Vince develops software for work. He enjoys playing games and building electronic circuits in his free time.
I previously thought that the budget gaming community has met its salvation through the release of cheap yet powerful CPUs such as Intel’s Celeron and Pentium Series and AMD’s Ryzen series. However, with the release of AMD’s new line of processor, the Athlon Series, the budget gaming community can now build a gaming system even with a more tightened belt.
The Athlon 200GE is currently priced at $55, which means you are able to lessen your PC budget or spread your budget to other computer peripherals. Aside from providing adequate CPU performance while priced at such an affordable rate, it comes with an integrated processor. Usually, you’re too worried with your tight budget because of skyrocketing GPU prices. But with Athlon’s Integrated GPU, you won’t worry too much about buying a dedicated GPU. In fact, this budget PC gaming build will only cost around $150 to build a system that will be able to run most of the popular games of today. And as I’ve said earlier, this budget gaming build PC won’t even include a dedicated GPU.
What's Inside the $150 Budget Gaming PC Build?
Before we even set foot on the performance review of this $150 budget gaming build, let’s check out the specs of the build first. Here is the list of parts on our cheap gaming build:
These prices are taken from Amazon at the time of this writing. These may be subject to change without notice.
Processor: Athlon 200GE ($55)
Obviously, our pick for our budget gaming processor is the Athlon 200GE. The Athlon 200GE which is clocked at a frequency of 3.2 GHz boasts 2 cores and 4 threads. Plus, you can further speed up its clock frequency by overclocking. Indeed, according to AMD, it is a locked chip which means it cannot be overclocked. However, there are motherboard tweaks you can implement on the system in order to enable overclocking on this chip. This also supports up to 2666MHz of DDR4 RAM Frequency. The Athlon’s integrated GPU, the Radeon Vega 3 Graphics which runs at 1000 MHz frequency, has 3 GPU Cores or Compute Units which is adequate enough to even run in 4K Resolution. Yes, it is definitely a good CPU and GPU packed in a $55 chip.
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-A320M-S2H ($56)
For our motherboard, the Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H is one of the cheapest motherboards able to support the Athlon 200GE. Although the A320M Chipset does not support overclocking on AM4 sockets, we will still pick this motherboard because of its cheap price. After all, we want to keep our budget gaming build as low as possible. Well, I can assure you, this motherboard is definitely enough for budget gamers like me and you. If you are thinking of overclocking though, I’d strongly suggest increasing your budget and getting a B350/B450 board.
RAM: Dual Channel 8 GB Crucial Ballistix Sport 2400 MHz DDR4 RAM ($38)
Having decent RAM and sufficient memory is very crucial in a gaming system relying on an integrated GPU. The Athlon 200GE will tap on the RAM’s resources to provide more performance on GPU intensive applications. In this build, a DDR4 dual channel memory architecture with at least 8 GB of memory is strongly recommended. The Ballistix Sport DDR4 8 GB Dual Channel Kit from Crucial is exactly what we need for this build. Why dual-channel? Well, we want to maximize the RAM bandwidth. This enables simultaneous access to both of our modules. In effect, it will further improve the performance of our budget gaming system.
In this build, we will only be suggesting the CPU, Motherboard and RAM since these are the only core parts that we need for this build. All of the remaining parts can be brand new or refurbished parts. You can easily find cheap deals for the other parts in Amazon or any PC store you know.
Benchmarking the Performance of this Cheap Athlon 200GE Gaming PC Build
We’ve already picked out the list of parts for our cheap $150 Athlon 200GE build. Next, let's benchmark our budget gaming system. So how do we review the performance of our Athlon 200GE budget gaming system? Well, we will have to try it out with some of the popular games of today. Let’s see how it performs in each of the games we will be using to test it out. Also, let’s see how it fares with the other gaming systems.
But before we get to testing out our $150 budget gaming system on games, let’s check out its PassMark’s benchmark first.
Clearly, the Athlon 200GE lags behind most of the budget gaming CPU’s. Even Intel’s cheapest budget CPU, Intel G5600, performs better than the Athlon 200GE by almost 600 points. On top of that, it’s only about 30% of the performance of one of the best CPU’s in the market, the Intel i7-8700k.
Reviewing the Gaming Performance of the $150 Athlon 200GE Budget Gaming Build
In our gaming benchmark, we will be tweaking display and graphics settings on each of the games to achieve optimal gaming performance on our budget Athlon 200GE gaming build. We will be settling to 720p resolution to most of our games since we want to have better framerates rather than better resolution display. Besides that, we will keep most of the graphics settings to low depending on the need of the game. If it doesn’t require that much graphic intensive, then we can set some of the options to medium or high. Anyway, we will try to tweak the settings to get the best framerates.
For our games list, we will be picking out popular E-Sports games, some “A/AA/AAA” and other well-known titles for our Athlon 200GE gaming benchmark.
First on our list is Fortnite. The Athlon 200GE budget gaming system seems to run at a great framerate with an average of 57 FPS. The highest FPS I got from the game is around 67 FPS. As I’ve mentioned before, the game’s graphics settings are set to low and resolution is set to 1080p.
Next, we have another popular shooting game and E-Sports game, Counter Strike: Global Offensive. CSGO is very playable even being set to 1080p resolution with low graphics settings. At this settings, the game runs at an average framerate of 77 FPS while having around 88 FPS as the highest framerate achieved.
Of course, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds isn’t left behind among the popular shooting E-Sports games. This game seems to be more graphic intensive than our previous 2 games. We’ve set the settings to Very Low at 720p resolution. Our Athlon 200GE cheap build struggles to run the game and only averages at a framerate of 27 FPS while achieving the highest framerate of 30 FPS.
Let’s try out an “AAA” title such as Far Cry 5. Sadly, our budget gaming build struggles so hard to play the game. It runs at an average framerate of 21 FPS while achieving the highest framerate of 23 FPS.
The Athlon 200GE struggles again with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. It runs at an average framerate of 18 FPS only even at 720p resolution at the lowest graphics settings possible.
Next game for our benchmark is one of my favorite games of all time, Dota 2. Well, the Athlon 200GE handles the game pretty great. It is able to run the game at an average framerate of 96 FPS in fastest graphics settings. Clearly, this game is an easy one for our $150 budget gaming PC build.
Another favorite game of mine, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, is playable at an average framerate of 42 FPS. Although this game has been released a few years back, I’m pretty sure a lot would still want to play this game especially that "Elder Scrolls VI" haven’t been released yet.
Overwatch is also included in this gaming benchmark list. It runs pretty well at an average of 61 FPS on 1080p resolution with the lowest graphics settings.
Lastly, in our list, of course, we will never forget one of the greatest games of all time and also, a game of the year awardee, GTA V. This game is absolutely playable at an average framerate of 47 FPS in 720p resolution with normal graphics settings.
Verdict: Gaming Benchmark on the $150 Athlon 200GE Gaming Build
|GAME TITLE||AVERAGE FRAMERATE (FPS)|
"Counter Strike: Global Offensive"
"PlayerUnknown's Battle Ground"
"Far Cry 5"
"Assassin's Creed Odyssey"
Most of the games in our list are definitely playable. Yes, for as long as it runs at an average FPS of more than 30 FPS, then it is playable. So far, most of the popular E-Sports games of today are very playable. Well, we do have an exception for PUBG's case, it seems that our $150 Athlon 200GE cheap gaming PC Build struggles to run it above 30 FPS. Well, it is still a bit playable though but expect some frustrations when playing it. For our, A/AA/AAA games, it seems that our Athlon 200GE is struggling to play Far Cry 5 and Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Its forgivable though since these games are known to be CPU and GPU intensive games. In fact, the Assassin's Creed Odyssey even puts a lot of pressure on mid-range CPUs because it is one of the badly optimized games of this generation. Anyway, our build might struggle in this games, it still runs pretty well in most popular games.
So, is the Athlon 200GE worth it?
Considering that this $150 budget gaming build can run most popular games of this generation, it is definitely worth the price. Having a decent framerate at 720p is definitely a good deal for just $150.
If you are in a really tight budget, then we recommend going for the Athlon 200GE. Of course, don't expect to run all of the latest games. If you're going for not so CPU and GPU intensive games and you're really comfortable with gaming on a 720p resolution, then go ahead and build this cheap Athlon 200GE budget gaming PC.