AMD Athlon 220GE and 240GE break cover and aim for budget boxes

The TR staff and crowd in general tend to love high-performance, high-priced gear with all the cowbell and a few whistles. Not every build needs pricey equipment, though, whether due to budgetary constraints or simply because its duties are modest in nature. For this situation, AMD's recently-announced Athlon 220GE and 240GE processors could fit the bill just fine.

If those names sound familiar, that's because of the Athlon 200GE, introduced this past September. Much like that chip, the 220GE and 240GE are dual-core, four-thread affairs based on the Zen architecture and fitted with 4 MB of L3 cache. They include the same 3-CU RX Vega IGP, and their multipliers are likewise locked. Their only difference, then, is the clock speed (there's no Precision Boost here). We've collected the main characteristics in the table below.

Cores Threads Clock speed Price
Athlon 240GE 2 4 3.5 GHz $75
Athlon 220GE 2 4 3.4 GHz $65
Athlon 200GE 2 4 3.2 GHz $55

AMD is pricing the Athlon processors in $10 increments. The existing Athlon 200GE should ring in at $55, the 220GE will set buyers back $65, and the 240GE has a $75 price tag. A quick Newegg search puts the dual-core, four-thread Pentium G4560 at a comparative $83, but almost every other contemporary Celeron or Pentium chip is currently priced much higher than we reckon they should. That means the incoming AMD chips should be pretty competitive in the budget arena, and that's good news for cash-strapped builders everywhere.

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    • plonk420
    • 10 months ago

    i got a 200GE for me ma for an HTPC for xmas. amusingly, the VRM runs hotter than the CPU itself (with a bigger 2400G cooler on it). 52C CPU on Prime95, 58C on VRMs on the underwhelming AB350M-DS3H

    bloody quiet, tho

    • ermo
    • 10 months ago

    These die-harvested Zen CPUs would all be good substitutes for my Linux HTPC and would allow me to build an ITX box instead of mATX.

    However, I recently upgraded my HTPC from an old E7500@2.93 GHz with 2×2 GB DDR2 RAM running at 1066 MHz (1:1 FSB:RAM) on an ASUS P5 mATX mobo to an old Q9400@2.80GHz with 2×2 GB DDR3 RAM running at 1400 MHz (FSB at 4×350 MHz so still 1:1 FSB:RAM) on a slightly newer ASRock G41 mATX mobo. I’m reusing the LP Radeon HD 6450 GPU w/h.264 decode acceleration to drive a 1080p monitor.

    With the upgrade, I can now comfortably decode HEVC 1080p content on the CPU. And we’re talking 10 year old hardware running Linux w/Kodi. SSE4.1 is a godsend in that context.

    I tend to plan my purchases such that I can migrate hardware down from Windows -> Linux WS -> Linux HTPC duties, edging more useful life out of components. But I’m slowly reaching the end of the line for that strategy with my current hardware, where the most modern box is an i7-3770K w/32GB DDR-2400 RAM.

    I did recently pick up a HP SFF box with an i5-3470S that was about to be thrown on the trash heap, so that’s probably next in line for HTPC duties once the old box gives up the ghost or I finally decide to upgrade to a 4K 10-bit HDR capable TV.

    • biffzinker
    • 10 months ago

    I wonder if this why AMD didn’t allow overclocking before AGESA 1.0.0.6 was first pushed out by MSI? There’s no point buying the 220/240GE if you can already overclock the 200GE to 3.8-3.9 GHz.

      • Goty
      • 10 months ago

      The question to ask is how many buyers of these parts are realistically interesting in overclocking? I’m willing to bet the fraction is pretty small.

      • LocalCitizen
      • 10 months ago

      you’ll need B350 or better motherboard to overclock. but makes more sense to pair Athlon 2xx with A320 board.

      … hmmmm, looking at newegg the $ difference between boards based on the 2 chipsets is only 5$. worth it if you know how to overclock.

      oem computers found in big box stores will definitely use A320 chips.

    • ozzuneoj
    • 10 months ago

    If someone is on a budget you can buy a refurbished workstation (like a Lenovo m72) for under $100 and it will generally get you an i5 3470, 8GB DDR3, a hard drive, a Windows license (upgradeable to 10) and either a uATX tower or an SFF desktop.

    We’ve been at the point for several years now where most people don’t even need a “new” computer because an older used one will likely be faster than a new one three or four times the price and will probably still outlast it’s useful lifetime.

    If someone is dead set on a brand new system but they are settling for a budget build, they are getting nothing for all that extra money except maybe a couple of small bullet point features that they may never need or use.

      • biffzinker
      • 10 months ago

      Could always start out with the Athlon 200GE and later move up to a six or eight core Ryzen X 3XXX then sell the 200GE. Bonus win for AMD, they sell two CPUs instead of just one.

        • ozzuneoj
        • 10 months ago

        It’s definitely possible to spend $300-$400 on a low end system that could be upgraded later, but very few people do this. Again, if someone is so strapped for cash that they have to buy the lowest end CPU, you can literally buy a whole used system (with a faster CPU) now for only $30 more than that CPU alone. I just bought a computer matching the specs above for $87 with free shipping. The $300 saved could buy an SSD now to make the cheap system screaming fast and the rest could go into savings, where it should probably stay until things are less tight.

      • jihadjoe
      • 10 months ago

      I believe the cheap stuff is mainly for offices. I know mine certainly won’t look kindly on I.T. buying 6-7 year old Ivy Bridge instead of a new Pentium G5500 or Athlon 200GE.

      • Godel
      • 10 months ago

      You are correct, but the i5-3470 model is the M92p.

      The only drawback is that the graphics on these old Intel office machines are always going to be crap, and can’t be readily upgraded to anything worthwhile.

        • ozzuneoj
        • 10 months ago

        Sorry I meant m72. They can be easily found with a 3470. The x2 series are Ivy bridge based. The x3 are Haswell. You get more features, more expansion and a higher end chipset with the 8x or 9x models versus the 7x, but they’re all good machines.

        • NovusBogus
        • 10 months ago

        1050 and 1050Ti come in the half height form factor and can run off PCIe power. That’s plenty for running just about anything at 1920×1080/1200 at medium settings. Just be sure the power supply is >200 watts and you should be okay.

      • adamlongwalker
      • 10 months ago

      Absolutely correct. I made a small fortune selling used computer components to Eastern Europe in the early 00. Even in this day and age in many parts of the world people are running on 10 year old equipment. That’s why in those parts of the world Linux is favorable. It’s free. It works and it makes old Tech respond very well.

      People spend thousands on $$$ on “pretty” things as well as equipment for bragging rights. That same equipment depreciates lousy so what those people spend on the market I pick up for a fraction on the dollar, refurb them and give them to people I know that needs them for free.

      • NovusBogus
      • 10 months ago

      This is the thing that keeps me from getting fired up about these low end CPUs. If you want moar coar, going up to $400 will get you a 6-8 core Ivy Bridge Xeon and the Haswell stuff is starting to go down to that price range too. And as a number of benchmarks and reviews have shown, Sandy/Ivy with SSD and a decent GPU is still plenty capable of typical PC gaming.

      I think the PC I keep at my parent’s house is an m82 SFF with a low profile fanless GT730. No SSD though, only because I question what would happen to an SSD that’s only powered up for 1-2 weeks out of the year.

      • One Sick Puppy
      • 10 months ago

      I totally agree and have found this myself. Getting refurb 3rd and 4rth gen i5’s and i7’s from Dell is a no-brainer. Rock solid systems and often have SSDs that totally trounce most budget boxes. And having the option for Windows 7 OR 10 is awesome, too.

      • plonk420
      • 10 months ago

      i got a used eBay Lenovo i7-4790 (i do a lot of x264 encoding) for $340 in 1Q18 which was a mixed bag… legit Win10 license (and even one sorta from the Win7 Pro key i pulled out of BIOS), 1TB HDD (which died pretty quickly), 8GB DDR3 when prices were shitty

      so what the parts were worth: 8GB: $70ish, win10: $100ish, i7 (comparing with 4770K) $250-280 used on camelcamelcamel, 80/90 series motherboard: $100
      —$520ish value—

      however, when i got a GTX 1060, i needed another PSU: $50 (and $11 proprietary power cable adapter), case $40 black friday, and if i get a card longer than 1 fan (as it runs into cables on the mobo), PCI-E riser cable: $20, CPU cooler replacing the 80mm screamer $30-40+, case fans: $20, 1TB HDD $60ish
      —$221-241 adtl—

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 10 months ago

      I did buy an AIO 3-4 years ago, otherwise its been used used used for over 10 years.

      Currently watching for a 45nm Core 2 Quad to go in an old office machine. It had a 45nm, 2MB L2, 800mhz FSB “pentium” in it, what a crippled piece of silicon! But those chips right before they implemented turbo sure run cool. Currently running a 3.16ghz C2D, fans never spin up. Does pretty well with 8GB of RAM, SSD, new graphics, etc.

      • Sahrin
      • 10 months ago

      This is workload dependent. Eg, as a home user I load my machine up with stuff (probably wastefully, but it’s what I do). For me, 8-core ryzen was a game changer. It dramatically enhanced the performance of my machine.

        • ozzuneoj
        • 10 months ago

        Obviously, yes, anything involving PCs is workload dependent. An 8 core Ryzen is definitely not an entry level item. You’d have to dig up an older high end many core Xeon workstation to even come close to that performance, which is obviously not going to be anywhere near as cheap as the basic i5 systems mentioned. Your CPU likely cost at least $100 more than the Lenovo m93p I just picked up for a friend. It has an i7 4770, 8GB DDR3, 180GB Intel SSD and enough room for a decent GPU (I added a 1050 Ti I got from eVGA for $99). It was $185 with free shipping and even came with a brand new Logitech keyboard and mouse.

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