Difference Between AMD Athlon vs Intel Pentium

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

We can compare AMD Athlon vs Intel Pentium using metrics such as specs, benchmarks, price/performance ratio as well as TDP.

In terms of specs, the AMD Athlon CPUs still have an edge over the Intel Pentium CPUs – despite having no new models released since early 2020. Athlon CPUs can feature upto 4 cores and 4 threads (depending upon the model); whereas, the Pentium CPUs cap out at 2 cores and 4 threads with hyperthreading.

AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium CPUs are NOT intended for heavier tasks such as editing, designing, simulation or gaming. Stay away from Athlon and Pentium series if you wish to perform slightly strenuous tasks on your PC.

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

AMD Athlon vs Intel Pentium CPUs in Brief

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

They are far 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 just a notch 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)

It goes without saying that if you do choose to go with the Pentium or the Athlon route for your PC, you will not be winning any PC speed races.

AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium Specs Comparison

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

It should be noted that while Intel has been constantly releasing newer Intel Pentium CPUs – with the newest being the 7000 series Pentium CPU based on the Golden Cove architecture of 2022 – there has been no new 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 gives even the newest Pentium CPUs a run for their money.

Currently the flagship AMD Athlon CPU is the AMD Athlon Gold 3150 for desktop with its 4 cores and 4 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 2 cores and 4 threads.

Also, as is the case with all CPU series, the desktop based Athlon and Pentium variants are more powerful compared to their laptop counterparts if you take price/performance ratio into consideration.

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. Not featured in laptops yet.
Intel Pentium Silver
N6000
1.10 GHz
4c/4t
Mobile Popular; found on laptops. Not the most powerful mobile Pentium CPU, but the a popular one for laptops.
AMD Athlon
3150G
3.5 – 3.9 GHz
4c/4t
Desktop Flagship; desktop based. Embedded and for OEM only
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 the fact that AMD Athlon flagship CPUs still have a higher core count compared to their Pentium counterparts, another important feature they offer is 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 upto 3.9 GHz from 3.5 GHz base clock speed when needed.

AMD Athlon 3000G vs Athlon 3150G

It is worth mentioning what the difference between the two is since they are both desktop based CPUs but are vastly different in terms of performance.

For starters the Athlon 3150G is the ditto 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 a desktop PC of your, you would instead have to go with the Athlon 3000G, which is in fact far weaker in performance as compared to the latest Intel flagship Pentium G7400 CPU.

Performance Benchmark Comparison

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

As such, in order to gauge how a certain CPU stacks up against its competition, benchmarks are used.

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

CPU 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
AMD Athlon vs Intel Pentium PassMark Comparison.

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

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

Similarly, the desktop based AMD Athlon 3150G, despite being old, 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.

For this, we can use the MSRP of the selected CPUs as well as their PassMark scores. Take note that I have only selected desktop-based variants as the laptop based CPUs do not have a separate MSRP (they come packaged with the laptop).

CPU PassMark
Score
MSRP
(USD)
Performance/
Dollar Value
Intel Pentium Gold
G7400 (Desktop)
6760 $87 77
AMD Athlon
3150G (Desktop)
7093 NO MSRP (OEM ONLY)
AMD Athlon
3000G (Desktop)
4483 $49 91
Intel Core i9-13900K 59,319 $599 99

The flagship Athlon 3150G is the fastest in the lot, but it 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 with, have their merits and demerits.

The Athlon is cheaper, has a better overall value, but suffers from lower performance. The opposite is true for Pentium G7400.

My personal advice would be to prioritize an OEM machine with Athlon 3150G if possible. If you cannot find a good deal with this CPU, then Pentium G7400 is the more viable option because anything weaker than this can cause you 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, 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 is the TDP. Hence you will notice that weaker and mobile based CPUs 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 as well as 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 – Higher the TDP, the lower the battery life.

In the laptop space, if you prefer long battery life, 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 generation of the sample you are looking at. For instance, if you take a current Intel Pentium CPU and compare it with an Athlon CPU released 5-6 years, you will notice a Signiant difference in performance.

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

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Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101. He is a digital nomad who loves everything PC. He is a PC builder, tech enthusiast, engineer, and a lover of single player lore-rich RPG games.

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