Final Thoughts & Conclusion
AMD has a really strong contender for the low-power do-it-all field. Two Zen cores with a total of four threads easily handle daily business tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, web surfing, emails and the like. The real power comes from the Vega cores. While you won’t be plowing through the latest AAA titles at 4K, you can certainly attain playable to good frame rates in more mainstream games popular in the E-Sports community at more sensible resolutions. Support for AMD FreeSync means the experience will stay silky smooth if you have a compatible display.
For media purposes, it’s hard to get much better. The $60 processor sips a tiny amount of power but thanks to Vega’s built-in Video Core Next ASIC, the Athlon 200GE can chew through video decoding and playback tasks without breaking a sweat. It’s nice to see hardware decode of VP9 supported finally since Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and other streaming services use it heavily. Sadly, it may be a bit behind the curve as AV1 is set to replace it in the near future which will put the compute load back on the Zen CPU cores. Older codecs are supported for hardware decode as well as H.264 and H.265 so playback of your own library will work great. The Vega cores also can do hardware encode or transcode of H.264 and H.265 so your video chat and streaming will work really well.
AMD has a really fun little CPU here. It’s awesome to be able to easily have a 0dB system for home theater as well as be able to slide in some light duty gaming when you aren’t working or surfing the web. The low price point lets you assemble a complete system for a very reasonable price, and it gives you the ability to upgrade around the highly flexible AM4 socket for years to come.
Great job AMD!