Today we’re taking a look at the new Athlon 3000G, AMD’s most affordable Zen-based processor yet coming in at just $50. To be clear, this unfortunately isn’t a Zen 2 processor. In order words, this is similar to the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G, featuring Zen logic cores with an integrated Vega GPU.

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

There is however one rather significant change that sees the Athlon 3000G to be completely unlocked. With previous releases you couldn’t overclock the CPU, GPU or DDR4 memory, while the 3000G is unlocked, allowing you to tinker with everything.

Also read: The Best Entry Level Gaming CPU: Athlon 200GE vs. Pentium G5400 vs. Ryzen 3 2200G

The headroom we anticipate won’t be huge, but you should be able to extract ~10% more out of the chip. The memory overclocking side is particularly useful given the default spec only calls for DDR4-2666 and this will limit iGPU performance quite a bit. So we’ve tested with DDR4-3200 memory which will give 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 too bad, especially considering AMD’s $75 offering is now down to $50 with the Athlon 3000G. For testing we’re using the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max and we’ve got fresh iGPU game data comparing a range of new and old Ryzen parts to the Intel Core i3-8100. Before that though, let’s check out some application benchmarks.

Benchmarks

Testing the Athlon 3000G with DDR4-3200 memory means we're using the same memory as other Ryzen processors. The 200GE though is limited to DDR4-2666 memory. This sees memory bandwidth improve by 23%, so it will be interesting to see if the 3000G can put all that extra bandwidth to use.

Here’s a look at Cinebench R15 multi-threaded performance. As expected the 3000G is ~5% faster than the Athlon 200GE and that placed it roughly on par with the Pentium G4560, not amazing performance by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s also not bad for $50.

Single thread performance is also where you’d expect it to be, a fraction faster than the 200GE and on par with the Ryzen 3 1200. A score of 133 pts isn’t impressive by today's standards, but for a $50 CPU isn’t bad and is more than powerful enough for office type tasks.

Speaking of, here’s a look at Excel performance using the Monte Carlo simulation and here the 3000G reduced the completion time from the 200GE by 6%. That said, it still took 16% longer than the Pentium G4560.

The higher clocked cores and extra memory bandwidth allowed for a mild 6% performance uplift in PCMark 10’s productivity benchmark. This placed the 3000G roughly on par with the Core i3-7100 and Ryzen 3 1200.

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

Like Corona we only see a very minor performance improvement when testing with Blender, the 3000G completed this workload 5% faster and that meant it was still much slower than the Ryzen 3 1200 and Core i3-7100.

Power

The good news here comes with power consumption. The Athlon 3000G is very efficient, pushing total system usage to just 58 watts in the Blender benchmark. That’s a 12% increase over the 200GE but 23% less than the Pentium G4560.

Power consumption when gaming with the integrated GPU is also very good, we’ll look at gaming performance in a moment but needless to say the 3000G is faster than the Core i3-8100 and yet it consumes less power.

Gaming Benchmarks

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

Performance in Rainbow Six Siege at 720p using the low quality settings is horrible, the game is mostly playable but with an average of 40 fps under these conditions it’s almost not worth bothering with. For twice the price you get twice the performance with the 2200G and 80 fps on average enables a significantly more enjoyable gaming experience.

Frame rates in Fortnite are a little better and here we can at least average 55 fps, though that’s only a 4 fps improvement over the 200GE. For those hoping to game on integrated graphics, we’d suggest going no lower than the Ryzen 3 2200G.

Overclocking and Wrap Up

A quick look at overclocking, using 1.35v we were able to push the clock multiplier to x40 and this resulted in an operating frequency of 4 GHz. This saw the 3000G’s Cinebench score improved by 10%, now capable of 418 pts.

No big surprises here. The Athlon 3000G performs as closely as we imagine the 240GE would, making it a smidgen 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 yet.

Actually, here's a quick look at cost per point in Cinebench…

The Athlon 3000G is the cheapest CPU and it also offers the best value at just 13 cents per point. If you’re willing to spend just $14 more, the Ryzen 3 1200 is much more powerful, though in terms of value it’s about the same.

There are a number of options that will provide a much better experience, providing you can afford to spend $20 to $50 more, which might be a big ask given the 3000G costs $50 to begin with. Still, we think for most of you reading this it will make far more sense to just spend that additional $45 to get the Ryzen 3 3200G or even $100 more on the 2400G. Actually the 3400G seems to be on sale right now for $132 so that would be an even better option.

AMD provided the Asrock DeskMini A300 with our Athlon 3000G sample, it’s a neat little custom built system that we’ve featured before. It costs $150 as a barebone, you just have to add memory, storage and the CPU. That means with 8GB of DDR4, priced at around $35, a 256GB SSD for about $30, and the Athlon 3000G for $50, the entire build would come out at $265, so pretty damn cheap.

Even if you went with the Ryzen 5 3400G, that would increase the total cost by 34% to $355, and that’s not an insignificant price increase for such an affordable PC, but you’ll end up with a much more capable PC that’ll deliver a vastly superior experience, particularly if you plan on gaming.

Where the Athlon 3000G makes sense is for businesses looking at buying hundreds or thousands of these things, at that point the savings are massive and for basic productivity tasks it’s proven to be more than capable. The 3000G is a good all-rounder for this purpose, while those after a cheap HTPC or just the cheapest new PC with warranty, there's no better option at this price point.

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