What Is The Best AMD Ryzen APU For Gaming In 2021?

AMD Ryzen Integrated Graphics Could Be The Answer For A Budget-Focused Gamer?

amd ryzen apu

Update – With AMD announcing the 5700G and 5600G processors that are going to be available to purchase from August, these are set to offer the very best integrated graphical performance we have ever seen.

Back in 2011, AMD debuted their APUs or Accelerated Processing Units. While the first few generations were somewhat impressive, AMD’s aging CPU architecture bogged down subsequent releases of APUs, and for a long time, it seemed like the dream was dead.

Fortunately for us, AMD didn’t stop there. After releasing the incredible Ryzen series of processors, featuring an entirely new processing architecture, AMD was able to release new APUs utilizing their latest cutting-edge CPU and GPU technologies on a single chip.

So which AMD Ryzen APU is the best? Well, today, we’re going to walk you through each APU, explain its best attributes, and help you pick the best one for your needs.

Our Top Picks

01
Editor's Pick
The Best AMD Ryzen APU
02
Runner Up
A Great AMD Ryzen APU
03
3rd-Gen Pick
The Best 3rd-Gen AMD Ryzen APU

Best AMD Ryzen APU: First Look

01
Editor's Pick
The Best AMD Ryzen APU
amd ryzen 7 5700g

AMD Ryzen 7 5700G

0 /5
Editor's Rating

AMD’s new flagship APU, the 5700G is the strongest to date, with exceptional speeds, cores, and threads.

The latest APU out of the AMD closet is a very powerful processor, with base clock speeds of 3.8GHz that can be boosted to 4.6GHz. This is going to give you a great platform to build your relatively low-priced PC in style.

02
Runner Up
A Great AMD Ryzen APU
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The more affordable 5600G is comparable to the older 3400G in terms of graphics, however, this features many more core and threads.

With 6 core and 12 threads that run at a clock speed of 3.9GhZ, you are getting a reasonably powerful processor for the money here that just so happens to run games quite successfully too.

03
3rd-Gen Pick
The Best 3rd-Gen AMD Ryzen APU
Ryzen 3600x packaging

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The 3400G from AMD is their older flagship APU and one that comes to shelves boasting some pretty impressive in-game performance stats.

The newly enhanced successor to the 2400G is widely considered to be one of the best price/performance processors in the new Ryzen range. All thanks to boosted clock speeds and better VEGA 11 graphics engine speeds.

The latest APU out of the AMD closet comes in the shape of the Ryzen 5 3400G. It’s an excellent option for someone looking to build an entry-level system at an affordable price point.

With the ability to handle AAA game titles, the 3400G sits firmly at the top of our best performing APU list.

04
2nd-Gen Pick
The Best 2nd-Gen AMD Ryzen APU
AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

0 /5
Editor's Rating

Next up is the Ryzen 5 2400G, which is pretty much just a full-fledged Ryzen 5 CPU with a graphics chip stronger than the GT 1030 slapped on for good measure.

The Ryzen 5 2400G may have been knocked off the top-performing spot by its successor, the 3400G. Don’t let that take anything away from this great processor though. 

It still offers excellent gaming performance and would suit any bidding PC building looking to build a PC on a budget.

05
Value Pick
The Best Value AMD Ryzen APU
Ryzen 3 3200G

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G

0 /5
Editor's Rating

If you’re looking for an all-in-one processor that can play some of the latest AAA games and has an affordable price tag, look no further. To put it simply, the 3200G is a higher clocked 2200G which is perfect for new PC enthusiasts who want to build an entry-level system.

The 3200G is AMD’s new budget option in the ever-popular 3rd Gen Ryzen lineup.

It comes sporting better CPU clock speeds and higher Vega 8 engine speeds than its predecessor, the 2200G. If you’re looking for the perfect starter processor which will handle many AAA games, then the 3200G could be just for you.

How We Choose

While this is usually the section where we dive deep into how we made our picks, the truth is that AMD isn’t as eager to flood the market with APUs this time around. They’re playing it smart, so there aren’t a bunch of filler options to sift through… as of now, the only APUs worth buying are the Zen APUs on this list.

What matters more than what we chose is how we ranked them and which one is right for you. Keep reading to find the answers to those questions.

How We Test

From CPUs to PC cases, we like to get hands-on with all the hardware we recommend. Testing the products is a huge part of our overall selection process and it is a way we can be sure that a specific option is the best for the job.

Products must pass our testing which is largely a lot of gaming, with some other boring stuff but most if not every recommendation will have gone through a strict testing process.

With an AMD APU, especially the latest 3rd-gen ones, we need to assess build quality, performance, and finally, value.

This process enables us to provide you with an accurate take on how well an APU performs and, ultimately, if it’s worth your hard-earned cash.

What Is An AMD APU?

While the Accelerated Processing Unit is a very attractive name, make no mistake: an APU is pretty much just a combination of a CPU and a GPU. Many Intel processors using Integrated graphics, for instance, are essentially the same as APUs. That being said, though, their graphics chips are much less powerful than the ones inside these Ryzen APUs.

AMD Ryzen CPU

Note; you can also use these strictly as CPUs by adding a dedicated GPU to your setup.

A similar concept in a different sect of the industry is “SoCs.” SoC stands for System on Chip, and these tend to combine all components of the system onto a single, well, chip. This is seen most often in gaming consoles (both the PS4 and Xbox One, for instance, are using AMD SoCs), smartphones, and on rare occasions, laptops.

Complete Ryzen APU List

amd ryzen apu

If you are considering purchasing an AMD Ryzen APU, then let us share with you all of the APUs currently available on the market as of today.

  • AMD Ryzen 7 5700G – 8 Core / 16 Thread & 4.6 Ghz Max Boost
  • AMD Ryzen 5 5600G – 6 Core / 12 Thread & 4.4Ghz Max Boost
  • AMD Ryzen 5 3400G – 4 Core / 8 Thread & 4.2 Ghz Max Boost
  • AMD Ryzen 3 3200G – 4 Core / 4 Thread & 4.0 Ghz Max Boost
  • AMD Ryzen 5 2400G – 4 Core / 8 Thread & 3.9 Ghz Max Boost
  • AMD Ryzen 3 2200G – 4 Core / 4 Thread & 3.7 Ghz Max Boost

The older AMD Ryzen 5 APUs come with Vega 11 graphics, whereas the AMD Ryzen 3 APUs come with Vega 8 graphics. The new APUs have been made more efficient, with the Ryzen 7 featuring Vega 8 and the Ryzen 5 with Vega 8. We’ve benchmarked each of these APUs significantly, you can find our results on our Youtube channel right here.

What About The Mobile Ryzen APUs?

If you’ve been tracking tech news lately, you might know that AMD has recently announced Ryzen APUs for gaming laptops. At the time of writing, these haven’t been released yet, but in all probability, they are unlikely to surpass the desktop Ryzen APUs.

Even if they could, they can’t be individually purchased and thus are out of the scope of this article. But, if you’d like to hear more about them when they release, let us know in the comments below! We don’t usually cover laptops very often, but if there was an appetite, we’d look into it.

Things To Consider

There are many things to consider when it comes to CPUs or APUs in this case. Choosing the best AMD APU for your specific needs is important so that you aren’t left with a product that doesn’t meet your requirements. Let’s go over a few key terms.

Clock Speed

The rough speed of the CPU, at least per-task, measured in GHz. As noted above, all of these APUs are based on the Zen architecture, which is great thanks to its strong single-core performance; this is particularly useful for gaming.

Cores

The more cores, the better the CPU will perform with multitasking and applications that utilize multiple cores. Games more heavily utilize a single core while a lot of content creation places emphasis on multiple cores. If you’re interested in seeing how these APUs stack up, then check out our CPU hierarchy.

Threads

Threads can be thought of as additional, virtual cores. That being said, physically, there is only one core. However, it acts as two cores when handling tasks and processes. Well, that’s the very simple version anyway.

Graphics

Graphics refers to the included “GPU.” In this case, the hierarchy starts with Vega 8 on the budget APU and ends with Vega 11 at the highest end, for now. If you’re interested in seeing how these compare, then check out the comparable graphics cards below and our GPU hierarchy.

Newly Announced AMD Ryzen 5000 Series APU

With AMD essentially cornering the market for gaming on integrated graphics, the 4000-series in 2020 brought a bit of disappointment, for the desktop at least. That is all in the past now and we can look forward to AMD’s Cezanne 8-core Ryzen 5000G APUs this year!

It is too early to say how good these are going to be for gaming but the specs alone look impressive and budget builders are about to be able to bolster their performance in the not-so-distant future.

From the leaks we have seen so far, the chip is listed as an 8 core with 16 threads. There is no mention of a base clock speed as of yet but we have seen some reports of a max clock speed of 4.7GHz.

AMD has reportedly pushed the launch of the new Cezanne APU to the second quarter of this year, which is most likely to combat the issues surrounding distribution at the moment.

In any case, we can’t wait to get our hands on the new 5000G APUs, to truly put them to the test.

Related Pages

We have a large range of in-depth buyer guides here on WePC and we would hate it if you missed the chance to read them, feel free to check out any of the related guides below.

The Best AMD Ryzen APU

01
Editor's Pick
amd ryzen 7 5700g
AMD Logo

AMD Ryzen 7 5700G

Speed

3.8GHz - 4.6GHz

Core (threads)

8 (16)

Socket

AM4

Graphics

Vega 8

02
Runner Up
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

Speed

3.9GHz - 4.4GHz

Core (threads)

6 (12)

Socket

AM4

Graphics

Vega 7

03
3rd-Gen Pick
04
2nd-Gen Pick
AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
AMD

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

Speed

3.6GHz - 3.9GHz

Core (threads)

4/8

Socket

AM4

TDP

65W

05
Value Pick

In-depth Review

01
Editor's Pick
amd ryzen 7 5700g
AMD Logo

AMD Ryzen 7 5700G

Speed

3.8GHz - 4.6GHz

Core (threads)

8 (16)

Socket

AM4

Graphics

Vega 8

Pros

Most powerful

Whopping 8 cores and 16 threads

Increased efficiency & performance

Cons

Very expensive

The Ryzen 7 5700G is AMD’s current flagship APU and is widely considered to be the world’s most powerful thanks to the integrated graphics the chip comes paired with. Unlike the previous gen, this features a higher amount of cores, increased speeds, and a more efficient design.

The AMD Ryzen 7 5700G comes equipped with 8 cores and 16 threads, respectively. It features impressive clock speeds of 3.8GHz base and 4.6GHz boost, alongside a total of 16MB L3 cache and 4MB L2 cache. TDP will be equivalent to its predecessor at 65W and it brings VEGA 8 integrated graphics, with 8 CUs and 512 stream processors (all running at 2.0GHz).

While the 5700G is the most expensive APU from AMD to date, it is also by far the most powerful. With the current GPU climate, the 5700G can provide you with solid processing power and integrated graphics. While the integrated graphics may not be good enough for everyone, basic 1080p performance is there. Furthermore, when you finally get your hands on a dedicated GPU, you can easily slot it in with this APU for a quality overall gaming PC.

02
Runner Up
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

Speed

3.9GHz - 4.4GHz

Core (threads)

6 (12)

Socket

AM4

Graphics

Vega 7

Pros

Budget Friendly

6 cores and 12 threads

Built in graphics suitable for basic gaming

Cons

Not the greatest value

The more affordable Ryzen 5 5600G is aimed more towards the budget-focused builders out there. With comparable gaming performance to the older 3400G, we have a processor here that now brings more cores and more threads into the mix, along with a more efficient design.

By comparison, the Ryzen 5 5600G features 6 cores and 12 threads – clocked at 3.9GHz base and 4.4GHz boost. Like the 5700G, the 5600G will also feature 16MB of L3 cache – but only 3MB of L2 cache. The APU will showcase a 65W TDP and will comes equipped with AMD’s VEGA 7 iGPU. This will be clocked at 1.9GHz and feature 448 stream processors.

Vega 7 may seem like a step backwards at first glance, however, the efficiency increases has compensated for this reduction in cores, meaning the graphical performance doesn’t suffer!

03
3rd-Gen Pick
Pros

Extremely well priced, powerful APU with onboard VEGA 11 graphics

Compatible with 300/400 series AM4 motherboards

Get 30fps on most AAA games titles (with optimized graphics)

Cons

The 3400G is AMD’s older-gen flagship APU and is widely considered to be one of the world’s most powerful thanks to the integrated graphics the chip comes paired with. Unlike the 3200G, the 3400G comes with 4cores and 8threads, 6MB of cache, and the impressive VEGA 11 graphics engine.

It clocks at 3.7GHz with a boost clock speed of 4.2GHz which is a vast improvement over its predecessor. According to AMD, the Ryzen 5 3400G comes with high-quality metal TIM and is supported by AMD’s precision boost overdrive. This is a feature that auto overclocks the chip whenever it feels fit to do so.

The iGPU operates at 1,400MHz base clock making it 150MHz faster than the 2400G. Like the 3200G, this chip comes with AMD’s Wraith Spire CPU cooler.

If all that didn’t impress you, then the price tag is sure to change that. It retails at under $150 which is fantastic value for money. Especially when you consider the 2400G debuted at $170.

04
2nd-Gen Pick
AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
AMD

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

Speed

3.6GHz - 3.9GHz

Core (threads)

4/8

Socket

AM4

TDP

65W

Pros

Budget Friendly

Quad core CPU with 8 threads

Built in graphics suitable for basic gaming

Unlocked

Built in graphics - Vega 11

Cons

Can play games without GPU but less effective

Until recently, the 2400G from AMD was thought of as the best APU money could buy. Thanks to their impressive new 3rd Gen processors, that is no longer the case. That being said, its embedded graphics performance still trounces any Intel integrated graphics solution by a rather severe amount, making it possible to play many modern games at 720p medium/high or 1080p low/medium settings.

The main downside of this chip is that, at least from a pure value perspective, it doesn’t totally live up to what the 2200G offers. The graphics performance doesn’t increase all that much, despite the seemingly-large jump in numbers. Just think of this as an option for those who want to complete their build with a high-end GPU down the line, rather than a mid-range one.

All being said, the 2400G still offers a great all-round product which would be perfect for any newcomer to PC building.

05
Value Pick
Pros

Extremely affordable CPU with powerful onboard VEGA 8 graphics

Backwards compatible with 300/400 series motherboards

Can achieve 30FPS on AAA games titles

Cons

Needs to be paired with powerful 3200+ RAM to be efficient

At the beating heart of this excellent, well-balanced, APU comes the VEGA 8 graphics engine. It has the ability to perform under the pressure of many AAA games titles thanks to its newly boosted clock speed. Like its predecessor, the Ryzen 3 3200G carries on the quad-core trend. Unfortunately, AMD has again decided to hold back on the multithreading technology for this one.

That being said, it does come with a few surprises like higher operating clock speeds and more available cache. The 3200g comes equipped with Vega 8 graphics clocked at 1,250MHz. That’ll be 150MHz faster than the last-gen 2200G.

Like all Ryzen chips, the 3200G comes with its own CPU cooler. In this case, it’s the Wraith Stealth. I was happily surprised with the performance power and instant cooling it gave the chip.

One area that has not been improved upon is the TDP, which still lies at 65W. That isn’t a huge deal though if truth be told, and the price tag only sweetens the deal further.

Is AMD APU Good for Gaming?

As you can see from our awesome list of APUs, there are plenty of AMD accelerated processing units that aren’t just good for gaming, but pretty darn great for gaming. The integrated GPUs are considerably more beefy than anything Intel has ever put out with their CPUs. Having said that, you should have realistic expectations of their capabilities.

The truth is an APU is never going to outperform a dedicated CPU working alongside a discrete GPU. Two separate units will almost always be able to shoulder more and complete tasks more efficiently, but unless you’re working on building an all-singing, all-dancing gaming superstation, that’s no reason to discount them.

APUs are the perfect option for a gamer on a budget or perhaps a novice PC gamer who doesn’t understand the ins and outs of hardware just yet.

Can You Run an APU with a Graphics Card?

You can indeed run your APU with a discrete graphics card. That’s a big part of the APU appeal, you can simply upgrade as soon as it makes sense for your gaming habits and bank account.

Now, if you’re wondering if you’ll have to turn off your integrated GPU in order to run your discrete card, it depends on which AMD card you settle on. Some Radeon units -especially older ones – do require you to cut the power to the integrated APU GPU.

Others are primed with AMD’s proprietary Dual Graphics technology, which basically allows you to have both the integrated and discrete GPU running simultaneously. They don’t get in each other’s way; they don’t cause any strange on-screen artifacts; they work harmoniously towards a graphical performance greater than the sum of its parts.

You should be wary; however, that, depending on the power of the discrete graphics card, the graphics potential may be a little OP for the CPU, amounting to what could be a pretty tight bottleneck. To avoid this, when shopping around for a discrete GPU, it’s important to consider the combined graphical performance not just in terms of raw power, but within the context of your CPU’s abilities.

Will APU Replace GPU?

An APU can replace a GPU, yes! If yours is a little long in the silicone tooth these days, you can simply remove it from your setup and let the APU flex is graphical prowess. As for whether APUs will eventually render the discrete GPU obsolete, we highly doubt it.

At the moment, there’s simply nothing that can match the raw gaming power of a dedicated CPU and GPU working together. As APU technology progresses, they will, of course, become far more powerful and efficient, but individual hardware will also evolve at the same if not a faster rate.

There are some aspects of computing that the APU may become the standard for such as indie gaming, emulation, or standard usage, but beyond that, they’re just not powerful enough to take on the demanding nature of enthusiast gaming.

Do I Need AMD APU Driver?

Don’t waste your time digging around for APU-specific drivers; they don’t exist, which isn’t to say you won’t need any, you absolutely will. What you’ll actually need are the drivers for your motherboard’s chipset and the integrated GPU in your APU.

These drivers couldn’t be easier to find. Simply follow this link, https://www.amd.com/en/support, use the dropdown menu to select your hardware, and voilà! You’ll be gaming up a storm APU-style in no time at all!

How Do I Switch From APU to GPU?

If you’ve been running an APU for a while, but you’ve decided to upgrade your build and incorporate a discrete graphics card, making the switch is a breeze. First, you’ll need to get your system to acknowledge your discrete GPU by uninstalling the current graphics card driver, then reinstating the latest version. Next, just follow these simple steps.

  1. Navigate to your PC’s ‘Control Center’.
  2. Go to ‘3D Settings’.
  3. Find the ‘Manage 3D Settings’ option.
  4. Click on the ‘Program Settings’ tab and pick out the correct program (the one you want your graphics card to work on).
  5. Click on ‘Preferred Graphics Processor’.
  6. Select ‘High-Performance AMD Processor’ from the dropdown menu (that’s your shiny new graphics card).
  7. Test your system to ensure everything is working as it should.

If this process doesn’t seem to be working, you could try navigating to your graphics ‘Power’ menu and selecting the highest output. If that still doesn’t let you use your new GPU, try this…

  1. Click ‘Graphics’.
  2. Click ‘3D’.
  3. Move the slider to the ‘Performance’ setting.

How Much RAM Does APU Use?

Unlike dedicated graphics processors, the integrated GPUs in accelerated processor units don’t have their own memory bank, and so rely on your system memory. This means they use slightly more RAM than your standard independent hardware setup.

Exactly how much RAM an integrated GPU uses depends on the model, but for Intel, it’s often something to the tune of 64 – 128MB. It’s a pretty negligible amount, but that’s a big reason why they’re not so great for gaming.

Your typical AMD IGPU should use around 2GB of RAM, still not really all that much, but if you’re running a very basic 2 x 4GB RAM system, you can expect a minute dip in general system efficiency. Don’t let that put you off a quality APU, though. 2GB on beautiful graphics is RAM well spent!

Final Word

So, there you have it, the best AMD Ryzen APUs all listed in order of performance. Each of these APUs offers incredible value and performance for the budget-minded gamer.

Personally, we’d recommend the Ryzen 5 3400G. Value-wise, it’s one of the best price/performance processors and is an ideal jumping-on point for the AM4 platform as a whole.

Which of these APUs seem most enticing to you, and why? We’d love to hear your opinions!

The Author Who Worked On This Article

Monitor & PC Product Specialist
at
WePC
For as long as he can remember, Charlie has always been interested in computers and gaming. It all started with the Sega Mega Drive and then evolved into PC gaming in his early teens. CS 1.6 was his first go at competitive gaming which soon evolved into CS:Source and now CS:GO – a game that he still plays (almost exclusively) today. Throughout that period he has also been a keen PC builder and enthusiast – dedicating a large portion of his time to the craft. My current rig is an ASUS 5700XT with AMD’s Ryzen 3600X.

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