AMD's new Athlon CPUs take 'Zen' and 'Vega' architectures mainstream

Over the past two years, AMD has seen quite a resurgence in the CPU market, carving out space in the high-performance arena with its Ryzen processor lineup and Radeon Vega graphics architecture. Now, the company is taking both to the mainstream with a new Athlon chip built on the "Zen" platform with Vega graphics for "everyday" PCs.

Athlon 200GE for "everyday computing"

On the consumer side of things, AMD has the new Athlon 200GE, which sits below its Ryzen lineup while still taking advantage of the same Zen core architecture. The new Athlon chip is intended for general PC users, with web browsing, light office work, and casual gaming in mind. While it may not appeal to your average tech enthusiast, AMD is positioning the 200GE at your average PC user who just needs to get some work done with some light gaming on the side.

Inside the Athlon 200GE, AMD has squeezed in two Zen cores and four threads running at 3.2GHz. As for graphics, there are three Vega compute units on board.

Category AMD Athlon 200GE
CPU Cores 2
Threads 4
Processor frequency 3.2GHz
Graphics Compute Units 3
TDP (Watts) 35W
Price and Availability $55, September

The whole package runs at a 35-watt thermal envelope which, considering AMD is positioning this as a competitor to Intel's 54-watt Pentium G4560, is pretty impressive. And though, in AMD's testing, the 200GE lags just slightly behind its Pentium competitor in CPU performance (by three percent), the GPU performance far exceeds Intel's offering by around 67 percent. AMD is also boasting two times the efficiency, largely thanks to its lower power draw.

The Athlon 200GE is expected to launch this month at a price of $55. It's compatible with motherboards sporting the AM4 socket, which means you can easily upgrade from the Athlon chip to a more powerful Ryzen chip down the line.

Athlon Pro and Ryzen Pro 2nd Generation

Ryzen Pro

While there may only be one new CPU in the cards for consumers, AMD has a whole lineup of chips for the enterprise segment. New to the pack is the Athlon Pro, which will sit at the entry-level like its consumer-focused cousin. But the Ryzen Pro line is also seeing a refresh with four second-generation CPUs for intensive professional tasks.

At the base is the Athlon Pro 200GE, which sports the same basic specs and thermal envelope as the consumer version. But in addition to being a solid choice for basic office tasks and video conferencing, the Pro 200GE includes AMD's suite of security enhancements for commercial users. In short, that covers a built-in AES 128-bit encryption engine, integrated support for Windows 10 enterprise security features, memory encryption, and silicon-level protection against malware from AMD's GuardMI tech.

For more performance, AMD has launched its second generation of Ryzen 5 Pro and Ryzen 7 Pro chips. The lineup tops out at eight cores and 16 threads on the Ryzen 7 Pro 2700X, which features base and boost clock speeds of 3.6GHz and 4.1GHz, respectively. And, for the most part, you should see similar performance in general tasks when compared to Intel's offerings. But AMD is claiming a notable boost over its main rival in a few demanding tasks.

For video editing, AMD claims you'll see up to 17 percent faster performance with its new Ryzen Pro chips when compared to a Core i7 8700. That increases to a 33 percent advantage when placed next to a Core i5 8600. 3D rendering times are said to be 18 percent faster and 5 percent faster compared to the Core i7 and Core i5 models, respectively. Lastly, AMD claims a speed advantage of 11 percent and 14 percent faster over the Core i7 and Core i5, respectively.

Category Athlon Pro 200GE Ryzen 7 Pro 2700X Ryzen 7 Pro 2700 Ryzen 5 Pro 2600
Cores 2 8 8 6
Threads 4 16 16 12
Clock Speed (Boost/Base GHz) 3.2 4.1/3.6 4.1/3.2 3.9/3.4
Cache 5MB 20MB 20MB 19MB
Graphics Compute Units 3 N/A N/A N/A
TDP 35W 105W 65W 65W

Expect to see the new AMD Athlon Pro and Ryzen Pro desktop processors popping up in HP EliteDesk, Lenovo ThinkCenter, and Dell Optiplex PCs soon. These new chips complete AMD's 2018 professional lineup following the launch of its Ryzen Pro chips with Vega graphics in May.