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Pros: I've had this for two years now. It's a nice, affordable CPU. Overclocks well.
Cons: Stock heatsink/fan could be a little better.
A lot of the AM3+ motherboards are not designed well for the FX series which is a glaring oversight, so please do your research before buying everything.
Finally, the way AMD advertises these CPU's is a bit misleading. They call this 6300 a 6-core but it's truly a 3-core CPU with 2 THREADS per core, giving you 6 threads across 3 cores. The FX 8xxx and 9xxx series are true quad core CPU's. But there's really nothing that is actually a true 6-core or 8-core CPU in this line, and that's the honest truth.
So to simplify -- FX 4xxx series = Dual Core (2 threads per core = 4 threads), FX 6xxx series = Tri Core (2 threads per core = 6 threads), FX 8xxx and 9xxx series = Quad Core (2 threads per core = 8 threads)
Other Thoughts: This CPU (and everything in the FX series really) is going to get a lot of extra mileage with DX12 coming soon. The 8-core FX series is actually neck to neck with the i5 4690 in DX12 benchmarks that you can find easily by using a search engine. This 6-core CPU will fall a bit behind obviously, but not by a lot I'd imagine. Everyone who has been holding on to this CPU, continue to do so -- and If you are going to buy this, you're making a smart choice if you're on a budget.
We're going to get a HUGE boost once games start using DX12! You can thank the latest wave of game consoles using Jaguar (PS4, XBone) for finally forcing games to make the switch from focusing on single-threaded performance to multi-threaded. The potential is there in this chip, it's just not being utilized... but it will be very, very soon.
Pros: Can't ask for much better for this price. It's a great all around budget-oriented CPU: heavy multitasking, multimedia, gaming, video encoding/transcoding, file compression, virtual machines -- can't go wrong. You can get a lot of extra mileage out of this by overclocking as well.
I find myself more GPU limited when gaming with this thing. I know if I popped in a 280X it would be just fine. I don't see the 6300 ever being much of a bottleneck unless you are doing a lot of high-end emulation. Even games that rely on every ounce of power out of the single thread (where this CPU falls behind) will benefit from a strong GPU to help compensate.
Another plus: The 6300 is 95W, not 125W, so overclocking on a board like the 970A-G46 should be okay if you don't go too far beyond the max clock/voltage spec for this CPU (4.1, 4.2GHz at the most at around 1.4v). Just make sure you have air blowing on those VRM's since the aftermarket coolers you would need tend to be to high above them (this is vital to a stable OC on the 970 series motherboards -- remember this).
My 6300 is currently at 4192MHz @ 1.4v on a 970A-G46 with the Hyper TX3 heatsink/fan.
Cons: 1. It really isn't a 6 core. It's a tri-core CPU with 2 threads on each core. In a way it mimics a 6 core but is not _actually_ a 6 core.
2. No legitimate upgrade path besides a FX 83xx which really doesn't make any sense, because the price doesn't justify the boost in performance you would get. Socket AM3+ is over and done with. You have to take this into account before deciding on if you want to purchase this or not. It's 2014! Granted, with the right GPU a build with the 6300 (overclocked) could last you a good 3-4 years.
3. The heatsink/fan is a joke. If you are on a super tight budget get some quality thermal paste -- which is less than 10 bucks -- and take off the junk paste AMD is using. Only that and that alone can guarantee you decent performance out of the stock cooler. You can even get away with a light OC of up to 3.7-3.8GHz with better paste at stock voltage. If you don't know how to put it on, it's just one youtube video away.
4. Because the 6300 is starting to show its age as I said, you will want to OC if you buy this. Which means an instant $30-50 at least added on to the price for this CPU. Which means you could just go with a low end alternative from AMD's rival priced about the same that actually exceeds this CPU in *gaming* benchmarks (which 90% of you are likely buying this CPU for first and foremost -- a gaming-centric rig) at stock and even beyond. For this I am deducting a star.
AMD should just discontinue the 4300 and make this CPU <$100. It's time.
Other Thoughts: To simplify:
-Great all-around CPU, but certainly starting to show its age.
-Use something like Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste if you intend to use the stock heatsink/fan. OC no higher than 3.8GHz, DO NOT increase voltage.
-Any higher OC requires an aftermarket cooler. Match the voltage to the spec of the CPU for said clock speed up to 4.1GHz and you should be fine. Anything beyond that can be tricky depending on your board/limits of your individual CPU (they aren't all created equal for how far one intends to push their overclock).
-If you are using 970 series motherboards with an aftermarket cooling device, make sure you have an air intake near the VRM's. If you don't know what this means, don't overclock.
-Disable turbo core for all OC scenarios.
Frankly I think this is the best CPU AMD has to offer currently -- it has all the hallmarks of what keeps people coming back to their brand: Solid performance and overclocks with relative ease for a low price compared the the competition. Is it the best? No. But you can get the most out of your dollar by matching this with a nice GPU. The 4xxx FX series shouldn't even be around anymore, the 8xxx FX series is too expensive given how long they've been on the market, and have heat/power issues with too many boards to be worth your trouble. Kaveri leaves much to be desired. If you are going to buy an AMD chip, this is what you want. If you want more power, sadly you should just give your money to you-know-who.
Pros: Great value when I bought it in June of 2013. Still pretty good, could be a bit cheaper though now that the 760 is out. Regardless, a 660 with the right CPU will get through any game on high/very high/ultra (depending on the game being played of course). Also nice to see the various improvements made in performance from nVidia's drivers alone. Their rival comes nowhere close to that level of dedication.
Cons: I used to get great temps from this card. Before I started having problems, I would get very low temps -- no higher than 62-67C depending on the game.
But sadly, almost a year to the day of owning this card, it started to overheat. Whether I used Furmark or just play a game for a while (which is when I discovered this problem), the card will get to 89-90C. Since the max heat spec of a 660 is 97C, the fans spin at 100% for a few seconds, it goes back down to 85C or so, then right back up... it is constant. I am using fan control software to force them to move more air once it gets to around 75C, preventing it from getting too hot.... but this is likely very hard on the fans, but is the only way I can keep it from overheating. Not to mention, very noisy and annoying... reminds me of the vintage days of PC gaming, and that's not always a good thing.
Thankfully I have not experienced any artifacts/black screens/lockups yet. But the fans are definitely being stressed and I don't know how much longer they'll last. Furthermore, I can't determine if this is a problem with the GPU cooler, the two fans fans, or perhaps the card's VRM's? Hard to say.
Other Thoughts: I even tried taking off the heatsink, cleaning it and the core, and and applying just the right amount of quality thermal paste. It did nothing one way or the other. Well, temps *do* drop a little faster after gaming/stress testing. However, while actually gaming or stress testing, it takes the same amount of time to get up to 90C and does not stop until the fan kicks in.
I think I got a dud? This is pretty solid card... I am really disappointed that mine didn't even last a year. I don't even game that much, and I always kept it free of dust and provided plenty of airflow in my case.
I can only hope this card will last for at least a few more months. As previously mentioned, I have the fan speed software set up to keep it from overheating. But if it's the fans or the power design of the card, it's probably only a matter of time before it interferes with gaming and possibly usage in general.