It may not be as exciting as AMD’s Renoir announcement recently, but at least you can buy this APU in online and retail stores right now at an incredibly low price. We are talking about the AMD Athlon 3000G APU which was released in the Fall of 2019, almost now one year ago. You can buy this CPU with integrated Radeon Vega 3 graphics right now for only $49 on B&H. It was also $49 on Amazon just a few days ago, if you click the Other Sellers you will see it is still $49 sold by Amazon. Prices are fluctuating at the moment by other sellers, you can track the prices at PCPartPicker. The APU launched at $49.
Though it is now almost one year old, this APU is still relevant today as it provides an incredible entry-level PC build option with combination CPU and GPU built-in and it’s widely available. This CPU and GPU combo negates the need for purchasing a dedicated GPU, thus saving you even more money and allowing for an incredibly affordable build if you just need a computer, but want to save the absolute most money. What’s more, this CPU and graphics are fully overclockable for enthusiasts.
Reviewing this CPU, a year later, also ensures that we are now testing and showing the absolute best performance that is possible out of this APU. Over the past year, there have been many BIOS updates plus AMD AGESA code updates. Testing on the best motherboard today we are able to benefit from a years’ worth of BIOS and AGESA code updates, also including OS updates and software updates. That means this APU is operating at the peak of its performance potential, it is providing the best performance today that it is ever going to give.
This APU also offers something special, it is completely unlocked and you are allowed to overclock it! This gives it even more potential for better performance. Considering this APU is only $50, and it can overclock means it provides a great value for pushing that entry-level system as fast as possible. Back this CPU with a solid motherboard, and you have a really great little system to play around with, and so that’s exactly what we have done today.
To focus on the features better, we are going to break this up into two reviews. The first review you are seeing today focuses on the CPU side of the APU. We are going to test its CPU performance and overclock the CPU to see how that improves performance. Then, in our second review, we are going to focus on the Radeon Vega 3 graphics built-in.
We will test gaming performance and we will even overclock the Radeon Vega 3 graphics to see how that improves game performance. In this way, you’ll get a good idea of how this little APU provides CPU and GPU performance for all types of workloads, including gaming.
AMD Athlon 3000G
You will notice AMD has gone with a traditional naming scheme, it has brought the Athlon branding back. If you are unaware, the Athlon branding started in the summer of 1999 by being the first 7th generation x86 CPU and was the first desktop processor to reach speeds of 1GHz. The name has evolved over the years being part of different releases, and now in 2019 was used to denote AMD’s highest-performance entry-level processor.
The first thing you should note is that the Athlon 3000G is based on the Zen+ microarchitecture, not Zen 2. The code name is Picasso and it is manufactured on 12nm. This APU is a successor to the Athlon 300GE. The AMD Athlon 3000G has 2 cores/4 threads and a TDP of 35W with integrated graphics. It does not have a turbo clock, instead, it has a base clock speed that operates at 3.5GHz base frequency at all times. Its supported memory speeds are DDR4-2933, but with the right motherboard and memory, it can support higher, such as DDR4-3200 and even 3333MHz as we will show you.
What makes this APU unique is that it has built-in Radeon Vega 3 graphics with 3 Vega CUs. Oh, and then there’s the part about this CPU being completely unlocked so you can overclock it with multipliers! With a price of $49, having a feature like unlocked overclocking is unheard of, so that definitely makes this appealing for an entry-level PC.
The built-in Radeon Vega 3 graphics consists of 3 Vega CUs, 192 Shaders/Streaming Processors, 16 ROPs, and 12 TMUs. It operates on a bus width of 128-bit and the memory runs at your system memory, so if running 3200MHz that is also the memory speed and with that speed provides 51.2GB/s of memory bandwidth.
Now, given that this is a 2 core/4 thread CPU we can’t expect the world from it. Keep in mind that this is entry-level everything. Entry-level CPU, entry-level GPU, but it does have the capability to overclock the CPU and the Radeon Vega 3 graphics. The TDP is only 35W.