Bud­get gam­ing gets a new lease of life

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RYZEN’S IM­PACT on the CPU mar­ket has been pro­found, but all the chips so far have been straight CPU af­fairs and lack in­te­grated graph­ics. The Ryzen 5 2400G changes that—sig­nif­i­cantly. Un­til now, in­te­grated graph­ics haven’t been any­thing to get ex­cited about—In­tel’s HD graph­ics have been im­prov­ing, but they’re nowhere near dis­crete of­fer­ings. The Vega 11 GPU beat­ing in­side this chip closes that gap—it ac­tu­ally de­liv­ers de­cent 3D per­for­mance.

The CPU side of the equa­tion is os­ten­si­bly com­pa­ra­ble to the Ryzen 5 1400 that it’s set to re­place, with a quad-core, eight-thread ar­chi­tec­ture, al­beit with a faster base clock of 3.6GHz and a turbo of 3.9GHz (up from 3.2GHz and 3.6GHz re­spec­tively). This in­crease is pos­si­ble thanks to the fact that the new “Raven Ridge” APUs use a sin­gle core com­plex con­tain­ing all four cores, as op­posed to a pair of dual-core com­plexes, as in the Ryzen 5 1400. This means there is less cache on of­fer—the Ryzen 5 1400 has 8MB of L3 cache, while there’s only 4MB here. La­ten­cies are im­proved for the sin­gle core com­plex de­sign, though, which means you shouldn’t spot the drop in cache.

As hinted at by its name, the Radeon Vega 11 graph­ics sub­sys­tem boasts 11 com­pute units, equat­ing to 704 stream pro­ces­sors, 44 tex­ture map­ping units, and 16 ROPs (ren­der out­puts). This is tiny com­pared to high-end graph­ics cards (the Vega 56 has 56 com­pute units, for in­stance, which equates to 3,854 stream pro­ces­sors), but im­pres­sive for an in­te­grated of­fer­ing. This graph­ics core op­er­ates at 1,250MHz, which isn’t ex­actly hang­ing around. It’s not go­ing to re­place graph­ics cards for high-end gam­ing, but it’s more than we’re used to.

How does the Ryzen 5 2400G per­form? It’s good. Noth­ing too far out­side our ex­pec­ta­tions, but not dis­as­trous. The eight threads mean it out­per­forms In­tel’s sim­i­larly priced Core i3-8350K in Cinebench’s mul­ti­pro­ces­sor test, and it’s faster in Fry Ren­der, too. In­tel’s sin­gle-core per­for­mance evens things out, though, and X265 has the chips neck and neck. NOVEL GRAPH­ICS One thing to note with our bench­marks is that our main pro­ces­sor tests use a GeForce GTX 1080. So the bench­marks aren’t any in­di­ca­tion of the main sell­ing point of this chip—the in­te­grated graph­ics. The in­clu­sion of in­te­grated graph­ics does im­pact the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the chip when it comes to dis­crete graph­ics—the PCIe bus op­er­ates at x8 as op­posed to the x16 you’ll find on non-APU Ryzen chips. This re­sults in a lower score in FarCryPri­mal (71fps as op­posed to the 77fps norm), and as you push your graph­ics card harder, we’d ex­pect to see a big­ger dis­par­ity.

With in­te­grated we got most games to hit smooth frame rates at 1080p with some tweak­ing. By do­ing so we man­aged to get 30fps in Rise­oftheTom­bRaider, 24fps in Shad­ow­sofWar, and roughly the same in To­talWar:At­tila. This some­times took some harsh pum­mel­ing of the set­tings, but at least it’s pos­si­ble where it of­ten isn’t with the last-gen so­lu­tions. Over­watch, that bud­ding new­bie on the es­port scene, high­lights what’s pos­si­ble when you’re deal­ing with a well-op­ti­mized en­gine—it man­aged a con­sis­tently smooth 60fps at medium set­tings at 1080p. Not bad at all.

Over­all, we’re im­pressed with the Ryzen 5 2400G. You’ll still want a dis­crete card if you’re at all in­ter­ested in tin­ker­ing with high set­tings and any­thing above HD res­o­lu­tions, but for a lot of main­stream gam­ing, it han­dles it­self well. If you’re look­ing to build an en­try-level gam­ing rig on a tight bud­get, this should be at the top of your list. –ALAN DEX­TER

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

AL­PHA LYRAE Sur­pris­ingly pow­er­ful GPU; fast core clocks; great value for money.

BETA SCOR­PII Lim­ited max PCIe lanes; needs speedy RAM.

$169, www.

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