5 Good AMD AM3+ and FM2+ Gaming Motherboards 2016
While the AMD AM3+ platform is now several years old, did you know that many of its motherboards are still in the top 10 for retailer sites? This proves that the passion from AMD's consumers is still very much alive. This comes because of one major selling point, value.
I recommend AMD's AM3+ and FM2+ platforms for a variety of builds on my website. While most of these builds are budget builds, there's a lot to like about the performance you get with them.
If it's been a while since you've built a PC and you're confused about the compatibility of newer motherboards in 2016, here's a brief list that should help you.
Am3+ and FM2+ AMD Processor Compatibility
Compatibility for these motherboards goes back several years and includes the FX, Phenom II, Athlon II, and Sempron 100 series processors. These all support up to a PCIe 2.0 standard (non-synthesized).
When AMD initially released its Llano K10 architecture back in 2011, I figured that socket FM1 might last more than just one generation, but it didn't. While the socket FM2 lasted through Trinity and Richland, using one of AMD's newer steamroller core Kaveri APU and Athlon CPU will require a socket FM2+ motherboard. FM2+ motherboards are backward compatible with FM2 based APU and CPU.
What Else is New with FM2+?
FM2+ motherboards offer native support for 4k resolution displays on an HDMI port, PCIe 3.0, as well as DX11.1.
AMD in 2016 and 2017
In 2016, we're expecting AMD's Bristol Ridge to be the first to hit the AM4 platform. AM4 motherboards have already been spotted. It's expected that this will happen around late 2016. AMD's Zen FX CPUs were expected to be released in late 2017 but will now be delayed until early 2017. It's rumored that Zen based-APUs will bring pS4 and Xbox One-type performance in 2017.
AMD's CTO recently mentioned that Zen will feature a 40% instructions per clock improvement over Excavator.
5 Good AM3+ Motherboards for the Money in 2016
Asus Crosshair V Formula-Z
Looking for a FM2+ motherboard? Scroll down to see my 5 favorite options.
If you're really trying to get the most out of your FX series processor, a good way to do that is with Asus’ Crosshair V Formula-Z. This motherboard represents a high-quality design with plenty of overclocking features. For the performance you get, it also sells for a reasonable price and it holds most of the world records as well.
By no means am I suggesting that if you're going with a budget build you that you should go with this board. In that case, you'd be better off going with a budget board and putting more towards your CPU and GPU.
I also don't necessarily suggest this board for those going for a pretty standard over-clock as this can easily be handled by the Asus Sabertooth Model or Pro models.
That being said, if you do want the highest level of performance for your gaming rig, then this can provide it.
Key Features Include:
- Up to 32GB of DDR3 2400 (OC)
- 3 x PCIe 2.0 x 16, 8 x SATA 6Gb/s
- Supreme FX III Audio Chipset
- Extreme Engine Digi+ II
- 3 Qay SLI/CrossFire X
- Supercharged LAN.
Under $150 - Asus M5A99FX Pro R2.0
In terms of value and power usage, the Asus M5A99FX is probably my favorite. Find it on rebate and you can get it for under $120. For that $120, you get many of the same military-grade quality components of higher-end boards with similar over-clocking features that you need while not paying for those you don't want if you're not setting world records.
While this board did receive a Tom's Hardware Smart Buy award, I feel that it's perfect for the Avid power user. However, again, it's not necessarily appropriate for the budget user or those looking for a small over-clock. Those buyer's may be more interested in what I recommended in my $500 budget PC gaming build.
Good AM3+ Motherboard Under $100
MSI 970 Gaming
I've been impressed with MSI's attention to quality while maintaining low pricing as of late. The MSI 970 Gaming has to be my favorite AM3+ motherboard in the under $100 category.
With it I was able to take my FX 8350 to 5GHz while keeping CPU temps around 56 degrees celsius under full load.
For design, the black and red scheme of the board is amazing and compliments the high-end hardware of my rig nicely. Shielded audio along with quality components and full SLI and Crossfire support really give you a lot for what you spend.
In addition, this motherboard has simply been reliable for me and is a perfect option at right around $100.
A Good Budget AMD Am3+ Motherboard Under $50
If you find this Gigabyte board on rebate, you can get it for under $40 this month. While this board isn't meant for overclocking, most likely if you're in this price range you're just trying to put together a standard rig and dedicating as much money to your GPU/CPU as possible.
A Good CPU/GPU Combo Under $300 for this Board
Want the most out of your rig? Try putting this board with an FX 6300 CPU and an R9 270X for a great CPU/GPU combo under $300 that will allow you to run modern games in 1080p.
Benchmark Example: A game like Battlefield 4 with this CPU/GPU combo should net you an average of 68FPS on High Detail Settings in 1080p.
5 Good FM2+ Motherboards for the Money in 2016
When you're looking at FM2+ motherboards, you're generally talking about a budget build and, therefore, want to avoid overspending on the motherboard. Anything over $100, you'd actually have to question whether you'd be better off going with a similar AM3+ option.
There are exceptions to this, like a home theater or Mini ITX builds that simply have no AM3+ options available.
Other than that, your FM2+ build is really there just to give you the most amount of performance possible for the money you spend. This is best accomplished by going with one of the less expensive options below along with an Athlon GPU combination or stand-alone APU. Going into this with a multi-GPU setup in mind you'd have to question, again, whether or not you'd be better with an AM3+ setup.
FM2+ Motherboards Under $50
This is the price point I feel that is really appealing for micro ATX builds. While a mini ITX board could charge more for additional features, gamers wanting to build these PCs expect an inexpensive price tag along with quality parts.
The two motherboards below are my picks this month due to their price this month along with functionality.
Includes support for FM2+/FM2 socket APU and Athlon CPUs as well as up to Triple-Monitor Support. Features 8 USB 2.0 and 4 Sata 2 Ports.
GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-D3H FM2+ Motherboard Layout
This is the perfect board for those looking for plenty of features with all of the bells and whistles you don't need.
The quality is substantially better than the boards above with Ultra Durable 4 Plus, and it has extras like compatibility for DDR3 2133 memory, HDMI, Dual-Link DVI, and D-Sub ports for Triple-Monitor Support.
Those who want to overclock can do so; however, you may want to consider some heatsinks for the MOSFETs.
A Good AMD Mini ITX FM2+ Motherboard for HTPCs
For me, this is where the socket FM2+ processors and APU hold the most appeal. Small form factor Mini ITX builds along with inexpensive APUs that combine both my graphics card and processor just make sense.
This board comes with everything you need to get set up quickly and has features that most want like built-in Wi-Fi.
Additional technical specifications include; 1 PCIe x 16, 4 x Sata 6GB/s, up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 Ports, and support for up to 64GB of DDR3 2133 system memory.
A Good Gaming FM2+ Motherboard for Overclockers in 2016
In my opinion, you have to really know a motherboard like this really well in order to know why you'd purchase it. If you're looking for raw FPS, then you might get an AM3+/CPU combo option that works better. If you want to make the most out of your small form factor FM2+ build, then this will help.
That being said, in my opinion, the main reason for purchasing this motherboard falls more in line with its gaming features. This includes the Killer E2200 Networking, Onboard Audio with the Realtek ALC1150 Chipset, and all of the expansion and rear panel ports you want for your HTPC or small form factor gaming rig.
Overall it's not for everyone, but for those looking to make the most of their FM2+ setup.
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© 2014 Brandon Hart
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AMD AM3+ and FM2+ Open Commentary
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