AMD Athlon is the entry-level CPU from AMD. They are intended mostly for essential use only. This includes average day-to-day use such as web surfing, report writing, etc. Compared to Intel, they are closely matched with the Pentium processors and lie somewhere in the bottom rung of the overall CPU hierarchy.
This brings us to the question, “Is AMD Athlon Good for Gaming?” Well, in a 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.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 you perform on a PC. Hence this hierarchy should give you a 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 most 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 comparison – since Ryzen 5, like the Core i5, has the best value and performance for gaming builds.
|Desktop||3.5 – 3.9 GHz|
|Laptop||2.6 – 3.3 GHz|
|Laptop||2.3 – 3.2 GHz|
|AMD Ryzen 5|
|Desktop||3.7 – 4.6 GHz|
- Scores are taken from CPUBenchmark.net
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?
To gauge whether the Athlon line of CPUs is good for gaming, 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 robust PC hardware.
- AAA Title: These tend to push the limits of the gaming hardware and need a robust CPU.
Let us look at 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.
For instance, League of Legends; 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, Athlon Just Barely Scratches the Surface
The AMD Athlon CPUs, particularly the desktop-based AMD Athlon 3150G, are sufficient for most online titles.
The AMD Athlon CPUs are powerful enough and have enough core and thread count to meet the CPU requirements of 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 are a whole different ball game. While an AMD Athlon, like the Athlon 3000G or the Athlon 3150G, has integrated graphics, the Vega 3 graphics is nowhere 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, but you will also need to procure a good dedicated graphics card to play these games with decent graphics.
The following tables show 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 insufficient for the AAA titles.
AMD Athlon Does Not Have Sufficient Cores for AAA Titles
One of the biggest disadvantages for most 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:
Most 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 six, as seen in the video below. However, you CAN also get away with four cores on a CPU.
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 reasonably good graphics, let alone a mid-range or a high-end dedicated graphics card because the AMD Athlon will present severe bottlenecks for the dedicated graphics card.
- Is Intel Core i5 Good for Gaming?
- Is Intel Pentium Good for Gaming?
- Is Intel Core i7 Good for Gaming?
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 do you intend 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 recommend at LEAST a Ryzen 3 or Core i3 paired with a mid-low range graphics card such as an NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti for a decent budget gaming build.
Athlons are NOT intended for gaming. They are designed 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 areas where Athlon can serve you well.
Also Read: Is Ryzen 3 Good for Gaming?
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 only wish to play light online games, Athlon is insufficient for a true gamer worth their salt.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can an AMD Athlon processor handle demanding games?
Yes, an AMD Athlon processor can handle demanding games. The performance of the processor will depend on factors such as clock speed, number of cores, and the graphics card being used. While high-end games may require more powerful processors, an AMD Athlon processor is still a good option for gamers on a budget.
2. What is the clock speed of an AMD Athlon processor, and how does it affect gaming performance?
The clock speed of an AMD Athlon processor varies depending on the specific model. Higher clock speeds generally result in better performance in games and other applications. However, other factors such as the number of cores and cache size can also affect performance. It’s important to consider all of these factors when selecting a processor for gaming.
3. Is an AMD Athlon processor suitable for virtual reality gaming?
While an AMD Athlon processor can handle some virtual reality (VR) games, it may not be the best option for a smooth VR experience.
VR games require a lot of processing power, and a more powerful processor such as an Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 may be necessary for optimal performance.
However, if you’re on a budget, an AMD Athlon processor can still provide a decent VR experience.
4. Can an AMD Athlon processor handle streaming and gaming at the same time?
An AMD Athlon processor can handle streaming and gaming at the same time, but the quality of the stream may be affected depending on the specific processor model and its performance capabilities.
If you plan on streaming and gaming at the same time, you may want to consider a more powerful processor such as an AMD Ryzen or Intel Core i7.
5. What kind of graphics card should I pair with an AMD Athlon processor for gaming?
The kind of graphics card you should pair with an AMD Athlon processor for gaming depends on the specific model of the processor and the types of games you plan on playing.
For less demanding games, a mid-range graphics card such as an NVIDIA GTX 1660 or AMD Radeon RX 560 may be sufficient. For more demanding games, a higher-end graphics card such as an NVIDIA RTX 3070 or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT may be necessary for optimal performance.
It’s important to consider the balance between the processor and graphics card when building a gaming PC.