Not everyone has thousands of dollars for top-end gaming hardware. And what if you had only a $50-$60 budget for both the CPU and GPU?
This is where the AMD Athlon comes in.
At this price range, you’re getting an overclockable dual-core APU with 4 threads and onboard Vega 3 graphics.
In this article, I’ll be testing several modern AAA titles on my Athlon processors and find out whether you can actually game properly when it’s OCed or if it’s just better suited for basic tasks.
Where Does AMD Athlon Stand in the AMD CPU Lineup?
The Athlon processors are the low-budget entry-level CPUs from AMD. They are designed to do basic tasks and maybe even some light gaming and from being as powerful as Ryzen 7 or 9 and especially their top-of-the-line, Threadripper series processors.
Check out the list below to see Athlon’s position in the AMD CPU hierarchy:
- AMD Athlon Series: The Weakest CPU in the AMD lineup. Good for doing basic tasks, such as writing Microsoft Word documents, playing videos, and browsing web pages. Not recommended to run games.
- AMD Ryzen 3: perfect for doing basic tasks.
- AMD Ryzen 5: Perfect for casual gamers.
- AMD Ryzen 7: Good for modern AAA titles.
- AMD Ryzen 9: perfect for heavy gaming and streaming.
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper: Can handle anything you throw at it.
Read our new guide on which Intel and AMD CPUs support PCIe 5.0.
Popular AMD Athlon CPUs Benchmark Comparison
On the performance scale, the AMD Athlon 3000G and Athlon 240GE processors sit between Intel Celeron G6900 and Core i5-4460. In the chart below, I’ve provided the position of the popular Athlon processors in terms of the benchmark of other processors.
Here’s the AMD Athlon benchmark comparison:
What Specs Do You Get in the AMD Athlon Processor?
The AMD Athlon processors have a 14 nm Zen 1 architecture with 2 cores, 4 threads, a CPU clock of 3.5 GHz, Vega 3 integrated graphics clocked at 1100 MHz, and most importantly, it’s overclockable.
In fact, being able to OC is the biggest difference between Athlon 3000G and Athlon 200GE, a previous-gen APU that is about $25 more expensive.
After overclocking, I was able to get fairly better performance over the stock. I increased the CPU clock speed from 3.5 GHz all the way up to 4 GHz with a voltage of 1.37 volts, and I was able to add 600 MHz to the Vega 3 GPU with a voltage of 1.35 volts.
These are massive improvements over the out-of-the-box CPU.
OCing the 3000G took the average FPS from 65 to 85 in Rainbow Six Siege, making a 30% increase in performance.
So, if you are getting this processor, overclocking it is highly recommended.
Now, let’s find out if it’s enough to run games.
Also, check our latest post on is Intel i5 good for gaming?
So Is AMD Athlon Good For Gaming?
Despite being entry-level processors, you can still run some light games on the AMD Athlon series CPUs. Especially, when overclocked, the Athlon processors can provide fairly smooth gameplay. For instance, a 3.9 GHz overclocked Athlon 200GE is able to deliver 30+ fps.
Here’s how different games perform on the AMD Athlon processors:
Starting out with Fortnite, at 720p and everything on low, this chip was able to average around 60 FPS. With these settings, the gameplay looked pretty awful, but the game performed decently well.
In comparison, the 3200G was able to play Fortnite at 1080p with Epic view distance at slightly above 60 FPS. It was similarly smooth as 3000G but much more visually pleasing.
Moving onto Overwatch 2 at 720p with low settings, the 3000G managed a respectable 77 FPS on average. I had a good gaming experience and personally, I’d be fine to play with this level of performance.
In contrast, at 1080p and slightly higher settings, the 3200G averages over 91 FPS.
Red Dead Redemption 2
In order to hit 30 frames per second with the 3000G or the 200GE, you’ll have to make pretty big graphical sacrifices in RDR 2. You need to turn everything off or low depending on the available settings, run the game on 720p, and select 50% render scale from the game menu.
The average frame rate I got in Red Dead Redemption 2 on Athlon 3000G was about 33 FPS, and the 200GE provided the same results.
Related content you should read on what is AMD equivalent to Intel Core i7?
On CS GO at 1080p with low settings across the board running on 3000G, you’ll see 85 frames per second. Also, I didn’t really get any severe frame drops when testing the game and could happily play CS GO online with this APU.
On 720p and low settings, you can get up to 127 FPS on average with the 3000G, and with the 200GE chip, you’ll get an average of 73 FPS.
Even PUBG will be playable at 720p with a very low preset. With the Athlon 3000G, you’ll get 32 FPS on average. Even when I started speeding down the road with a motorbike, the frame rate remained fairly stable on the 3000G.
As a comparison, with the 200GE CPU, you’ll see about 28 frames on average.
In Battlefield 5, at 720p and low settings, there were a few heavy stutters, especially, during the opening level. 29 FPS was the average on the 3000G, and on the 200GE it was 25 frames.
Rainbow Six Siege
Finally, I’ve tested Rainbow Six Siege using the built-in benchmark at 720p low, the 3000G put out a respectable 65 FPS on average would seem pretty smooth. Compare this to the 3200G, which plays this game at 1080p and received an average of 76 FPS.
Below is the chart that shows the average FPS of different games on Athlon 3200G, 3000G, and 200GE processors:
Follow our guide what is AMD equivalent to Intel Core i5?
Should You Consider AMD Athlon For A Gaming Build?
If you’d like to run some light games on your device and on a tighter budget, the AMD Athlon series processors are a solid option. Especially, in case you absolutely don’t have the money or can’t wait, then the 3000G should be fine.
But if you can save up $30 more for the 3200G, you’ll get a much better gaming experience, even with the integrated Vega 3 graphics.
You can also save up for a dedicated graphics card, and a cheap one at that, like the RX 460, will give you much better performance. Despite being an inexpensive GPU, the RX 460 is still a beast compared to the Vega 3.
In Rainbow Six Siege, with the overclocked 3000G paired with the RX 460, my system received 192 FPS on average.
In contrast to the stock 3000G using the integrated Vega 3 graphics, this is almost a 300% increase in performance.
That said, in terms of the best-value APU in AMD’s entire lineup, I’d have to give that to the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G. Don’t bother with the Athlon processors, in my opinion, unless you can get it for a really good deal.
In case you are confused about whether to go with Intel or AMD, go through the differences between AMD Athlon vs Intel Pentium. It’ll clear up all your doubts.
What is AMD Athlon good for?
AMD is good for doing low-level basic computing tasks like processing MS Word Documents, web browsing and watching videos. You can even run light games on the Athlon.
How Fast Is AMD Athlon?
The maximum clock rate of AMD Athlon is 3.5 GHz, which can be overclocked to 4 GHz.
Is AMD Athlon 3000G good for gaming?
On AMD Athlon 3000G, you can run popular AAA and Esports titles. But you’ll have to run most games at 720p resolution with low quality and frame rate locked at 30 FPS.
AMD’s Athlon processors are affordable entry-level CPUs that are primarily designed for basic tasks and are not suitable for gaming purposes. But if you don’t have any problems, sacrificing the graphics and running games capped at 30 fps, the Athlon processors will suffice.
So, in case you are after a low-cost low-power CPU and want to play light games or maybe some heavier titles in case you’re feeling daring, AMD Athlon may be just right for you.
Leave a comment below if you have further questions, and we’ll get back to you.