AMD Athlon 3000G Assessment: An Unlocked $50 CPU

Today we're going to take a look at the new Athlon 3000G, AMD's cheapest Zen-based processor, which so far has only cost $ 50. Unfortunately, this is not a Zen 2 processor. In other words, this is similar to the Ryzen 3 2200G and the Ryzen 5 2400G with Zen logic cores with an integrated Vega GPU.

This also means that the Athlon 3000G is just a refresh of the Athlon 240GE, which, as many of you know, is a slightly higher clocked version of the $ 55 200GE. Compared to the 240GE, the 3000G still has 2 cores with SMT support for 4 threads, works with the same basic frequency of 3.5 GHz, packs 5 MB cache and a Vega 3 graphics engine with 192 cores. The iGPU was overclocked by 100 MHz and now works at 1.1 GHz.

However, there is a fairly significant change that fully unlocks the Athlon 3000G. In previous versions, you couldn't overclock the CPU, GPU, or DDR4 memory while the 3000G was unlocked, so you could tinker with everything.

Also read: The best entry-level gaming CPU: Athlon 200GE vs. Pentium G5400 vs. Ryzen 3 2200G

The headroom we expect will not be very large, but you should be able to get ~ 10% more out of the chip. The memory overclocking side is particularly useful because the standard specification only requires DDR4-2666 and this severely limits iGPU performance. So we tested with DDR4-3200 memory, which gives the 3000G a big advantage over the previously tested Athlon 200GE (we never got our hands on the 240GE).

An overclockable 240GE doesn't sound bad, especially considering that AMD's $ 75 offering with the Athlon 3000G has now dropped to $ 50. For testing, we use the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max and have new iGPU game data that compares a number of new and old Ryzen parts with the Intel Core i3-8100. Let's take a look at some application benchmarks beforehand.

Benchmarks

If you test the Athlon 3000G with DDR4-3200 memory, we use the same memory as other Ryzen processors. However, the 200GE is limited to DDR4-2666 memory. This improves the memory bandwidth by 23%. So it will be interesting to see if the 3000G can use all of this extra bandwidth.

Here's a look at the multithreaded performance of Cinebench R15. As expected, the 3000G ~ 5% faster than the Athlon 200GE, roughly on par with the Pentium G4560, not an astonishing feat, but not bad for $ 50 either.

The performance of a single thread is where you would expect, a fraction faster than the 200GE and at the level of the Ryzen 3 1200. A score of 133 points is not impressive by today's standards, but for a $ 50 CPU not bad and is more than powerful enough for office tasks.

Speaking of which, here's a look at Excel performance using Monte Carlo simulation. Here the 3000G reduced the completion time of 200GE by 6%. Still, it took 16% longer than the Pentium G4560.

The higher clocked cores and the additional memory bandwidth enabled a slight increase in performance of 6% in the productivity benchmark of PCMark 10. The 3000G was thus roughly on the level of the Core i3-7100 and the Ryzen 3 1200.

This time we see a 4% reduction in completion time for the Athlon 3000G compared to the 200GE. About what you would expect for a 9% frequency increase.

As with Corona, when testing with Blender, we only see a slight improvement in performance. The 3000G did this workload 5% faster and was still much slower than the Ryzen 3 1200 and the Core i3-7100.

power

The good news here is power consumption. The Athlon 3000G is very efficient and increases the overall system usage in the Blender benchmark to only 58 watts. That's 12% more than the 200GE, but 23% less than the Pentium G4560.

The power consumption when playing with an integrated GPU is also very good. We'll deal with gaming performance in a moment, but of course the 3000G is faster than the Core i3-8100 and still uses less power.

Gaming benchmarks

In the Rocket League, the Athlon 3000G is 23% faster than the Core i3-8100, although it was only 4% faster than the 200GE. We expected the faster DDR4 memory to offer a greater performance advantage.

The performance in Rainbow Six Siege at 720p with the low quality settings is terrible. The game is mostly playable, but with an average of 40 fps under these conditions, it is almost not worth it to deal with. For twice the price you get with the 2200G and an average of 80 fps, this enables a much more pleasant gaming experience.

The frame rates in Fortnite are slightly better and we can achieve at least 55 fps here, although this is only an improvement of 4 fps compared to the 200GE. For those who want to play on integrated graphics, we recommend not driving lower than the Ryzen 3 2200G.

Overclocking and wrap up

A quick look at overclocking at 1.35 V, we were able to set the clock multiplier to x40 and this led to an operating frequency of 4 GHz. As a result, the Cinebench score of the 3000G improved by 10% and could now reach 418 points.

No big surprises here. The Athlon 3000G works as well as we would imagine with the 240GE, making it faster than the 200GE. The good news is that you get it for less and it's unlocked, and that makes it the fastest and cheapest Zen-based Athlon part ever.

Here is a brief overview of the cost per point in Cinebench …

The Athlon 3000G is the cheapest CPU and offers the best value with only 13 cents per point. When you're ready to spend just $ 14 more, the Ryzen 3 1200 is much more powerful, though roughly the same in value.

There are a number of options out there that offer a much better experience, provided you can afford to spend $ 20 to $ 50 more. This could be a big challenge as the 3000G initially costs $ 50. Still, we think that for most of you reading this, it makes a lot more sense to spend just that extra $ 45 to get the Ryzen 3 3200G, or even $ 100 more for the 2400G. In fact, the 3400G currently appears to be available for $ 132, so this would be an even better option.

AMD provided the Asrock DeskMini A300 with our Athlon 3000G example. It is a nice little custom system that we introduced earlier. As a barebone, it costs $ 150. All you have to do is add memory, memory and the CPU. That said, with 8GB of DDR4 priced at around $ 35, a 256GB SSD for around $ 30, and the Athlon 3000G for $ 50, the entire build would come out at $ 265, so damn cheap .

Even if you chose the Ryzen 5 3400G, the total cost would increase by 34% to $ 355. This is not an insignificant price hike for such an affordable PC, but you will get a much more powerful PC that does this. Offer a superior experience, especially if you want to play games.

If the Athlon 3000G makes sense for companies that want to buy hundreds or thousands of these things, the savings are huge at this point and it has proven to be more than capable of basic productivity tasks. The 3000G is a good all-rounder for this purpose, while after a cheap HTPC or just the cheapest new PC with warranty, there is no better option at this price.

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