AMD made several announcements for their Athlon, Ryzen and Threadripper families of processors this week. I’m interested only in the Athlon 3000G, the new $50 budget processor that replaces the Athlon 200GE. Unlike the mistake AMD made with the 200GE last year, the 3000G is officially unlocked for overclocking. I’ll do a review of the 200GE and explain the advantages of the 3000G in a “Ryzen 3000 Ready” world.
AMD released the Athlon 200GE as a $60 USD budget processor in August 2018. A 2C/4T processor locked at 3.2GHz and the memory locked at 2666MHz. That disappointed many AMD fans who wanted a cheap processor to overclock like crazy. An affordable processor that could overclock like crazy was the Ryzen 3 processor that cost twice as much at the time.
The Athlon 200GE didn’t really take off until December 2018. MSI released a BIOS updated for their mainboards that unofficially supported overclocking the 200GE to 3.9GHz. Once MSI did that, all the other mainboard manufacturers had to release their own BIOS updates for overclocking the 200GE. Keep in mind that overclocking the 200GE was an unofficial feature not supported by AMD and could be remove in a future BIOS update. Something that became painfully obvious when the Ryzen 3000 BIOS updates came out and new mainboards labeled “Ryzen 3000 Ready” arrived this summer. The ability to overclock the 200GE disappeared to support the newest generation of processors.
If you want to overclock the Athlon 200GE today, you need a mainboard with a BIOS update that supports the Athlon 2xxGE APUs. For my mainboard, the Asrock B450M Pro4, that BIOS update was version 3.10 on March 5, 2019. I’ve been running the 200GE at 3.8GHz on auto voltage setting for the last seven months without any issues. If I was willing to fiddle around with the voltage setting, I could run the 200GE at 3.9GHz. I prefer to set it and forget it.
If you made the mistake of upgrading to the latest and greatest BIOS update, or recently bought a “Ryzen 3000 Ready” mainboard, you will need to re-flash the mainboard to an earlier BIOS update to overclock the 200GE. If your mainboard has the appropriate BIOS update. Newer mainboards released since earlier this year may not have the appropriate BIOS update at all. If so, you’re out of luck for overclocking the 200GE.
The Athlon 3000G is a $50 USD budget processor that will be available on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. A 2C/4T processor at 3.5GHz, memory still locked at 2666MHz, and the Vega 3 GPU running at 1100MHz. Slightly faster than the 200GE when comparing the base hardware specs. I’m hoping that the 3000G will have better availability than the 200GE that was difficult to find in stock even when it wasn’t on sale at the $50 USD.
The main advantage to the 3000G is the ability to overclock at 3.9GHz on a “Ryzen 3000 Ready” mainboard. If your mainboard has the 3000G listed in the CPU compatibility list and the current BIOS update installed. Based on the CPU compatibility lists of various mainboards that I’ve looked at, the B450 and X470 mainboards are well supported. There are no CPU compatibility lists for the older 300- and newer 500-series mainboards that have the 3000G. That might change in the next few weeks before the release date.
As for performance gains, AMD compared the Athlon 3000G to an Intel G5400 processor. That’s fine if you are deciding between Team Red and Team Blue for your next PC build. If you’re already committed to the Ryzen platform, it’s not a useful comparison.
I’m more interested in the performance gain between the 200GE and the 3000G overclocked at 3.9GHz.
- The 200GE has the Zen architecture for the Ryzen 1000 processors.
- The 3000G has the Zen+ architecture for the Ryzen 2000 processors.
According to Wikipedia, the performance gains for Instructions Per Cycle (IPC) from Zen+ over Zen was 3%. The most significant performance gains between the two architectures came from higher clock speeds. I expect the 200GE and 3000G to be similar in performance.
Should you get the AMD Athlon 3000G when it comes out?
- If you already have an 200GE and a mainboard with the BIOS update to overclock the processor, there’s no need to replace it with the 3000G.
- If you’re planning a new budget build, or have a “Ryzen 3000 Ready” mainboard, go for the 3000G.
If the Athlon 3000G doesn’t sell out and become immediately unavailable.