AMD introduced APUs, or Accelerated Processing Units, in 2011. While the first few generations were rather spectacular, AMD’s aging CPU design slowed subsequent APU deliveries, and it appeared for a long time that the dream had died.
AMD, fortunately for us, did not stop there. AMD was able to release new APUs leveraging their latest cutting-edge CPU and GPU technology on a single chip after releasing the remarkable Ryzen series of processors, which included a completely new processing architecture.
So, which AMD Ryzen APU is the most powerful? Today, we’ll guide you through each APU, explain its best features, and help you choose the ideal one for your needs.
What exactly is an AMD APU?
While the moniker Accelerated Processing Unit is appealing, make no mistake: an APU is essentially just a combination of a CPU and a GPU. Many Intel CPUs, for example, that use integrated graphics are effectively the same as APUs. However, their graphics chips are far less powerful than those found in contemporary Ryzen APUs.
It should be noted that you can use these solely as CPUs by adding a dedicated GPU to your configuration.
“SoCs” is a comparable concept in a different sector of the industry. SoC stands for System on Chip, and these tend to integrate all of the system’s components onto a single, well, chip. This is most common in-game consoles (for example, both the PS4 and Xbox One use AMD SoCs), smartphones, and, in rare circumstances, laptops.
A complete list of Ryzen APUs may be found here.
If you’re thinking about buying an AMD Ryzen APU, let us show you all of the APUs that are currently available on the market.
- AMD Ryzen 7 5700G – 8 Core / 16 Thread / 4.6 Ghz Max Turbo
- AMD Ryzen 5 5600G – 6 Core / 12 Thread / 4.4GHz Max Turbo
- AMD Ryzen 5 3400G – 4 Core / 8 Thread / 4.2 Ghz Max Turbo
- AMD Ryzen 3 3200G – 4 Core / 4 Thread & 4.0 Ghz Max Turbo
- AMD Ryzen 5 2400G – 4 Core / 8 Thread / 3.9 Ghz Max Turbo
- AMD Ryzen 3 2200G – 4 Core / 4 Thread & 3.7 Ghz Max Turbo
AMD Ryzen 5 APUs from the past have Vega 11 graphics, whilst AMD Ryzen 3 APUs have Vega 8 graphics. The new APUs are more efficient, with the Ryzen 7 sporting Vega 8 and the Ryzen 5 sporting Vega 8. We’ve heavily benchmarked each of these APUs.
What About Ryzen Mobile APUs?
If you’ve been keeping up with the latest tech headlines, you’re probably aware that AMD has recently unveiled Ryzen APUs for gaming laptops. These have not yet been introduced at the time of writing, although they are unlikely to outperform desktop Ryzen APUs.
Even if they could, they can’t be purchased individually, therefore they’re out of the scope of this article. But, if you want to know more about them when they come out, let us know in the comments! We don’t generally cover laptops, but if there was a need, we’d look into it.
Things to Think About
When it comes to CPUs or APUs in this case, there are numerous factors to consider. Choosing the finest AMD APU for your individual needs is critical so that you do not end up with a product that does not suit your needs. Let’s define a few crucial terms.
The CPU’s approximate speed, measured in GHz at least per task. As previously said, all of these APUs are built on the Zen architecture, which is fantastic for gaming due to its high single-core performance.
The more cores the CPU has, the better it will perform with multitasking and apps that use multiple cores. Games rely more heavily on a single core, whereas content development focuses on numerous cores. If you want to know how these APUs compare, take a look at our CPU hierarchy.
Threads are virtual cores that can be thought of as additional cores. Having said that, there is only one physical core. When it comes to activities and processes, however, it serves as two cores. That is, after all, the most basic version.
Graphics refers to the incorporated “GPU.” In this situation, the hierarchy begins with Vega 8 on the low end and concludes with Vega 11 on the high end, for the time being. If you want to see how this stack up, take a look at the comparable graphics cards below as well as our GPU hierarchy.
AMD Ryzen 5000 Series APUs Have Been Announced
With AMD effectively owning the market for gaming on integrated graphics, the 4000-series in 2020 was a bit of a letdown, at least for the desktop. All of that is now in the past, and we can look forward to AMD’s Cezanne 8-core Ryzen 5000G APUs later this year!
It is too early to tell how good these will be for gaming, but the specs alone look impressive, and budget builders will soon be able to boost their performance.
According to the leaks so far, the processor has eight cores and sixteen threads. There is no mention of a base clock speed as of yet, however, some rumors suggest a maximum clock speed of 4.7GHz.
AMD has apparently deferred the debut of the new Cezanne APU to the second quarter of this year, most likely to address the current distribution challenges.
In any event, we can’t wait to get our hands on the new 5000G APUs and put them through their paces.
The Ryzen 7 5700G is AMD’s current flagship APU and is commonly regarded as the most powerful in the world due to the integrated graphics it comes with. Unlike the previous generation, this one has more cores, faster speeds, and a more efficient design.
The AMD Ryzen 7 5700G has eight cores and sixteen threads. It has a base clock speed of 3.8GHz and a boost clock speed of 4.6GHz, as well as 16MB L3 cache and 4MB L2 cache. TDP will be the same as its predecessor at 65W, and it will include VEGA 8 integrated graphics, 8 CUs, and 512 stream processors (all running at 2.0GHz).
The 5700G is AMD’s most costly APU to date, but it is also by far the most powerful. In today’s GPU environment, the 5700G can provide you with robust processing power and integrated graphics. While the inbuilt graphics may not be sufficient for all users, basic 1080p performance is available. Furthermore, when you finally get your hands on a dedicated GPU, you can easily integrate it with this APU to create a high-quality gaming PC.
The relatively cheap Ryzen 5 5600G is geared mainly at budget-conscious builders. With gaming performance compared to the earlier 3400G, we now have a processor with more cores and threads, as well as a more efficient design.
The Ryzen 5 5600G, on the other hand, has 6 cores and 12 threads and is clocked at 3.9GHz base and 4.4GHz boost. The 5600G, like the 5700G, will have 16MB of L3 cache but only 3MB of L2 cache. The APU will have a 65W TDP and will be outfitted with AMD’s VEGA 7 iGPU. This will run at 1.9GHz and have 448 stream processors.
At first look, Vega 7 may appear to be a step backward; nevertheless, efficiency gains have compensated for this drop in cores, ensuring that graphical performance does not suffer!
The 3400G is AMD’s older-generation flagship APU and is commonly regarded as one of the world’s most powerful due to the integrated graphics the processor comes with. Unlike the 3200G, the 3400G has four cores and eight threads, six megabytes of cache, and a powerful VEGA 11 graphics engine.
It has a base clock speed of 3.7GHz and a boost clock speed of 4.2GHz, which is a significant gain over its predecessor. The Ryzen 5 3400G, according to AMD, has high-quality metal TIM and is complemented by AMD’s accuracy boost overdrive. This is a feature that automatically overclocks the chip whenever it deems it necessary.
The iGPU has a base clock of 1,400MHz, which is 150MHz faster than the 2400G. This chip, like the 3200G, comes with AMD’s Wraith Spire CPU cooler.
If none of that impressed you, the price tag is certain to do so. It costs less than $150 and is excellent value for money. Especially since the 2400G debuted at $170.
Until recently, AMD’s 2400G was regarded to be the greatest APU money could buy. That is no longer the case, thanks to their outstanding new 3rd Gen processors. Having said that, its embedded graphics capability still outperforms any Intel integrated graphics solution by a wide margin, allowing you to play many recent games at 720p medium/high or 1080p low/medium settings.
The biggest disadvantage of this chip is that, at least in terms of value, it falls short of what the 2200G provides. Despite the apparent increase in numbers, the graphics performance does not improve significantly. Consider this an alternative for people who wish to finish their build with a high-end GPU rather than a mid-range one.
Having said that, the 2400G remains a wonderful all-around device that would be ideal for any newbie to PC construction.
The VEGA 8 graphics engine is at the heart of this outstanding, well-balanced APU. Because of its significantly increased clock speed, it can handle the demands of many AAA gaming titles. The Ryzen 3 3200G, like its predecessor, continues the quad-core trend. Unfortunately, AMD has decided to hold off on multithreading technology once more for this one.
Having said that, it does have a few surprises, such as faster running clock rates and greater available cache. The 3200g is outfitted with Vega 8 graphics running at 1,250MHz. This will be 150MHz faster than the previous generation 2200G.
The 3200G, like all Ryzen processors, comes with its own CPU cooler. It’s the Wraith Stealth in this case. I was pleasantly surprised by the chip’s performance power and instant cooling.
Is an AMD APU suitable for gaming?
As you can see from our extensive list of AMD accelerated processing units, there are lots of AMD accelerated processing units that aren’t just decent for gaming, but downright fantastic for gaming. The integrated GPUs are significantly more powerful than anything Intel has ever released with their CPUs. However, you should have realistic expectations of their abilities.
The truth is that an APU will never outperform a dedicated CPU operating in tandem with a discrete GPU. Two separate units will almost always be able to carry more and complete tasks more efficiently, but that’s no reason to dismiss them unless you’re building an all-singing, all-dancing gaming superstation.
APUs are an excellent choice for a budget-conscious gamer or a novice PC gamer who is still learning the ins and outs of hardware.
Can an APU be used with a graphics card?
You can use a discrete graphics card with your APU. That is a big part of the appeal of APUs; you can simply upgrade whenever it makes sense for your gaming habits and bank account.
If you’re wondering whether you’ll have to turn off your integrated GPU in order to operate your separate card, the answer depends on the AMD card you choose. Some Radeon units, particularly older ones, need you to turn off the power to the integrated APU GPU.
Others are pre-loaded with AMD’s proprietary Dual Graphics technology, which allows you to run both the integrated and discrete GPUs at the same time. They don’t get in each other’s way, they don’t create any strange on-screen artifacts, and they work together to achieve a graphical performance that is greater than the sum of its parts.
However, depending on the power of the discrete graphics card, the graphics potential may be a little OP for the CPU, resulting in what could be a pretty tight bottleneck. To avoid this, while searching for a discrete GPU, examine the combined graphical performance not just in terms of raw power, but also in relation to your CPU’s capabilities.
Will APUs eventually replace GPUs?
Yes, an APU can replace a GPU! If yours is a little long in the silicone tooth these days, simply remove it from your setup and allow the APU to show off its graphical prowess. We highly doubt that APUs will finally render discrete GPUs obsolete.
There is currently nothing that can equal the raw gaming power of a dedicated CPU and GPU operating in tandem. Of course, as APU technology advances, they will become far more powerful and efficient, but individual hardware will evolve at the same, if not faster, rate.
The APU may become the standard for some elements of computing, such as indie gaming, emulation, or standard usage, but they are just not strong enough to handle the demanding nature of enthusiast gaming.
Do I require AMD APU Driver?
Don’t waste your time looking for APU-specific drivers; they don’t exist. That’s not to say you won’t need any; you will. What you’ll actually need are drivers for your motherboard’s chipset and the APU’s integrated GPU.
These drivers are extremely simple to locate. Simply go to https://www.amd.com/en/support, select your hardware from the dropdown menu, and you’re done! In no time, you’ll be gaming like an APU pro!
How do I make the Transition from APU to GPU?
If you’ve been using an APU for a while but have chosen to upgrade your setup and include a standalone graphics card, the transition is simple. To begin, you must force your system to recognize your discrete GPU by deleting the existing graphics card driver and then reinstalling the most recent version. Simply follow these simple steps after that.
- Navigate to your PC’s ‘Control Center’.
- Go to ‘3D Settings’.
- Find the ‘Manage 3D Settings’ option.
- Click on the ‘Program Settings’ tab and pick out the correct program (the one you want your graphics card to work on).
- Click on ‘Preferred Graphics Processor’.
- Select ‘High-Performance AMD Processor’ from the dropdown menu (that’s your shiny new graphics card).
- Test your system to ensure everything is working as it should.
If this procedure does not appear to be functioning, you could try going to your graphics”Power’ menu and selecting the highest output. If that doesn’t allow you to use your new GPU, try this…
- Click ‘Graphics’.
- Click ‘3D’.
- Move the slider to the ‘Performance’ setting.
How much RAM does an APU consume?
Unlike dedicated graphics processors, integrated GPUs in accelerated processor units do not have their own memory bank and must therefore rely on system memory. This means that they require slightly more RAM than a standard independent hardware setup.
The amount of RAM used by an integrated GPU varies depending on the model, but for Intel, it is typically in the range of 64 – 128MB. It’s a small amount, but it’s a big reason why they’re not ideal for gaming.
Your typical AMD IGPU should use around 2GB of RAM, which is still not a lot, but if you’re running a very basic 2 x 4GB RAM system, you can expect a minor drop in overall system efficiency. But don’t let that put you off a good APU. 2GB of RAM spent on beautiful graphics is RAM well spent!
So there you have it: the top AMD Ryzen APUs, ranked by performance. Each of these APUs provides excellent value and performance for the budget-conscious gamer.
Personally, we like the Ryzen 5 3400G. In terms of value, it is one of the best price/performance processors available, and it is an excellent starting point for the AM4 platform as a whole.
Which of these APUs appeals to you the most, and why? We’d love to hear your thoughts!