In an unexpected event, it is now possible to overclock the otherwise locked Athlon 200GE processor, which currently stands as the least expensive Zen-based chip you can buy, which sells for around $ 55. In what seems to be be a glimpse of MSI, about two weeks ago, the component maker launched a new BIOS for its entire AM4 motherboard range to include support version 188.8.131.52 of AMD's generic encapsulated software architecture, otherwise known as AGESA.  This latest version enhances memory support by increasing overclocking and compatibility. It also adds a virtualization-related feature that allows manually to assign PCIe graphics cards to IOMMU groups.
Enhanced memory support is of course good, but today, Athlon 200GE overclocking that has been unintentionally activated over MSI's AM4 motherboard explores.
We've tried a handful of Asrock B350 and B450 boards, but no one enabled 200GE overclocking. However, all of the MSI AM4 cards and we have confirmed this from the budget B350 cards right up to the higher end B450 models such as Gaming Pro Carbon. We have not yet tried more Asus or Gigabyte boards, we're giving them a shot soon, but so far reports come from MSI owners. Surely, MSI has made a mistake here, but a happy accident for budget enthusiasts thinks so.
With the genius out of the bottle, there is little MSI or AMD can do to re-insert it. MSI can certainly lock 200GE back with a future BIOS revision, but it will not change the fact that you can blink the current November version and overclock all the same. With AGESA 184.108.40.206 firmware installed on an MSI motherboard, you only need to enter the BIOS and use a standard multiplier overclocker.
Our 200GE would not enter 4 GHz, it posted at 3.9 GHz, but even 1.4v was not fully stable in Windows. At 3.8 GHz it was 100% stable with 1.35v, so that's where we decided to test.
The DDR4 memory is still locked, so we were limited to DDR4-2666, but you can set timings to improve performance there. For testing, although CL14 memory was used since it's not too expensive at 2400 to 2666 speeds.
Compared with storage bells, we could increase the core frequency by 19% from 3.2 GHz to 3.8 GHz. Not a groundbreaking increase, but every little bit really needs to help the $ 55 Zen processor. Unfortunately, we do not have the 200GE box cooler on hand, so Wraith Stealth was used for this overclock. Nevertheless, we suspect the box cooler will ease this overclock when the Wraith Stealth peaked at only 59 degrees after an hour-long Blender stress test with a room temperature of 21 degrees.
For testing we used a Gigabyte RTX 2080 Ti. Yes, it's an unrealistic GPU to pair with this CPU, but with the purpose of removing any GPU bottleneck and comparing this data later with that of the higher CPUs, we went this way. Then, of course, the whole point of testing and comparing these CPUs is to test CPU performance, not low GPU performance. So with all that's clear, let's jump into the results.
First, we have Cinebench R15 and here we see that our 19% overclock has improved multi-threaded score by 13%, not bad. This is only 4% lower than our simulated 3.9 GHz overclock using the Ryzen 4 2400G with half cores disabled. It is worth noting that this overclock allowed 200GE to take over the Pentium G5400 with a small margin.
Testing with Corona shows only 7% time reduction for the rendering test, not amazing, but it places 200GE much closer to the Pentium G5400 in this test.
Runs over our watches, although the Blender rendering shows a more impressive 14% reduction that gives time and places 200GE miles in front of the AVX missing Pentium G5400. Good things, but now it's time to check out some games.
Testing with Assassin's Creed Odyssey, we see that the overclocked 200GE provides a 9% boost for the average image rate and an attracted 15% boost for frame performance. The game played noticeably smoother with 200GE overclocked, so while the winnings do not seem so significant, they are really.
We find a similar story with Assassin's Creed Origins, and now the overcast 200GE is able to match the average frame rate of the Pentium G5400, but kill it for the performance of the frame time.
Testing with Battlefield 1 reveals a nice 14% increase in average frame rate of 1080p, runs from 71 fps
We also see some solid performance gains with Forza Horizon 4, a 9% boost was enough to push 200GE in front of the more expensive Pentium G5400.
The hitman hit was great, a 16% increase was seen at 1080p when the 200GE went from a 38fps performance to an overclocked 44fps performance and now the experience miles are better than what you get G5400, especially because of 1% min FPS.
Here we see another nice performance gain, this time in Project Cars 2, ranging from 56 fps on average to 63 fps at 1080p, a free 13% bump in frame price.
In Rainbow Six Siege overclocked 200GE is still slower than the G5400 at 1080p, but somehow it does much better at 1440p.
We had problems with Athlon 200GE in Star Wars Battlefront II before, but a new match patch seems to have solved it, not sure if it's related or not, but the game loads faster at 200GE now and plays much better.
We also see a big 16% increase to the average image rate when overclocking the Athlon processor, taking us from 67 fps to 78 fps at 1080p and here it was much faster than the Pentium G5400.
Finally, we have Shadow of the Tomb Raider and note that you want to consider significantly better cues by using the built-in canned market as it's not very CPU-intensive and focuses mainly on GP U performance. So actually playing the game on a low-end CPU will provide very different results, results like what you see here. The overclocked 200GE increases the frame prices by 12%, which is ok, but the truth is told that this game is a bit beyond an SMT enabled dual core that is not clocked over 5 GHz.
With the right motherboard you can now overclock Athlon 200GE and increase game performance by as much as 16%, which is not a small margin for a CPU at the entry level.
As far as we can tell, this will require a MSI motherboard and for those who shop For new options, we suggest something like the B450M Pro-VDH, as it costs only $ 70. Cast $ 55 200GE on it and you have A pretty decent, ultra-affordable combo once overclocked.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a placeholder for Zen 2 comes 200GE, it works just as well in a better way. quality cards, such as the B450 Gaming Pro Carbon that I used.
Having said all this, our opinion about the best budget CPU has not changed, and we still strongly recommend that you spend extra $ 45 on the Ryzen 3 2200G and overclock that. It's a much better processor and factoring in just a basic $ 70 B450 table, which means it only costs 35% more, throws 16GB of memory and you're down on a 20% premium for the much faster 2200G.