APUs are a range of AMD chips that, like Intel processors, arrive from the factory with an integrated graphics solution. The manufacturer’s Accelerated Processing Units come with Radeon technology, being cost-effective alternatives for those who want to build a gaming PC without spending much. The Ryzen 5 3400G, for example, is a quad-core of up to 4.1 GHz and has a Radeon GPU of 11 cores, costing $139.99 on Amazon, an interesting value compared to other processor options in the market.
Despite this, the performance of a machine with a chip of the type can be less than the expected for a gaming computer, being necessary to install a dedicated card in the future. Check below the main positive and negative points of having an AMD APU installed on your computer and know if it is worth it.
A strong point of AMD’s APUs is the prices. The Ryzen 5 3400G, for instance, is the top of this AMD product class and can be found in the market at prices around $139 at the moment.
To compare, the Ryzen 5 3500, a processor sold without an integrated graphics card, comes out for $200, while the Core i5 9400, which has a lower integrated graphics card, can be found in the same price range as the Ryzen 5 3400G.
Current AMD APUs use the same Zen technology as Ryzen processors, which means full compatibility with AM4 socket-equipped motherboards. The positive point of this is that these drives allow you to build a PC with the peace of mind of the future upgrade.
You can start with an APU now to save money by planning to buy a dedicated graphics card in the future, as well as a browner Ryzen processor. That way, the process of assembling a new computer can be healthier for your pocket.
Enough for Gaming
AMD’s most powerful APUs are a combination of a mid-range processor and an input graphics card. Although they can’t compete directly with high-end models, this fusion still takes care of some types of games – as long as you run the games at lower resolutions and some sacrifices in graphics quality.
In terms of games with a greater competitive footprint and focus on sports, such as Valorant, Counter-Strike, Fortnite, among others, a good APU can be more than enough to render the game at 60 fps and deliver a good experience.
AMD creates APUs as a product for the entry-level market, which to some extent limits the capabilities of these processors. There is, for example, no Ryzen 7 APU on the market, and a quad-core is the maximum number of cores you can currently find among the line options. Also, A-series chips, such as A10, A12, among others, are even simpler from a raw performance point of view.
The losses also persist for the GPU embedded in the APU. Although they use Radeon technology and are far superior to Intel UHD Graphics, AMD’s integrated cards use shared system memory – without access to GDDR6 – and hardly outperform a dedicated card, even the simplest.
Although there are many options released for APU, interesting models for gaming PCs may be more restricted. Ryzen 5 3400G and Ryzen 3 3200G are the most powerful chips of their kind today, while the direct predecessors Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G run on the outside.
More powerful APUs like Ryzen 7 4700G and Ryzen 5 4600G even exist, but AMD directs these components to PC manufacturers, who include the chips in so-called “OEM products”. Therefore, they are hardly available for sale by themselves.
If you are not so interested in a gaming machine, your options increase a bit. The faster A-series models are the better options to create an inexpensive PC with good performance for multimedia, Internet, and productivity.
The time may not be right to invest in a third-generation Ryzen APU. The reason is simple: AMD has already introduced the family’s first fifth-generation processors. That is, within a few months, new versions of the APUs may reach the market with greater processing capacity.
And the same goes for the graphics: at the moment, APUs like the Ryzen 5 3400G run with an AMD integrated GPU, relatively outdated. Cards like the Radeon RX 5700 XT use RDNA architecture and AMD is expected to announce new high-end graphics cards, derived from RDNA2 architecture, soon. This is the same graphics solution used in products such as the new generation Playstation (PS5) and Xbox Series X consoles.
The trend, therefore, is for future APUs to have much superior hardware, especially from a graphical point of view.
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