What just happened? It took most by surprise when AMD announced they were returning to the Athlon branding a few months ago, but it seems the strategy paid off, as they’re releasing basically the same CPU two more times. No major retailers have listed the processors yet, but they most likely will soon.
The Athlon 220GE and Athlon 240GE share almost every spec with their older cousin, the Athlon 200GE (read our review here). All processors have two Zen cores, four threads and a 35W TDP. They all have the same three integrated Vega graphics units clocked at 1Ghz that get the chip about 60fps in titles like CS:GO and Overwatch at 720p.
The only differences are the prices and base clock speeds, which jump from 3.2Ghz for $55 in the case of the 200GE, to 3.4Ghz for $65 and 3.5Ghz for $75. All three are locked, of course, more than likely because they’re the same chip with the frequency adjusted. As we found out when an MSI motherboard update accidentally unlocked the chip, the 200GE can reach 3.8Ghz easily enough.
Given that the 200GE improved anywhere from 12% to 16% in games while overclocked to 3.8Ghz, a rough estimate would suggest the 220GE would perform about 4-5% better than the 200GE, and the 240GE would perform about 6-8% better. But at a $10 price hike, that’s a terrible deal.
In workflows that the new Athlons are designed for – because let’s be real, serious gaming is out of the question – a few percent performance improvement isn’t going to be noticeable. Web browsing, word processing, emailing, watching videos and stuff is all fine on two cores at 3.2Ghz.
In use cases where the 200GE struggles, such as video processing or CAD, the 240GE isn’t going to offer enough improvement to merit the price hike. At only $20 to $30 more than these new Athlons, the $95 Ryzen 3 2200G offers a staggeringly better deal. Its integrated GPU has more than twice as many cores, which will make 1080p gaming way more fun. And if you’re hooking up a dedicated graphics cards, then going four cores makes a world of difference.
As noted in our review of the 200GE, if you need more performance, its price is so close to the 2200G that if you can muster an extra $40 then it’s the best $40 you’ll spend on the whole system. While proper testing is always required, currently, it seems like the 220GE is beat value-wise by the 200GE, and the 240GE is beat by the 2200G.