What Is The Difference Between AM3 and AM3+: Detailed Comparison

AM3 and AM3+ are CPU sockets for AMD processors. The AM3+ sockets are a successor to AM3 sockets. Each one has unique features and specifications that we are about to learn. Are AM3 and AM3+ the same socket? Can AM3+ fit in AM3? There are just too many questions to answer about these CPU sockets. In this article, we have covered everything you might want to know on the topic of “What is the difference between AM3 and AM3+”.

Read our article to find out more.

What is the Difference Between AM3 and AM3+?

AM3+ was launched in mid-2011 and is the last socket from AMD which actually gets official support from Windows XP.  The AM3 socket was launched in February 2009, as a successor to AM2, to provide support for DDR3 SDRAM. The AM3+ was designed for CPUs that use the AMD Bulldozer microarchitecture and have retained compatibility with the former processors. 

Let us now move on to know the key differences between them.

1. Pinhole size

The pinhole size on the new AM3b CPU socket is 11% bigger than that of the former MB. The newer ones have a pinhole size of 0.51 mm, whereas the latter ones have a size of 0.45 mm. This increase in the size of the pinhole has reduced the problem of CPU pin bending.

2. VID Support

The AM3+ MB provides a faster link between the CPU and power controller with 3.4 MHz serial VID support. This is a great increase when compared to the 400 kHz link offered by former MBs. This effective link has also offered better management and power saving.

3. Loadline Support

The AM3+ not only meets AMD requirements but also provides efficient loadline support and offers up to 11.8% better CPU power-saving capacity. 

4. CPU Noise

While the AM3 MB does not produce much CPU noise, the latter MB does an even better job by reducing the noise up to 22%. This contributes to better system stability.

5. Current Support

The AM3+ CPU needs a higher current of 145A which can be provided by newer MB. Whereas the AM3 can only be supported by 110A, implying that the newer ones are capable of satisfying 32% higher current demands.

6. Construction

Both of these sockets may look similar but have a noteworthy difference when it comes to cooling systems. The newer socket is designed with CCR (Combo Cooler Retention Module) and hence provides better cooling to all the components. 

Check out the table below to find out more about AM3 vs AM3+.



Chip form factors PGA PGA
Contacts 941 (Socket)

938 (CPU)

942 (Socket)

938 (Socket AM3 CPU)

940 (Bulldozer Based CPU)

FSB protocol HyperTransport 3.x HyperTransport 3.1
FSB frequency 200 MHz System clock

HyperTransport up to 2.6 GHz

200 MHz System clock

HyperTransport up to 3.2 GHz

Processors Phenom II

Athlon II


Opteron 1380 Series

Phenom II

Athlon II


Opteron 3000 Series

Predecessor AM2+ AM3
Successor AM3+ AM4


Final Thoughts

I hope this article has shown you what is the difference between AM3 and AM3+. To answer your previous questions, both of these are not the same and cannot be used interchangeably. Choose the correct socket for your machine and get going. Do you know any more differences? Let us know in the comments section!

Azad Shaikh

Azad Shaikh

Azad Shaikh is an internet geek at heart. From reviews about computer components to playing X-box one games, Azad takes pleasure in writing about anything and everything about computers. He is a computer engineering graduate and certified ethical hacker. In his leisure time, he reads and explores the internet.

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