AMD Athlon 200GE Review: $55 Zen CPU
Today we’re taking a look at the new Athlon 200GE, AMD’s most affordable Zen based processor yet. We covered the specs in detail last week when AMD officially announced the processor, that said we’ll go over the basics again.
While Ryzen processors are typically known for packing many cores, we’ve seen quad-core variants such as the Ryzen 3 1200 and more recently the 2200G. The Athlon 200GE is a dual-core though, but before your shrek louder than the coil whine of a cheap graphics card, consider the price, this is a $55 processor.
The Athlon 200GE’s two cores are clocked at 3.2 GHz, there’s 5MB of cache in total, and the integrated Radeon GPU packs just 3 compute units. The TDP rating has been set at just 35 watts. You also get SMT, so although it’s a dual-core it does support 4 thread processing. So it’s like a traditional Intel Core i3, and like a traditional Core i3 it’s also locked. Indeed, AMD’s now locking desktop processors.
AMD is claiming Pentium G4560-like performance, which by today’s standards isn’t great, but also not bad for $55. The fact that this is happening on the AM4 platform is a plus. AMD also claims the integrated GPU isn’t nearly as useless as it sounds on paper, despite packing over 60% fewer compute units when compared to the 2200G.
They say the Athlon 200GE is perfect for students, casual gamers, use in the family PC for browsing the interwebs, firing off electronic mail and doing homework, whatever that last one is, but seriously stay in school and work hard young readers…
Anyway, it’s an inexpensive Zen CPU that can take advantage of existing AM4 motherboards. You can either buy a dirt cheap — and frankly dirt quality — A320 motherboard, and build the ultimate brand new budget banger. Or you can stick it on a slightly more expensive, but worlds better B350 or B450 motherboard and after saving a dollar a day for a year upgrade to the Ryzen 7 2700X, and in the process upgrade from a casual gamer to full time basement dweller. But I digress.
Since we’re neck deep in GeForce RTX testing at the moment (tomorrow, yay!), we didn’t have unlimited time to to spend on this one, but we’re confident what we have will suffice. Although the name is very different, being that it’s called an Athlon and all, what we have here is quite familiar. It’s a Raven Ridge APU, basically the 2400G with two cores lopped off, almost a quarter of the integrated GPU and a third of the price.
We were forced to use DDR4-2666 on the Gigabyte AB350N-Gaming WiFi motherboard used for this review. The 2200G and 2400G worked fine with 3200 memory but forcing that setting in the BIOS with the Athlon chip didn’t see the frequency stick, capping us at 2666. AMD claimed that the 200GE is “ready for DRAM overclocking” in their media presentation, so I’m not sure what’s going on there.
It’s a Raven Ridge APU, basically the 2400G with two cores lopped off, almost a quarter of the integrated GPU and a third of the price.
For comparison we have a heap of budget CPUs from AMD and Intel. There’s also some iGPU testing and a comparison with older discrete graphics cards, and then some power and temp testing as well as a simulated overclock to see what we’re missing out on…
Using DDR4-2666 which is what we were forced to use with the Athlon 200GE, we see a memory bandwidth of roughly 29 GB/s which is comparable to the Core i3-8100. When compared to Zen based processors using DDR4-2933 memory, we see that bandwidth has been reduced by about 15% and this larger than expected margin is also down to the lower core clock speed.
Moving on to Cinebench R15 and we find a very dual core with SMT like score, 360 pts. This made the 200GE around 6% slower than the Pentium G4560 and 13% slower when looking at single core performance and similar margins were seen when compared to the Pentium G5400. So as expected this $55 processor won’t be blowing any socks off, but it is considerably better than the budget Bulldozer offerings on the AM4 platform, such as the $110 A12-9800.
Next up we have the Corona benchmark and here the 200GE was 10% slower than the Pentium G4560, but a massive 31% faster than the A12-9800. It was also 32% slower than the Ryzen 3 2200G, so not a great results overall, but given the price not a bad result either.
Now these results are important, particularly if you run any workloads that take advantage of AVX instructions as this instruction set isn’t supported by the Pentium G4560. As a result the 200GE was 24% faster than the G4560 in this test, giving the Athlon chip a massive advantage in AVX workloads.