Is AMD Athlon Good for Gaming?

AMD Athlon are the entry level CPUs from AMD. They are intended mostly for essential use only. This includes average day-to-day use such as web surfing, report writing etc. and when compared to Intel, they are closely matched with the Pentium processors and hence lie somewhere in the bottom rung of the overall CPU hierarchy.

Which brings us to the question “is AMD Athlon Good for Gaming or not”. Well in majority of the cases, the answer is no. AMD Athlon is NOT suitable for gaming.

It neither has enough CPU juice nor a significantly powerful integrated graphics card to run even the basic online eSports titles.

However, in the end, the exact answer to this question depends upon a few factors:

  • The model of the AMD Athlon CPU in question
  • The game you want to play

As you will find out by the end of this article that while on average AMD Athlon is weak, certain AMD Athlon CPUs can actually be fit for light gaming.

AMD Athlon and its Position in the AMD CPU Hierarchy

AMD Athlon is the weakest line of CPUs from this brand:

  • AMD Athlon – Weakest
  • AMD Ryzen 3
  • AMD Ryzen 5 – Ideal for Average Gamer
  • AMD Ryzen 7 – Ideal for Gamer + Streamer
  • AMD Ryzen 9
  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper – Strongest

As you can see above, Athlon is the entry level CPU series from the brand. It is nowhere near powerful as the top of the Ryzen 7, 9 or the Threadripper series CPUs.

Gaming is one of the most strenuous tasks that you perform on a PC. Hence this hierarchy should give you glimpse into whether Athlon is suitable for gaming or not – obviously not.

List of Popular AMD Athlon CPUs

The following table shows some of the latest and popular AMD Athlon CPUs available for desktops and laptops.

Take note of the corresponding Passmark Benchmark scores. This can be used to compare the overall performance of the CPUs. 

I have also included a Ryzen 5 processor for basis of comparison – since Ryzen 5, like the Core i5, are considered to have the best value and performance for gaming builds.

ModelTypeSpecsPassmarkIntegrated
Graphics
AMD Athlon
3150G
Desktop3.5 - 3.9 GHz
4 Cores
4 Threads
7702Vega 3
AMD Athlon
3000G
Desktop3.5 GHz
2 Cores
4 Threads
4481Vega 3
AMD Athlon
3150U
Laptop2.6 - 3.3 GHz
2 Cores
4 Threads
4011Radeon Graphics
AMD Athlon
3050U
Laptop2.3 - 3.2 GHz
2 Cores
2 Threads
3046Radeon Graphics
AMD Ryzen 5
5600X
Desktop3.7 - 4.6 GHz
6 Cores
12 Threads
22011-

Is AMD Athlon Good for Gaming

You can see from the table and the chart above that compared to a mid range AMD Ryzen 5 CPU, even the best of the Athlon CPUs (Athlon 3150G) does not stand a chance.

Note that I have only taken Zen architecture based AMD Athlon into consideration. The older Athlon CPUs are far too weak to be even mentioned here.

So Is AMD Athlon Good for Gaming?

In order to gauge whether the Athlon line of CPUs is good for gaming or not, we have to look at the hardware requirements of the games.

There are generally two types of games out there:

  • Popular Online or eSports Titles: These do not require a robust PC hardware.
  • AAA Title: These tend to push the limits of the gaming hardware and require a robust CPU.

Let us look both types of games separately.

Is AMD Athlon Good for Online / eSports Titles?

eSports titles do not have a robust system requirement because they are intended to be played by the masses.

Take for instance League of Legends, this is a very popular online title that can be played even on a potato PC, hence the currently available Athlon CPUs can handle this game fairly easily.

The following are some of the popular online titles and their corresponding CPU requirements.

  Minimum
Requirements
Recommended
Requirements
Minecraft Intel Core i3-3210
(2 Cores / 4 Threads)
Passmark: 2061
Intel Core i5-4690
(4 Cores / 4 Threads)
Passmark: 5583
Roblox Single Core Single Core
Rocket League 2.5 GHz Dual Core 3.0+ GHz Quad Core
Fortnite Intel Core i3-3225
(2 Cores / 4 Threads)
Passmark: 2187
Intel Core i5-7300U
(2 Cores / 4 Threads)
Passmark: 3746
CS:GO Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
(2 Core / 2 Threads)
Passmark: 873
 
League of Legends 3.0 GHz 3.0 GHz Dual Core

For Online Titles a Athlon Just Barely Scratches the Surface

For majority of the online titles, the AMD Athlon CPUs, particularly the desktop based AMD Athlon 3150G, is quite sufficient.

The AMD Athlon CPUs are powerful enough and have enough core and thread count to meet the CPU requirements of the popular online titles.

Graphics Requirements is Another Story!

Of course, I am only looking at the CPU requirements here not the graphics card requirements.

The graphics card requirements is a whole different ball game. While an AMD Athlon the likes of Athlon 3000G or the Athlon 3150G do have an integrated graphics, the Vega 3 graphics, is no where near powerful enough to meet the gaming requirements of many AAA titles.

The iGPU in Athlon can be sufficient for some light eSports titles such as the League of Legends, DOTA, or CS:GO.

Read in Detail: Are integrated graphics cards good enough? 

Is AMD Athlon Good for AAA Games?

AAA games have a robust system requirement. Not only do they need a decent CPU for optimal performance, you will also need to procure a good dedicated graphics card to play these games at decent graphics.

The following tables shows some of the latest AAA titles and their CPU requirements:

  Minimum
Requirements
Recommended
Requirements
Cyberpunk 2077 Intel Core i5-3570K
(4 Cores / 4 Threads)
Passmark: 4915
Intel Core i7-4790
(4 Cores / 8 Threads)
Passmark: 7213
Resident Evil Village Intel Core i5-7500
(4 Cores / 4 Threads)
Passmark: 6061
Intel Core i7-8700
(6 Cores / 12 Threads)
Passmark: 13080
Watch Dog Legions Intel Core i5-4460
(4 Cores / 4 Threads)
Passmark: 4796
Intel Core i7-7700
(4 Cores / 8 Threads)
Passmark: 8621
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Intel Core i5-4460
(4 Cores / 4 Threads)
Passmark: 4796
Intel Core i7-6700
(4 Cores / 8 Threads)
Passmark: 8056
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Intel Core i5-4460
(4 Cores / 4 Threads)
Passmark: 4796
Intel Core i5-8400
(6 Cores / 6 Threads)
Passmark: 9216 Ideal Spec Requirements: Intel Core i7-9800X (8c/16t) (Passmark: 18366)
Elden Ring Intel Core i5-8400
(6 Cores / 6 Threads)
Passmark: 9220
Intel Core i7-8700K
(6 Cores / 12 Threads)
Passmark: 13867

Paying attention to the Core count requirements and the Passmark performance requirement, you can see that an AMD Athlon, even the best one, is not nearly sufficient enough for the AAA titles.

AMD Athlon Does Not Have Sufficient Cores for AAA Titles

One of the biggest disadvantage for majority of the AMD Athlon CPUs is that they do not have nearly enough cores to play AAA games.

The following is a core count vs performance analysis by DSOgaming.com for some of the latest titles:

Halo Infinite Core count benchmark
Halo Infinite Core Count Requirement benchmark. Source: DSOGaming
is intel core i5 good for gaming
God of War CPU Core Count Requirement Benchmarks. Source: DSOGaming
Crysis 3 Remastered Core count benchmark
Crysis 3 Remastered Core Count Requirement Benchmark. Source: DSOGaming.com

Majority of the Athlon CPUs have dual cores hence, they are not even supported by many AAA titles, let alone play them at optimal performance.

For optimal performance, the recommended core count is 6 as seen in the video below. However, you CAN get away with 4 cores on a CPU as well.

The only decent AMD Athlon CPU is the AMD Athlon 3150G with its 4c/4t. However, in a greater comparison, it too can’t leave a mark for AAA gaming.

The worst idea would be to pair an AMD Athlon with a reasonably good graphics, let alone a mid range or a high end dedicated graphics card because the AMD Athlon will present serious bottlenecks for the dedicated graphics card.

Also Read:

Should You Consider AMD Athlon for a Gaming Build?

The answer to this question brings us back to our original considerations when buying a CPU for gaming:

  • Which model you are looking at?
  • What games you intent to play?

Well if the only games you wish to play are online titles such as League of Legends, Warcraft , Rocket League etc. and that too at low graphics settings, then an AMD Athlon, particularly the desktop based Athlon CPUs should be sufficient.

However, if you have a higher level of gaming requirement such as playing the eSports titles at high graphics, let alone playing the AAA titles at high graphics cards, then you MUST look elsewhere.

I would personally recommend at LEAST a Ryzen 3 or Core i3 paired with a mid-low range graphics card such as a NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti for decent budget gaming build.

Athlons are NOT intended for gaming. They are intended for day to day work, and simple office work. Basically, Athlon serves the essential productivity market. Web surfing, word processing, casual entertainment and casual editing work are some of the area where Athlon can serve you well.

Also Read: Is Ryzen 3 Good for Gaming?

Final Words

From the discussion above, it should be clear that the answer to the question “is AMD Athlon good for gaming?” is a no. Unless you have a very tight budget and you only wish to play light online games, Athlon is NOT sufficient for a true gamer worth their salt.

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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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