to understand chipset compatibility and CPU compatibility. Since we are taking a look at PC hardware that is several generations old, things get quite complicated.
A lot of the decision comes down to the processor you will be using. The FX-8370 is what we would recommend to most people, as it has the most cores and highest clock speeds.
Overclocking potential is quite good as well, so this may well be the default choice for most.
However, we know that tracking down an AM3+ processor these days is no easy job. For this reason, this list should be diverse, so people who own different processors can find a motherboard that just works perfectly with their system.
After extensive research and testing, we came up with this list. We mostly included the top chipsets such as 970, 990FX, etc. Of course, we had to throw in a few choices for the budget-conscious.
We focus on issues such as value, design, connectivity, network, and other key features. These incredible choices include affordable motherboard options, great choices for gaming, and wide compatibility.
The motherboards are scored on these parameters and then ranked accordingly.
5 Best AM3+ Motherboards
Now, let’s have a look at our picks for the best AM3+ motherboard options. So, without further ado, here are our choices.
1. MSI 970 Gaming – Editor’s Choice
Memory Support: 32GB @ DDR3 2133MHz (OC) | Chipset: AMD 970 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulators: 6+2 phases | Storage: 6x SATA | RGB: No | Network Features: Killer E2205 LAN
- Sleek and subtle design
- Support for high-frequency memory
- Reliable Gigabit Ethernet connection
- Excellent performance for the price
- Decent overclocking performance
- BIOS could be more intuitive
The MSI 970 Gaming is our editor’s choice for the best AM3+ motherboard. This is because this is one of the few AM3 motherboards that still hold up in the modern era.
The 970 Gaming might be the perfect choice for people who want to put together an entry-level gaming rig. While the ASUS motherboard below it is a higher-end choice, people will have an easier choice tracking this one down. This motherboard supports quite a few features and costs less.
While this is a motherboard from a different era of PC hardware, it still holds its own in terms of design. This is apparent from the sleek black PCB and subtle appearance.
This PCB does not look crowded, which was a common thing in this era of motherboards. Stenciling is kept at a minimum, and it manages to have a sleek look overall. The oversized heatsinks on the power delivery system, as well as the chipset, provide an interesting look. The VRM heatsink has a ribbed design and an interesting red accent along with it.
This contrasts the stealthy black PCB beautifully. The classic MSI logo and branding on the chipset heatsink is also a nice touch.
What it may be lacking in terms of RGB or lighting, it makes up for with its subtle design. Something you rarely witnessed on the 970 chipset motherboards.
The MSI 970 Gaming is also our top choice due to its compatibility. This motherboard works flawlessly with AMD FX processor, Phenom II, and Athlon II processors. Furthermore, this ATX motherboard is SLI multi-graphics supported.
This board came out back when SLI and Crossfire were a big deal. If you want to experiment with multiple GPUs, this is a great choice. This motherboard supports 32 gigs of RAMs, with speeds as high as 2133MHz when overclocked.
While that can’t hold a candle to DDR4, it should be great for indie games, or if you want to use it in an HTPC. Network connectivity is handled by the Killer E2205 LAN, providing you with a reliable Gigabit connection.
In conclusion, this is an excellent AM3+ motherboard. It looks good, has wide compatibility, and has good performance with Athlon II and other AMD processors. You even get a few overclocking features if you want to tweak your processor.
But beware of the bland and very basic BIOS and the common red and black aura of this motherboard. Red and black PC builds were a thing of the Early 2000s. If you want a unique PC build you might have to look elsewhere.
- VRM Design: 9/10
- Aesthetics: 9/10
- Connectivity: 9/10
- Value for money: 9/10
- Overall Rating: 9/10
2. BEST SELLER: ASUS Crosshair V Formula Z – Best Premium Motherboard
Memory Support: 64GB @ DDR3 2400MHz (OC) | Chipset: AMD 990FX | Form Factor: ATX Form Factor | Voltage Regulators: 8+2 phases| Storage: 6x SATA, x2 eSATA | RGB: No | Network Features: Intel Gigabit Ethernet
- Premium fit and finish
- Excellent VRM cooling
- Perfect for overclocking
- Enthusiast level features
- An abundance of USB ports
The ASUS Crosshair lineup of motherboards is known for being top-of-the-line products. This story was no different several years ago, as the Crosshair V Formula Z is our pick for the best premium AM3+ motherboard.
The Crosshair motherboards are known for their excellent performance, good overclocking support, and high-end looks. Even though this board is several years old, it still holds up well because of that.
This can immediately be seen with the design. The black and red aggressive aesthetic is something that was quite common in the day.
It features a plain black PCB, with silver stenciling for some extra contrast. This PCB looks quite crowded, but that is common with AM3+ boards.
Much like the MSI board above, the power delivery heatsinks use red accents to complement the PCB. On this board, these accents almost have a metallic-like finish to them, providing a premium look to the overall board. The combined VRM heatsinks are quite large.
Apart from that, the chipset heatsink features a gigantic ROG logo, contrasted by the red accents on the SATA ports to the right of it. This playful design can further be seen on the DIMM slots, as well as the PCIe slots.
Enough about the design, let’s talk about the enthusiast features for a second. This board features hardware buttons for power, reset, overclocking, etc.
It features an 8+2 design for the VRMs, which is quite overkill for more than half of the AM3+ processors.
It does not end there, this motherboard features three PCIe 2.0 slots. Two of which can run at dual channel x16 speeds. The rest of the expansion slots can be used for capture cards, storage adapters, external adapters, etc.
Potentially, you can also do Quad-GPU SLI with the ASUS Crosshair V Formula Z.
On the rear panel, we get four USB 3.0 ports, as well as eight 2.0 ports. This sort of port combination is more than enough. Additional USB headers are present on the motherboard as well, for further expansion slots.
To sum it up, you can figure out why this is one of the top choices by now. It deserves the award for the best premium AM3+ motherboard, as everything it represents lives up to that.
Pricing may still be an issue, as this one is hard to find. However, at this price segment enthusiasts might find the lack of WiFi and Bluetooth as a deal-breaker. So decide accordingly.
- VRM Design: 9/10
- Aesthetics: 9/10
- Connectivity: 9/10
- Value for money: 8.5/10
- Overall Rating: 8.87/10
3. ASUS M5A78L-M Plus – Best Budget AM3+ Motherboard
Memory Support: 32GB @ DDR3 2000MHz (OC) | Chipset: AMD 760G | Form Factor: mATX | Voltage Regulators: 4+1 phases| Storage: 6x SATA | RGB: No | Network Features: Realtek 8111H LAN
- Excellent value for money
- Decent feature set for an mATX board
- Surprisingly good VRM design
- USB 3.1 Gen 1 support
- Lackluster overclocking experience
- Design may not be for everyone
ASUS finds another spot on our list thanks to the M5A78L-M Plus. Putting the name aside, this is by far the best budget AM3+ motherboard.
This is because it does not skimp out on many features, and instead cuts corners on the unnecessary bells and whistles. The result is a motherboard that still happens to be a decent option today.
The design of this motherboard screams basic and old, so if you’re someone who wants to make an impression by showing off your build, you might have to look at other options mentioned in this guide.
Although keep in mind, this is an mATX motherboard. We figure most people will not mind, as you are not buying an AM3+ motherboard for the aesthetics. You still get two full-length PCIe slots, which is not bad for the price.
The motherboard is equipped with integrated Radeon 3000 graphics, meaning you could get by without a graphics card. Video output can be easily configured thanks to the HDMI port on the back.
General performance is quite on par with other best AM3+ motherboards as well. So, if you’re looking for the perfect budget AM3+ motherboard that doesn’t cut too many corners, this is the one to buy.
Lastly, the whole overclocking experience isn’t exactly pleasant as the dual BIOS feels very basic and dull. You also get limited rear USB ports. Take all of this into consideration before making your purchase decision.
- VRM Design: 8/10
- Aesthetics: 8/10
- Connectivity: 8.5/10
- Value for money: 8.5/10
- Overall Rating: 8.25/10
4. ASRock 970 Pro 3 r2.0 – Best AM3+ Motherboard for Overclocking Power
Memory: 32GB @ DDR3 2100MHz (OC) | Chipset: AMD 970 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulators: 4+1 phases| Storage: 6x SATA | RGB: No | Network Features: Realtek 8111E LAN
- Premium power delivery system
- Excellent enthusiast features
- Superb VRM cooling and performance
- Support for 64 GB RAM
- Uninteresting design
- High pricing
Just because we are taking a look at older hardware today, does not mean that performance doesn’t matter. The ASRock 970 Pro 3 r2.0 is proof of that, as it is the best AM3+ motherboard for overclocking and a great gaming motherboard.
This motherboard is a part of the AM3+ Pro 3 lineup from ASRock. This lineup includes an Extreme version and an mATX version as well. However, the Pro 3 r2.0 is by far the best pick.
This is because this is one of the few AM3+ motherboards that features a very robust 6+2 phase design for the VRMs. The power delivery performance is on point and serves its purpose well in terms of overclocking.
While you won’t have anything like subzero liquid nitrogen overclocking, frequent power failure won’t be a problem.
Most of this is thanks to the excellent use of the VRM heatsinks. They do a great job of efficiently dissipating heat at idle and max load.
The VRM cooling system on here is impressive, especially considering this is an older AM3+ motherboard.
It is also one of the few motherboards that support 64 gigs of RAM at 2100MHz.
Most AM3+ boards top out at 32 gigs, but if you can find the right modules, 64 GB should not be an issue with this board at all. Perfect for performance enthusiasts.
Apart from that, you get an interesting assortment of features for overclocking both in the presence of onboard buttons and extensive software support. Always great to see on older hardware.
Design-wise, the Pro 3 r2.0 might not blow anyone away, but it allows for external devices and has decent audio quality.
ASRock is using a plain black PCB with minimal styling here, providing the board with a more modern look. The chipset heatsink and black accents on the DIMM slots provide a nice contrast to the PCB.
Apart from that, you get USB 3.1 support, a reliable Gigabit Ethernet connection, and wide compatibility with various AMD processors. While pricing is a bit high, it is well worth it for someone who wants enthusiast features.
- VRM Design: 8/10
- Aesthetics: 7/10
- Connectivity: 8/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall Rating: 7.75/10
5. Gigabyte GA-78LMT – Entry-Level AM3+ Micro-ATX Motherboard
Memory: 32GB @ DDR3 1333MHz (OC) | Chipset: AMD 760G| Form Factor: mATX | Voltage Regulators: 4+1 phases| Storage: 6x SATA | RGB: No | Network Features: Realtek 8111E LAN
- Simple, yet functional
- Reliable power delivery design
- USB 3.0 support
- Generic design
- Substandard overclocking
- Doesn’t support faster memory
Last but not least, we have a micro-ATX motherboard serving as an entry-level pick. The GA-78LMT from Gigabyte motherboard is by far the best for those who just want to get their foot in the door with a cheaper motherboard for their gaming rig.
Of course, the 760G chipset is one that has fewer features than the 970 and 990FX chipsets. The practical performance will not differ much, but future proofing could be an issue due to a few lacking features
In terms of the design, there is not much that is to say here about the GA-78LMT. This is a very barebones motherboard in the best way possible.
It is not intended to look unique or interesting, being functional and reliable is the key here. Especially with this micro ATX form factor.
Don’t get us wrong, this is a decent-looking motherboard, just not one that holds up to the other entries on this list. This board features a coffee-colored PCB, something you don’t see these days.
Fortunately, the power delivery and VRMs do feature an aluminum heatsink, and that helps out with the VRM cooling. Surprisingly, the thermal and overall performance in terms of power is decent for an entry-level AMD motherboard.
You normally wouldn’t get full USB 3.0 support with a 760G series motherboard, but Gigabyte has added that functionality. This extends the lifespan of the motherboard, as you won’t feel the slowdown of older ports.
BIOS is intuitive and very easy to navigate, something worth looking into for native BIOS support. Overall construction is also quite solid, which helps the long-term reliability of the board.
RAM maxes out at 1300MHz, but that is fine for an older/affordable AM3+ motherboard.
While there’s not a whole lot going on with this motherboard, it’s a decent pick for the price. Especially considering you can find it for next to nothing these days.
- VRM Design: 7/10
- Aesthetics: 7/10
- Connectivity: 8/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall Rating: 7.5/10
Buyer’s Guide for the Best AM3+ motherboard Options
When it comes to picking a good motherboard for AM3+ , you need to know the difference between Gigabyte Ultra Durable technology, or even dual channel memory architecture.
Not everyone is a PC build enthusiast, so knowing the difference between UEFI BIOS and Dual BIOS doesn’t come naturally.
In order to help you, here is a complete buying guide so you can figure out exactly what you need for maximum system performance.
Compatibility and Finding the Right Chipset
When buying a motherboard for any processor, compatibility is the first thing to worry about. A processor is limited to the chipsets supported by the socket CPU it uses for connecting to the board. Even the best motherboard won’t make the best gaming PC if it isn’t compatible.
For example, an AM4 motherboard may support chipsets such as B350, A520, X570, etc. However, that does not mean that any chipset will work with a processor that is supported by it.
Think of it this way, a high-end processor such as a 5950X will not be the best fit for an entry-level B450 motherboard. This is because that motherboard may have VRMs that can’t handle the 5950X with overclocking.
Furthermore, it doesn’t make practical sense to miss out on features to save money. Especially if you are spending that much on the processor alone. The same idea applies to previous generation sockets/processors, such as the AM3+ platform.
You want to use the chipset that will have a decent upgrade path down the line, and also have all the features that you need currently.
Support and Power
The AM3+ socket supports AMD FX, Phenom II, Athlon II, and Sempron processors. You can create an interesting build on a budget here. However, you will miss out on a lot of power. A motherboard that supports jack detection and low speed peripheral buses with Northbridge and Southbridge will be like setting your computer in slow mode.
With the AM3+, you don’t have a lot of modern choices. If you want high TDP CPU support, hybrid EFI technology, or even Easy Energy Saver technology, you may want to look elsewhere. Because with this older socket, you just won’t find many modern motherboard features.
Network and Connectivity
For the average audience, network and connectivity are arguably more important than the number of power stages their motherboard has.
Not everyone cares about overclocking or memory channels, but no one wants lackluster connectivity/networking.
In terms of the network features, you want to look out for a reliable Ethernet controller. For the most part, you’ll see Intel’s Gigabit or 2.5 Gigabit controller. RealTek GbE LAN chip is a great option also. Killer LAN might be better in some cases, as it proves to be even more reliable. But as long as you have options, like more than one ethernet LAN port, your connectivity will be ok.
Similarly, you want to look out for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. If you are buying older gen hardware, be aware that neither of these will likely be available. Pick and choose wisely.
In terms of connectivity, you obviously want to make sure you have the right number of USB ports for your needs. USB 2.0 ports are slow but fine for connecting devices such as mice and keyboards.
USB 3.1 or 3.1 Gen 2 is where things get interesting, as you can transfer files and data quickly. Type-C is quite common. Apart from that, look out for audio support.
This includes more or less than six analog audio jacks and high quality audio capacitors. Not only do you want good audio quality, but also Wi-Fi antenna ports, and of course, video outputs.
Storage and System Memory
Storage isn’t normally something people focus on. This is because buyers rely on their existing drives to “just work” with their next motherboard purchase.
But the best motherboards for AM3+ should have outstanding competitor specification when it comes to system memory speed, memory slot options, and overall storage capacity.
SATA drives will not be a problem. However, PCIe Gen 4 and PCIe Gen 3 are bringing us blazing-fast storage devices. These can be found in the form of M.2 drives.
If you need faster storage and more memory capacity, this is something you want to look out for.
Of course, you want to look out for traditional SATA ports as well. The majority of motherboards come with six SATA III ports, more than enough for most users. Combine that with one or two M.2 slots, and you are good to go if gaming your concern.
Of course, we acknowledge that content creators and professionals need access to more storage and memory capacity as well. So look out for support for more M.2 slots, preferably even with PCIe Gen 4 speeds.
Will Ryzen Work On AM3+ Motherboards?
Ryzen processors will not work with AM3+ Motherboards. This is because Ryzen uses an entirely different architecture and a newer socket known as AM4. All the motherboards on this list are not compatible with Ryzen.
What Is The Fastest AM3+ Socket Processor
The AMD FX 8370 is the fastest desktop AM3+ processor. It features 8 cores, 8 threads, and a clock speed of up to 4.3GHz. It is one of the few AM3+ processors that can prove to be decent for entry-level or “low-spec” gaming.
Can AM3+ Use DDR4?
AM3+ can’t use DDR4 as it is an older socket, it uses DDR3. Regardless of the processor, no AM3/AM3+ motherboard has support for DDR4. Be aware of this as DDR3 does show its age in.
Does AM3+ Support PCI Express Graphics Interfaces?
AM3+ chipset compatibility does not support PCIe 3.0 or 4.0. PCIe 2.0 will not deter graphics performance.