Difference Between AMD Athlon vs. Intel Pentium (Explained)

AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium CPUs are lightweight champions of their respective brands. Essentially though, the Athlon and the Pentium series serve the bottom rung of the PC market.

AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium are entry-level CPUs that are great for people looking for basic computing. This includes office work (report writing, working on Excel sheets, etc.), daily needs such as casual entertainment, social media use or internet browsing, and average school work.

We can compare AMD Athlon vs. Intel Pentium using specs, benchmarks, price/performance ratio, and TDP.

Regarding specs, the AMD Athlon CPUs still have the edge over the Intel Pentium CPUs – despite having no new models released since early 2020. Athlon CPUs can feature up to 4 cores and four threads (depending upon the model), whereas the Pentium CPUs cap out at two cores and four threads with hyperthreading.

AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium CPUs are NOT intended for heavier tasks such as editing, designing, simulation, or gaming. Please avoid Athlon and Pentium series if you’d like to perform slightly strenuous functions on your PC.

In the following text, I will detail the differences between AMD Athlon vs. Intel Pentium by looking deeper into both series’ specs and performance benchmarks of the current CPU models.

AMD Athlon vs. Intel Pentium CPUs in Brief

As mentioned, AMD Athlon and the Intel Pentium CPUs are designed to serve the entry-level PC market.

They are inferior to their more powerful cousins, i.e., AMD Ryzen CPUs / Intel Core CPUs.

In terms of performance hierarchy, the two series fill the lowest gaps for the respective brands, such that for Intel, the CPU hierarchy is as follows: Intel Core i9  (Most Powerful) followed by Intel Core i7 > Intel Core i5 > Intel Core i3 > Intel Pentium > Intel Celeron (Least Powerful).

The Intel Pentium CPUs are better than the weakest series (Celeron). 

The CPU hierarchy for AMD is as follows: AMD Ryzen 9 (Most Powerful) > AMD Ryzen 7 > AMD Ryzen 5 > AMD Ryzen 3 > AMD Athlon (Least Powerful)

You will only win PC speed races if you choose the Pentium or the Athlon route.

AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium Specs Comparison

The following table shows the core specs of the two series’ latest and most popular CPU models.

It should be noted that while Intel has constantly been releasing newer Intel Pentium CPUs – the most recent being the 7000 series Pentium CPU based on the Golden Cove architecture of 2022 – there has been no further addition to the Athlon CPUs since the 3000 series from the Z+ architecture of 2019.

However, despite Athlon CPUs being old, the top-of-the-line variants still give even the newest Pentium CPUs a run for their money.

The flagship AMD Athlon CPU is the AMD Athlon Gold 3150 for desktops with four cores and four threads and a frequency of 3.5-3.9 GHz per core, whereas the flagship Intel Pentium CPU is the Pentium Gold G7400 for desktops with its two cores and four threads.

Also, as with all CPU series, the desktop-based Athlon and Pentium variants are more powerful than their laptop counterparts if you consider the price/performance ratio.

CPU Specs Vertical Remarks
Intel Pentium Gold G7400 3.6 GHz 2c/4t Desktop Flagship; Desktop-based Pentium CPU
Intel Pentium Silver N6005 2.0 GHz 4c/4t Mobile Flagship; A powerful mobile Pentium processor but For Mini Desktop mostly. It still needs to be featured on laptops.
Intel Pentium Silver N6000 1.10 GHz 4c/4t Mobile Popular; found on laptops. It is not the most powerful mobile Pentium CPU but popular for laptops.
AMD Athlon 3150G 3.5 – 3.9 GHz 4c/4t Desktop Flagship; desktop-based. Embedded and for OEMonly
AMD Athlon 3000G 3.5 GHz 2c/4t Desktop Popular; Desktop-based.
AMD Athlon 3150U 2.4-3.3 GHz 2c/4t Mobile Flagship; laptop-based.

Other than AMD Athlon flagship CPUs still having a higher core count than their Pentium counterparts, they also offer the Turbo Frequency.

While Pentium CPUs have a single standard clock speed, the Athlon CPUs can ramp up their performance during strenuous tasks thanks to the Turbo Frequency. For instance, AMD Athlon 3150 can boost its speed per core up to 3.9 GHz from 3.5 GHz base clock speed when needed.

AMD Athlon 3000G vs Athlon 3150G

The difference between the two is worth mentioning since they are both desktop-based CPUs but vastly different in performance.

The Athlon 3150G is the same as the flagship Athlon CPU; however, it is ONLY found in OEM machines. Meaning this CPU cannot be bought separately as a standalone component.

If you want to build your desktop PC, you would instead have to go with the Athlon 3000G, which is far weaker in performance compared to the latest Intel flagship Pentium G7400 CPU.

Performance Benchmark Comparison

Clock speed and the core count is generally not the best measure of a CPU’s performance since many other factors determine the true prowess of a CPU.

As such, benchmarks gauge how a specific CPU stacks up against its competition.

The PassMark is the benchmark I will use to compare the Athlon and Pentium CPUsPassMark. This is the most basic and popular benchmark.

CPU PassMark PassMark Score
Intel Pentium Gold G7400 (Desktop) 6760
Intel Pentium Silver N6005 (Mobile) 5366
Intel Pentium Silver N6000 (Laptop) 3160
AMD Athlon 3150G (Desktop) 7093
AMD Athlon 3000G (Desktop) 4483
AMD Athlon 3150U (Laptop) 4011
Intel Core i9-13900K (Intel’s Flagship Desktop CPU) 59,319
  • The scores were taken from CPUBecnhmark.net
  • I have included the 24 Core i9-13900K to form the baseline.
AMD Athlon vs Intel Pentium
Image: AMD Athlon vs. Intel Pentium PassMark Comparison

A few expected observations can be made here. AMD Athlon surpasses Intel Pentium laptop verticals as far as sheer performance goes.

The Athlon 3150U laptop-based Athlon CPU is about 20% more powerful than the Intel Pentium N6000.

Similarly, despite being old, the desktop-based AMD Athlon 3150G is still slightly more powerful than the new Pentium Gold G7400.

Value Comparison

We can compare the value of the Intel Pentium and AMD Athlon processors using the price/performance ratio and can use the MSRP of the selected CPUs and their PassMark scores for this.

We can use the MSRP of the selected CPUs and their PassMark scores. I have chosen only desktop-based variants as the laptop-based CPUs do not have a separate MSRP (they come packaged with the laptop).

The flagship Athlon 3150G is the fastest in the l, but t has NO MSRP since it cannot be bought separately. The Athlon 3000G and Pentium Gold G7400, which can be bought separately to build a system, have their merits and demerits. The Athlon is cheaper and has a better overall value but suffers from lower performance. The opposite is true for Pentium G7400. You should use the machine with Athlon 3150G if possible. If you are still looking for a good deal with this CPU, Pentium G7400 is the more viable option because anything weaker than this can cause frustration.

Power Consumption and TDP

The final metric in comparison is the TDP (Thermal Design Power). Not only does this measure the amount of power the CPU will draw from the wall, but it also entails what kind of cooling solution it would require. The higher the TDP, the more robust cooling you will need to provide. This is especially true if you are building a Desktop on your own. Generally, the lower the clock speed and the core count, the lower the TDP. Hence you will notice that weaker and mobile-based have a lower TDP.

CPU TDP (W) Vertical
Intel Pentium Gold G7400 (Desktop) 46 Desktop
Intel Pentium Silver N6005 10 Mobile (Mini Desktops)
Intel Pentium Silver N6000 6 Laptop
AMD Athlon 3150G 45-65 Desktop
AMD Athlon 3000G  35 Desktop
AMD Athlon 3150U  15 Laptop
Intel Core i9-13900K  253 Desktop

The Athlon 3150G naturally requires the most cooling since it has the highest clock speed and the highest number of cores when comparing Athlons and Pentiums.

The laptop variants have the lowest TDP since they are designed to sacrifice performance over battery life – The higher the TDP, the lower the battery life.

If you prefer long battery life in the laptop space, then the Intel Pentium N6000 far exceeds its competition, the AMD Athlon 3150U, due to its much lower TDP.

Final Words

In a nutshell, there isn’t a world of difference between AMD Athlon vs. Intel Pentium CPUs. They both serve the budget market segment.

They have a comparable performance overall, but it all depends upon the sample generation you are looking at. For instance, if you compare a current Intel Pentium CPU with an Athlon CPU released 5-6 years, you will notice a Signiant difference in performance.

However, a recent sample shows no significant difference between the two series.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the main differences between AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium processors?

The main differences between AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium processors include their architectures, clock speeds, power consumption, and integrated graphics capabilities.

AMD Athlon processors typically have a higher clock speed, while Intel Pentium processors have a lower power consumption.

Additionally, AMD Athlon processors have better integrated graphics capabilities, making them more suitable for gaming and multimedia applications.

2. Which processor is more energy efficient, AMD Athlon or Intel Pentium?

Intel Pentium processors are generally more energy-efficient than AMD Athlon processors. This is because Intel Pentium processors are designed to use less power while still delivering acceptable performance, making them suitable for use in devices that require longer battery life, such as laptops and mobile devices.

3. Can I use AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium processors interchangeably?

No, AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium processors are not interchangeable. They use different sockets and are designed for use with different chipsets and motherboards. This means that you cannot simply swap out an AMD Athlon processor for an Intel Pentium processor or vice versa without also replacing the motherboard and chipset.

4. What is the maximum number of cores available in AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium processors?

The maximum number of cores available in AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium processors depends on the specific model. Some AMD Athlon processors have up to four cores, while some Intel Pentium processors have up to two cores.

However, newer models of both processors may have more cores, so it’s important to check the specifications of the specific model you’re interested in.

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