The $60 CPU Question: AMD Athlon 200GE or Intel Pentium Gold G5400? A Reviewby Ian Cutress on January 14, 2019 8:00 AM EST
In the course of our reviews, when we get a chance to get hands on with random processors, we run our test suite and add the data to our database. Sometimes that doesn’t materialize directly into a review, but at least we have the data. Two very similar CPUs have come across my desk recently: AMD’s dual core Athlon 200GE, and Intel’s Pentium G5400. Both chips round to the $60 mark, have some form of integrated graphics, and are aimed at budget systems.
This is going to be fun
One of the perennial issues with modern technology review cycles is that there’s a lot of focus on the high-end parts. These are the ones that the manufacturers sample: they have the highest margins, but are also the halo products: if they sit atop of the standings, then the hope is that that influence will trickle down into the rest of the product range, typically the high-volume parts. There is also the added benefit that more people want to hear about the best of the best. It’s a reason why there are so many Ferrari and Aston Martin ‘WOW’ pieces in written and video media.
Normally this would make sampling very difficult. If we were reviewing cars, anyway. The two chips in today’s analysis, the Intel Pentium Gold G5400 and the AMD Athlon 200GE, cost around $60 apiece, which I forked out for personally as I was never expecting to be sampled. (AMD asked if I wanted a 200GE sample two days after my retail unit arrived, go figure. I sent that on to Gavin for his 7-year old’s new gaming system.)
|AMD vs Intel at ~$60|
|Cores / Threads||2 / 4||2 / 4|
|Motherboards||X470, X370, B450
B350, A320, A300
|Z390, Z370, Q370
H370, B360, H310
|CPU Frequency||3.2 GHz||3.7 GHz|
|L2 Cache||512 KB/core||256 KB/core|
|L3 Cache||2 MB / core||2 MB / core|
|Integrated Graphics||Vega 3
12 EUs (96 ALUs)
|GPU Frequency||Up to 1000 MHz||350-1050 MHz|
|TDP||35 W||54 W (2-core die version)
58 W (4-core die version)*
|Price||$55 (SRP)||$64 (1k/u)|
|* Intel harvests both 2+2 and 4+2 dies to make G5400 parts. It's impossible to know which one you have without removing the lid and measuring the die area.|
When we stack up the two processors side by side, it gets interesting. Both are dual core, quad thread parts. The Intel processor has the frequency advantage, running at 3.7 GHz compared to the 3.2 GHz of AMD, but the AMD has beefier Vega 3 integrated graphics compared to the UHD 610 (GT1) graphics of the Intel chip. One sore point might be the TDP, where the AMD chip has a rating of 35W and the Intel chip is rated at 58W, however as we’ll see in the review, neither of them come close to those values.
Tackling the budget end of the market is fun. I’ve been a long-time advocate for budget builders to build a system piece-by-piece, getting one high-end part at a time rather than smearing a budget across several average parts at once. Under this philosophy, these processors could very well be the start of one of those builds, only costing an average of $60 MSRP. Note that under this philosophy, you might end up with that big graphics card before a processor that can power it. We’re covering those benchmarks as well.
Before you click further, place your bets on who you think will win: the Intel Pentium Gold G5400, or the AMD Athlon 200GE?
Latest News: While neither processor is officially overclockable, since we tested for this article it was recently reported that MSI motherboards with certain BIOS versions will allow users to overclock the 200GE to ~3.9 GHz. I've asked Gavin to contribute, and he managed a nice 3.9 GHz over the 3.2 GHz base clock. Head over to page 21 for the details.
Pages In This Review
- Analysis and Competition
- Test Bed and Setup
- 2018 and 2019 Benchmark Suite
- CPU Performance: System Tests
- CPU Performance: Rendering Tests
- CPU Performance: Office Tests
- CPU Performance: Encoding Tests
- CPU Performance: Legacy Tests
- Gaming: Integrated Graphics
- Gaming: World of Tanks enCore
- Gaming: Final Fantasy XV
- Gaming: Shadow of War
- Gaming: Civilization 6
- Gaming: Ashes Classic
- Gaming: Strange Brigade
- Gaming: Grand Theft Auto V
- Gaming: Far Cry 5
- Gaming: Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Gaming: F1 2018
- Power Consumption
- Conclusions and Final Words
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Irata - Monday, January 14, 2019 - linkDid some checking and in the US, I found the G5400 on sale for $129.99 at Newegg. The Athlon GE 200 was $ 59.99.
The Intel CPU (LGA 1151 300 series) that had the same price was the Celeron G4920 - it's a 2C2T CPU (G5400: 2C/4T), has half the L3 cache of the G5400 and runs at 3.2 vs. 3.7 Ghz.
In Germany, I checked Mindfactory and the Pentium Gold G5400 was available for a more reasonable € 86.37. For around the same price you can get a Ryzen 3 2200G - if you want an iGPU - or if you don?t, you can get a Ryzen 3 1200 for € 10 less.
So from an actual retail price performance perspective, things look quite different - don't you guys check the store links that are embedded in the article ?
One last thing - which sane person would combine either the Athlon GE or the Pentium Gold with a GTX 1080 ?
PeachNCream - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link"One last thing - which sane person would combine either the Athlon GE or the Pentium Gold with a GTX 1080?"
No one, but for other Anandtech benchmarks carried out over the course of this year on upcoming CPUs that will also use a 1080, this will mean the results will be comparable and the GPU will not act as a bottleneck at sub-4k resolutions.
Irata - Monday, January 14, 2019 - linkBut the article clearly says that "In gaming with a discrete graphics card, for example, if you've invested in something like the GTX 1080, the Intel Pentium will push more frames and higher minimums in practically every test at every resolution."
I am not saying this is not correct - the G5400 runs @ 3.7 Ghz vs. the Athlon's 3.2 Ghz - but again even mentioning something like this... if you go for either of the two APU, it is because you want / need to spend the minimum money available, so it's definitely not GTX 1080 territory. I could see them mentioning something in the RX 1030 Ti / 1050 / RTX 560 range but even then there are better alternatives.
sing_electric - Monday, January 14, 2019 - linkI don't think that anyone would realistically pair a $55 CPU with a GPU that's worth 10x that (except in oddball cases- like a base that you plan on upgrading), but that they didn't want any of the benchmarks to be GPU-limited. If they used say, a GTX 1030/50 or RX 550/60, some of the benchmarks might have been GPU-limited and would make the AMD and Intel parts look similar in ways they're not.
A good, but separate idea is to do builds that hit various price points using combinations of AMD and Intel CPUs with/without dGPUs to see where you win. At today's prices, ~$250 is enough for a cheap-ish enclosure/psu ($70), 8GB DDR4 ($55), 256GB SSD ($60) and mobo ($60), so for $300 you'd be comparing these 2 processors with IGP, but for $400+ things get interesting (since you could compare say, the Ryzen 3 and 5 APUs vs. this chip with a dGPU), and $500+ things get a lot more interesting. For $600+, you're in a place where you have a lot of flexibility with creating a system that works for your use case (including more storage, RAM, etc.)
Irata - Monday, January 14, 2019 - linkVery good suggestion actually - the builds at different price points including all needed hardware.
As for the GPU benchmarks - on one hand I do understand that they don't want a GPU bottleneck, but realistically if buyers in this range do not go for GPU that cost more than 150-200 and they do get identical results, then this is what matters to the buyer.
That said, I still think that the Pentium Gold would make for good budget gaming PC paired with something like a GTX 1050 Ti *if* it were available at MSRP - would definitely prefer it to the Athlon GE at that price point.
Funny thing is Ian says "y. The two chips in today’s analysis, the Intel Pentium Gold G5400 and the AMD Athlon 200GE, cost around $60 apiece, which I forked out for personally as I was never expecting to be sampled."
The question is: When and where ? The Intel CPU shortage has been going on for a few months now, so if he got it right after release, it may have been worth checking prices before writing the article.
If there is a store that has them in stock for this price, it would be helpful to say which one it is.
But it's not and it hasn't been so I quite fail to see the point of this article. You either get a much better CPU / APU from AMD for the same price or a much worse (lower clocked 2C/2T Celeron) Intel based CPU
silverblue - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - linkIt would make sense to benchmark on a GTX 1030 (GDDR5) or RX 550 in addition to the 1080 to show what you could expect with more likely hardware, in addition to highlighting the Pentium's superior IPC out of the box.
We would definitely appreciate that overclocked test suite, that's for certain. I know people will say that the Athlon isn't supposed to be overclocked, but given that a handful of motherboard manufacturers are now offering this - MSI, ASUS and Gigabyte to name three - I feel that it could be a viable alternative if you really need cheap and cheerful.
ikjadoon - Monday, January 14, 2019 - linkThis article is about a year-late on MSRP pricing, unfortunately:
That 14nm supply shortage: by the time prices go back down, Sunny Cove will be out, so where does article fit?
As hardware gets EOL'd, it raises in price, so these things will be priced even worse.
sing_electric - Monday, January 14, 2019 - linkThe way I read that is that Intel has gotten very good at 14nm yields, and no longer has (m)any processors with enough issues that they have to sell them as a G5400, and can instead sell them as faster, higher end parts.
ikjadoon - Monday, January 14, 2019 - linkYou missed the key issue. "...instead sell them as faster, higher-end, and *more expensive* parts." They might make more money selling "working chips with disabled features" at $65 than "working chips with all features" at $120.
Unless Intel is selling a product reliably at $55 to $85, then it's lost sales. These Pentiums are the default in the $250 to $500 office PC space.
sing_electric - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - linkWhen there's not a shortage, sure, you sell good chips with disabled features, since you'd rather sell a Core i3 than have an i5 unsold, and you'd rather sell a Pentium than have an i3 stuck in channel, but *right now* Intel's capacity-constrained: They can't make enough higher-end parts to meet demand, so it seems like they're really trying to sell every chip as the highest-end version of whatever it is (they're even selling chips with disabled IGP at the high end, presumably because the IGP is faulty).