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Ryzen APU review: Ryzen plus Vega saves budget gamers during a GPU drought

Let’s just lay our cards down at once. AMD’s Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G APUs are everything budget gamers have been praying for: surprisingly decent gaming performance at a shockingly low price.

In years past, such a statement would be met by skepticism and dismissive “whatever” animated GIFs. But AMD actually over-delivered on its Ryzen CPUs last year, so talks of combining those same Zen cores with the latest and greatest Radeon Vega graphics cores has cash-strapped gamers in a tizzy of excitement.

And it turns out the excitement is warranted. Compared to a similarly equipped Intel-based system running a Core i3, the lower-end Ryzen 3 2200G is 142 percent faster in 3DMark Firestrike, 154 percent faster in 3DMark Time Spy, and 203 percent faster in Rainbow Six Siege. Those are just a few of the highlights from our game performance testing, which you can see if you jump to our gaming tests.

In practical terms, AMD’s new budget wonder chips should be able to produce a reasonable 60 fps at 720p in many games, and some will be playable at 1080p, too. So if you’ve been avoiding building a gaming PC because of sky-high GPU prices, these new AMD APUs provide some intriguing options—at least on the budget end.

Now we’ll dig into the Ryzen APU specs and architecture before we return to our performance results. 

ryzen 3 2200g 3 Gordon Mah Ung

For real: The $99 quad-core Ryzen 3 2200G offers graphics performance competitive with $99 graphics cards.

Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G specs

There are two Ryzen APU parts being released Monday. The Ryzen 3 2200G ($99 on Amazon) features four Zen cores without symmetrical multi-threading (SMT), which is AMD’s version of Intel’s Hyper-Threading. The cores have a base clock of 3.5GHz with a boost clock of 3.7GHz.

For graphics, it features eight Vega compute units (CUs) inside. Yup, the same Vega cores used in the company’s impossible-to-obtain Radeon Vega cards (reviewed here).

ryzen apu cpu specs AMD

One step up is the Ryzen 5 2400G ($169 on Amazon). It still nets you a quad-core chip, but with SMT switched on for a total of eight threads of computing power. AMD also increases the base clock to 3.6GHz and the boost clock to 3.9GHz. For graphics, you get about a third more CUs, with 11 Vega units inside.

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