AMD is bringing Athlons back. This morning, the company announced the Athlon 200GE, a two-core, four-thread Zen CPU with three Radeon Vega compute units. The 200GE is designed to light up low-cost PCs with reasonable performance and capable integrated graphics for basic desktop tasks.
This Socket AM4 chip runs at a maximum frequency of 3.2 GHz. It does without any of the Precision Boost logic we've come to expect from higher-end Ryzen CPUs and APUs. The Athlon 200GE's core multipliers are locked down for overclocking, although memory multipliers will remain open for tuning. AMD maintained all 4 MB of the L3 cache that higher-end Raven Ridge APUs get, at least.
The 200GE has a 35-W TDP, and it'll retail for $55. This chip should well and truly put the stake in the heart of AMD's construction-core-derived Bristol Ridge APUs for the most entry-level systems.
The Athlon 200GE's most natural competitor will be the Celeron G4920, a two-core, two-thread Coffee Lake CPU that has 2 MB of L3 cache and a $52 suggested price. The problem for AMD (and, ironically, Intel) is that the Pentium Gold G5400 offers 500 MHz more clock speed than either the Celeron or Athlon, Hyper-Threading support, 4 MB of L3, and a suggested price of $64 (although retail prices are closer to $70).
For DIY builders, every dollar buys more performance at this end of the market, and single-threaded performance matters above all. Given those facts, it's not surprising that the company will be filling out the Athlon lineup with a 220GE and a 240GE in the fourth quarter of this year. Although it didn't disclose any details of those parts, we'd expect that higher clock speeds will be a focus.
For systems that just need the basics, though, the Athlon 200GE could prove a worthy alternative in a market that Intel previously enjoyed uncontested control over, and it completes the Zen renaissance for AMD's product stack. The 200GE will be available at retail and in OEM systems starting September 18.