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The Athlon 3000G ($49 MSRP, but selling everywhere at this writing for $55 to $65) is AMD’s newest entry in its economy desktop processor line, but in truth the 3000G is mostly old CPU wine in a new bottle. But still, it’s a good vintage: On a hardware level, the Athlon 3000G is largely identical to the Athlon 240GE—a dual-core, four-thread processor operating at 3.5GHz. The new chip has a few new moves, though, as it’s the first Ryzen-based Athlon CPU to support overclocking. This key feature helps the Athlon 3000G to stand above the other Athlons as the go-to part for anyone looking for a budget-friendly CPU with relatively strong performance.

Basic Specs for a Basic CPU

Just like all of AMD’s other Ryzen-based Athlon processors, the 3000G features two SMT-enabled CPU cores. (SMT, or simultaneous multi-threading, is the technology that allows each CPU core to operate on two threads at a time.) This reduces processor stalls and leads to better utilization of the CPU’s resources, which in turn results in a significant increase in performance in multi-threaded tasks.

The cache on this processor is also untouched compared to the other Athlon CPUs, which means it comes with 192K of L1 cache, 1MB of L2, and 4MB of L3. It’s also still based on AMD’s first-gen Ryzen architecture and built on a 14-nanometer process, as opposed to the “Zen 2” 7nm process used by AMD’s latest higher-end desktop CPUs. Clock for clock, the CPU portion of the processor is identical to that of the Athlon 240GE, with both parts operating at the same 3.5GHz base clock.

AMD Athlon 3000G CPU pins

Only a little has changed about the integrated graphics processor (IGP) built into the chip. The Athlon 3000G’s Radeon Vega 3 graphics silicon features three compute units with a total of 192 pixel shaders, a dozen TMUs, and four ROPs. This matches the IGP found in the other desktop Athlons, but the 3000G operates its Vega 3 IGP at a slightly higher clock speed of 1,100MHz (versus 1,000MHz for the Athlon 240GE).

This chip, like other Ryzen desktop chips, is designed for use in AMD AM4 motherboards. You’ll want to check for compatibility (some very high end AM4 boards with AMD’s top-end chipsets may not support Athlons), but we expect that most buyers will pair a budget chip like this with a budget AM4-socket motherboard, such as those based on the B450 and A320 chipsets.

AMD Athlon 3000G CPU OEM package

As mentioned in the intro, the key differentiating feature with the Athlon 3000G is overclocking support. This means you should be able to push the processor to work at higher clock frequencies to gain a bit more performance. AMD’s Ryzen CPUs haven’t shown to overclock particularly well in the past, but those also operate at significantly lower clock speeds than the Athlon 3000G. With a base clock of 3.5GHz, the 3000G is likely to have a bit more headroom. I’ll experiment with overclocking the chip a bit later, but first let’s get into some benchmarks at stock speeds.

Testing the Athlon 3000G: Our Testbed Setup

First, a look at a few of the key competing CPUs for the 3000G…

AMD Athlon 3000G CPU specs comparison

Note: I’m listing the price for the 3000G at $65 rather than $49, as $60 to $65 seems to be, in the real world, by far the most common pricing for this CPU these days. (It’s almost as if AMD underpriced it at launch.) Also note that in the last generation, I tested the Athlon 200GE, not the 240GE mentioned above. That one-step-down chip is clocked slightly lower, at 3.2GHz, than the 3000G and 240GE. Note that the two Intel chips mentioned here are now previous-generation, but they are the newest low-end Intel chips we have tested. Intel just a few weeks ago debuted its 10th Generation Pentium, Celeron, and Core CPUs on a new platform.

For testing purposes, I paired the Athlon 3000G with an MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard. Ordinarily, I would have tested this CPU with the same B350 motherboard that I used to test the Athlon 200GE that I reviewed in February (the B350 and B450 chipsets are a more likely match for a cheap chip like this), but due to the COVID-19 lockdown and access to certain of PC Labs’ hardware, this wasn’t an option. This shouldn’t affect the performance testing, though, as motherboards typically don’t affect base performance much; they’re more a factor in overclocking. I also used different RAM modules, but the RAM was set identically in both test systems. Two 8GB sticks of DDR4 were used in each system for a total of 16GB, and the RAM was operated with a clock speed of 3,000MHz and timings of 14-14-14-34.

To keep the CPU cool, I opted to stick with the stock cooler that AMD supplies with the Athlon 3000G. This is a smaller cooler than the various AMD Wraith coolers supplied with its desktop Ryzen chips…

AMD Athlon stock cooler

As this is a budget CPU, not many people are likely to shell out for an aftermarket cooler for an Athlon (or a Celeron or a Pentium, for that matter). Testing with the stock cooler, therefore, provides the most accurate look into the processor’s real-world performance. To check for thermal throttling, I ran a couple of the benchmark tests below over again with CPUID’s hardware monitor open to keep an eye on temps and see if the CPU down-clocked.

Overall, the processor’s temps plateaued at around 63 degrees C, and I didn’t see the clock speed drop while the test was running. This leads me to believe that the stock cooler provided by AMD is perfectly adequate to cool this CPU and that there isn’t any real need to pay out for anything better except maybe when overclocking.

CPU Benchmark Results

Cinebench R15

In our first test, using Maxon’s Cinebench R15, the Athlon 3000G performed exactly as expected compared to its competition…

AMD Athlon 3000G Cinebench

The 3000G’s higher clock speed and SMT technology gave it a clear leg up over Intel’s Celeron G4920. At the same time, the Athlon 3000G wasn’t quite able to catch Intel’s Pentium Gold G5600, which maintained a healthy lead (especially on the single-core test) thanks to its 3.9GHz operating frequency.


Next up, the AMD Athlon 3000G turned in mixed results in POV-Ray, which streses the chip by performing on-CPU ray-tracing calculations…

AMD Athlon 3000G POV-Ray

Benchmarking using all cores returned results that were similar to what we observed from Cinebench R15, with the 3000G sitting squarely between the Celeron 4920 and Pentium Gold G5600. With just one CPU core in use, however, the Athlon 3000G fell slightly behind the Celeron. The Intel Core-9100 outpaced it by a fair bit on both POV-Ray and Cinebench, but bear in mind that that chip costs approximately twice as much.


Testing with Blender showed little deviation from the last few benchmarks. The Athlon 3000G came close to matching the Pentium Gold G5600 in this test, but it wasn’t quite able to.

AMD Athlon 3000G Blender

iTunes Encoding Test

Taking a full 2 minutes and 17 seconds, the Athlon 3000G performed rather poorly in our iTunes 10.6 encoding test. This was predictable, as this is an old, legacy program that doesn’t leverage modern SMT/multi-threaded resources well…

AMD Athlon 3000G iTunes

The slower-clocked Celeron was able to surpass it by 4 seconds, and the Pentium by nearly half a minute.


The situation was completely reversed when testing with Handbrake 0.9.9…

AMD Athlon 3000G Handbrake

It took the Athlon almost 26 minutes to transcode our 4K video sample to 1080p, but that was more than two minutes quicker than the Pentium Gold G5600 and Athlon 200GE. As for the Celeron G4920, well, at 41 minutes it’s clearly a painful solution for transcoding video.


Our last test, using 7-Zip, appeared to run into a glitch that skewed the test results. I ran this test multiple times and tried to diagnose the cause of the Athlon 3000G’s slow performance by trying a couple of different RAM kits and checking through the settings in BIOS. No matter what, however, the Athlon 3000G continued to deliver slower-than-expected performance in this test.

AMD Athlon 3000G 7-Zip

You may think that this is merely a sign the 3000G is slower than the competition, but it’s essentially identical to the Athlon 200GE but with a 10 percent bump in clock speed across the board. Both use the same CPU core, architecture, and manufacturing technology. As such, the 3000G should slightly outperform the 200GE in every test, but alas, that’s not what happened here. Overall, I’m inclined to downplay these 7-Zip results and focus on the bigger picture.

GPU Benchmark Results

The Athlon 3000G may struggle to best the Pentium Gold G5600 in CPU benchmarks, but it runs circles around competing Intel chips when testing the processor’s IGP. Although it’s not up to the task of running modern games, it can run games with a few years on them reasonably well, especially if you don’t mind dropping the graphics detail a bit.

AMD Athlon 3000G iGPU tests

Starting with Far Cry 5 set to its lowest graphics settings, the Athlon 3000G was unable to hit playable frame rates even with the resolution turned down to 720p. If you really want to run games this new without buying a game console or a graphics card, then it’s worth paying the extra for the likes of an AMD Ryzen 5 3400G.

The Athlon 3000G performed, if anything, too well while running Rise of the Tomb Raider with the lowest graphic settings. Seriously, with a score of 34fps at 720p, the 3000G showed a 55 percent performance increase over the Athlon 200GE with a mere 10 percent bump in clock speed. This is another test in which the numbers were likely affected by something outside the normal course. It’s likely that the 3000G benefited from some sort of driver or software update that pushed up performance even more, though it could also be that the extra processing power helped to relieve an IGP bottleneck. Either way, you won’t have a particularly enjoyable experience with all the graphics settings turned down, but you could run this game on the Athlon 3000G if you really, really wanted to.

CS:GO is getting on in years and is a perfect example of how the Athlon 3000G can deliver an enjoyable gaming experience on older titles. With settings tuned to medium, the iGPU achieved 86fps at 720p and 45fps at 1080p. Overall, the game proved perfectly playable at both resolutions, though you may want to downgrade the graphics slightly to achieve a steady 60fps at 1080p.

Rainbow Six: Siege is another game that is perfectly playable on the Athlon 3000G’s integrated graphics. Hitting 26.6fps at 1080p resolution with medium settings isn’t ideal, but it wouldn’t take much tweaking to hit a solid 30fps.

Informal Gaming Tests

We benchmark the games above in a precise manner for accurate comparisons between multiple CPUs. As both a techie and a gamer at heart, however, I like to run a few extra game tests to see how well these low-end parts can handle games from my personal Steam library.

First up, I tested one of my all-time favorite games, Fallout: New Vegas. Configuring the game to run at 1080p, I tried the preset Ultra and High graphics settings. I also retested the game with these settings with AA turned off, as that is typically quite taxing on integrated graphics processors. Starting with a new game, I performed the test while wreaking havoc on the town of Goodsprings with the ever-useful Mercenary’s grenade rifle.

Ultimately, I found the best settings to use were the High graphics preset with no AA. In this mode, I achieved a fairly steady 60fps. The game did occasionally dip below 60fps, but not frequently. I could also run the game with the Ultimate graphics preset and AA off, but at a slower speed of around 42fps to 45fps with considerable fluctuation. Turning 4x AA on with either of these graphics settings resulted in an drop of roughly 15fps across the board.

The next game I tried was State of Decay, an addictive zombie game released in 2013. The game is demanding, however, and proved a greater challenge for the Athlon 3000G and its Vega 3 muscle. Testing at 1080p and medium settings, I saw an average of only 30fps when standing still, which would dip when a lot of action erupted onscreen. Dropping to a resolution of 1,366 by 768 boosted me to close to 50fps, and I was able to reach 60fps by dropping the resolution a bit more, to 1,280 by 720.

I tried pushing the graphics up to the max at this resolution, and the game remained quite playable, though the frame rate fluctuated between 48fps and 60fps as I moved around shooting zombies.

Overclocking the Athlon 3000G

Overclocking can be a highly rewarding process, especially with low-end parts such as the Athlon 3000G. Unfortunately, my attempts to overclock the Athlon 3000G ended at a frustrating clock ceiling. At first, overclocking the Athlon 3000G was going quite easily. Figuring this CPU would likely hit 4GHz like most of AMD’s other Ryzen CPUs, I started off the overclocking process by pushing it straight from 3.5GHz to 3.8GHz without any increase in voltage.

The system booted just fine with this overclock, and sure enough CPU-Z and Task Manager both reported a new max clock speed of 3.8GHz. Naturally, the next step I took was to place a load on the CPU to make sure it was stable. At the same time I opened up CPUID’s hardware monitor to track the CPU’s temps to ensure it wasn’t overheating. The CPU proved to be stable and the temps unchanged, but during this test I also discovered the CPU wasn’t running at 3.8GHz as it should: Task Manager showed the chip topping out just above its base clock at 3.57GHz.

Going back into the BIOS, I tried to find some explanation for this odd performance, but couldn’t. Just to be thorough I upped the processor’s voltage a bit and retested to see if perhaps it was hitting a power limitation, but this changed nothing. Not finding any answers in the BIOS, I opted to give AMD’s Ryzen Master overclocking tools a try, but here too I ultimately was unable to get the CPU to run above 3.57GHz.

I suspect that the issue I’m encountering may be due to the X470 motherboard I used for the test, but at the moment I don’t have any other way to test the board to find out (I’ve got half a dozen X570 motherboards sitting around from past reviews, but none of those supports Athlon processors).


All things considered, AMD’s Athlon 3000G is neither the fastest nor the cheapest low-end CPU on the market, but it nevertheless serves a niche well. Selling for $65, the Athlon 3000G is currently $10 less than the Athlon 200GE. The Pentium Gold G5600 doesn’t appear to be on the market anymore, but the slightly slower Pentium Gold G5500 currently sells for an uncompetitive $92. I’d argue that for its price the Athlon 3000G is a significantly better option than either of these solutions. The Pentium Gold G5500 may offer slightly better performance in some tests, but for $90, if you shop around, you can also get a quad-core AMD Ryzen 3 3200G that offers all-around significantly better performance.

AMD Athlon 3000G by OEM box

Going in the opposite direction, the Celeron G4920 goes for a little over $50, but its performance when multiple threads are employed is so much lower than the Athlon 3000G’s that the AMD chip is easily worth the extra $10 to $15 more.

You can take a good-size step up in performance with the Ryzen 3 3200G if you can spend $90 to $100, but if your budget is hard-limited at $70 or so for an IGP and CPU together, the Athlon 3000G seems to be the best-value current CPU below that mark that you can currently buy.

AMD Athlon 3000G Specs

Core Count 2
Thread Count 4
Base Clock Frequency 3.5 GHz
Unlocked Multiplier? Yes
Socket Compatibility AMD AM4
Lithography 14 nm
L3 Cache Amount 4 MB
Thermal Design Power (TDP) Rating 35 watts
Integrated Graphics AMD Radeon Vega 3 Graphics
Integrated Graphics Base Clock 1100 MHz
Bundled Cooler AMD Stock Cooler

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