AMD Athlon 200GE: Benchmarking The $60 Zen+Vega Chip

Written by Michael Larabel in Processors on 5 October 2018. Page 1 of 10. 52 Comments

At the high-end of the AMD desktop CPU 2018 spectrum is the insanely fast Threadripper 2990WX while at the opposite end of that spectrum is the recently announced Athlon 200GE. For just $60 USD is this Zen+Vega chip that we have begun testing and have our initial Linux performance benchmarks out today compared to a range of lower-end and older desktop CPUs as well as integrated graphics test results, power consumption data, and performance-per-dollar metrics.

AMD announced the Athlon 200GE at the start of September as a dual-core part plus SMT to yield four threads while clocking at 3.2GHz and having a 4MB cache. The Athlon 200GE has Vega 3 graphics (3 compute units) and has a low 35 Watt TDP. It's quite interesting and at only $60 USD. I've been trying to find the Athlon 200GE from major Internet retailers in the US to not much success yet, but AMD ended up sending over this low-cost processor for some Linux benchmarking.

Low-cost processors have a lot of interesting use-cases particularly for Linux users from budget PC builds to more unique scenarios like network/router platforms, home servers, and more. This 14nm processor is rated for DDR4-2667MHz dual-channel memory, is not an unlocked model for any overclocking, the Vega 3 cores clock up to 1000MHz, and has AM4 socket compatibility. It's certainly not a performance champ, but quite an interesting value processor.

The Athlon 200GE can pair nicely with the AMD A320-based motherboards for having quite a low-cost PC... For my Athlon 200GE testing I picked up the Gigabyte A320M-S2H motherboard that only costs $50 USD and supports two DDR4 DIMMs, one NVMe M.2 slot, HDMI / DVI and even still VGA video outputs, and Gigabit Ethernet all on a micro-ATX board. So for $110 USD for the CPU and motherboard is quite cheap for a current-generation processor granted the most expensive component is likely then to be the DDR4 modules at current pricing. On this test system I was using 2 x 4GB Corsair DDR4-3000 memory for being the likely amount of RAM put in a 2018 budget PC.

To little surprise given AMD's mature Zen CPU support on Linux at this stage, the Athlon 200GE on this Gigabyte A320 motherboard worked without any fuss. For my testing I have tried Fedora 28, Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, and Ubuntu 18.10 with no problems to note. My only real concern when receiving the Athlon 200GE was with regards to the Vega 3 graphics given all of the troubles I've had since the Raven Ridge APU rollout earlier this year with the 2200G/2400G that appear to be primarily hair-pulling due to varying motherboard BIOS/firmware causing issues with the Linux graphics driver. But at least with the Athlon 200GE and A320M-S2H I haven't encountered any problems with recent kernel releases, ideally using Linux 4.18+ and Mesa 18.1~18.2+ for the best support and performance.

It's interesting alone for the price, but let's see how the AMD Athlon 200GE performance compares to a variety of Intel and AMD systems both new and old as well as from very low-end to mid-range processors for an interesting perspective.

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