AMD Athlon 200GE performance and overclocking

This time we are gonna check out AMD’s new Athlon 200GE processor which is basically the most entry level Zen processor as of it’s release.

Unlike the Ryzen 3 line up, the Athlon 200GE is a two cores/four threads CPU with Vega 3 integrated graphics. I know that it doesn’t sound as impressive but this processor runs at 3.2GHz out of the box at a 35 watt TDP rating.

AMD initially released this as a locked CPU unlike the rest of the Ryzen line up which has decent overclocking capabilities out of the box with the included stock coolers. Apparently, MSI has released a BIOS update to their motherboards which accidentally allowed overclocking on the Athlon 200GE processor. We’ll get into that in a little bit.

The box of the Athlon is pretty small and inside you will find the usual paperwork, an Athlon sticker badge, the processor itself, and a small AMD stock cooler. There wouldn’t be much use for a beefier CPU cooler in most situations as the initial TDP rating of the Athlon 200GE is just around 35w.

During it’s launch, AMD claims that this processor is at par with the Intel Pentium G4560 and the integrated Vega 3 GPU performs to some degree in terms of light gaming, video playback, and photo editing but don’t expect it to be like the highly praised Ryzen 3 2200G which is a quad-core processor with Vega 8 graphics which performs very well on it’s own with high speed memory.

The AMD Athlon 200GE is only limited to use 2666MHz of memory which won’t be able to do much unlike the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G which receives significant performance gains on their integrated Vega graphics with higher speed memory.

Comparing the stock cooler of the Athlon 200GE to the other Ryzen stock coolers (Wraith Stealth, Wraith Spire, and Wraith Prism), you can quickly tell one of the reasons why the Athlon 200GE is so cheap as it comes with a standard Athlon cooler which is almost like the older AMD coolers of the previous generations. Cooling this CPU will be fairly easy with a much beefier but cheap coolers like the Deepcool Gammax 400.

Stock coolers comparison
Stock coolers comparison

Though the Athlon 200GE was initially a locked processor but a BIOS update on MSI AM4 motherboards ith the update AGESA Code allowed overclocking on the Athlon, giving it a significant boost in CPU performance. Before the update, users were able to adjust the overclocking settings on the BIOS but it was ultimately ignored by the system even when applied.

We tested this with our MSI X470 Gaming Plus AM4 motherboard and we were able to push the Athlon 200GE to 3.8GHz stable with 1.35v on the CPU core. Anything beyond that is unstable even up to 1.45v on the CPU core on 3.9GHz.

As of now, overclocking is only limited to MSI AM4 motherboards.

Performance testing

We did some initial testing on the Athlon 200GE on it’s own but for now, these results are just synthetic benchmarks. We will still test this on gaming with the Vega 3 integrated graphics and a dedicated video card that can be realistically paired with this CPU on a follow up article for this.

Here we will show the test results on stock clock speeds as well as with the 3.8Ghz overclock applied.

Testing rig:

  • Athlon 200GE
  • Noctua NH-U12S cooler
  • 2×8 G.Skill Sniper X 3400mhz (down clocked to 2666mhz)
  • MSI X470 Gaming Plus (BIOS ver. 7B79vA5)

As you can see on the results below, the single core performance of the Athlon 200GE is pretty much how we expected it to be. The 3.8Ghz overclock gave a 24% increase in single core performance; On the other hand, there was a 20% increase in multi-core performance. These results are  impressive given that the Athlon 200GE is supposedly a locked processor.

Being able to do minor overclocking is a huge blessing as users can squeeze a little bit more performance out of this chip giving it more potential for a bit more intensive applications.

Cinebench Single core test (Stock)
Cinebench Single core test (3.8GHz overclock)
Cinebench multi-core (stock)
Cinebench multi-core (3.8Ghz overclock)
Initial Conclusion

So far with this initial test, the AMD Athlon 200GE is somewhat showing potential in what it can do with it’s 2-core/4-thread setup. The performance gains when this processor is overclocked up to 3.8Ghz gives a bright outlook on what performance we can get.

On the next part of this review, we will test the processor on several PC games that can be realistically played on the Vega 3 integrated graphics, as well as pair it with a graphics card that will not bottleneck it as much.

*update January 1, 2019*

Gaming performance with RX550 4GB

Adding a graphics card like the RX 550 4GB on this setup allows a decent gaming experience in 720p as you can see on the games tested below.

Unfortunately, the Vega 3 graphics on it’s own wasn’t able to keep up on the games that we usually benchmark even on the lowest graphical presets possible.

Rainbow Six: Siege 720p, Low
Strange Brigade 720p, Low

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