AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Is this CPU all the chip a bud­get builder needs, won­ders Alan Dex­ter…

Linux Format - - CONTENTS -

A graph­ics-pack­ing quad-core pro­ces­sor that ap­pears to be the dream match for any­one want­ing to build a bud­get gam­ing PC – if it works on Linux, that is…

Bud­get builders have never been so spoiled. Af­ter years of mar­ginal per­for­mance in­creases and ter­ri­ble in­te­grated graph­ics, we find our­selves han­dling chips that would have been high-end a year ago. We’re talk­ing quad-core at de­cent stock fre­quen­cies, with ca­pa­ble in­te­grated graph­ics.

The Ryzen 3 2200G, like the 2400G (see LXF236), uses ar­chi­tec­ture more read­ily found on AMD’s dis­crete graph­ics cards to power the chip’s 3D graph­i­cal grunt. Where the top-end Vega 64 has 64 com­pute units and the 2400G has 11, here we’re deal­ing with just eight. That equates to a core con­fig­u­ra­tion of 512 uni­fied shaders, 32 tex­ture map­ping units and 16 ren­der out­puts.

In real terms, this means you’re look­ing at be­tween 30 and 60fps in rea­son­ably up-to-date games at 1080p, with suf­fi­cient tweak­ing of the game set­tings. The in­te­grated graph­ics on of­fer here aren’t go­ing to chal­lenge any se­ri­ous dis­crete of­fer­ing, but they’re pow­er­ful enough to en­able you to play mod­ern games at a frac­tion of the price. This is a com­pro­mise many are will­ing to make. It’s turbo time! In terms of raw pro­cess­ing, the Ryzen 3 2200G is sur­pris­ingly pow­er­ful, given its low cost. That C-note nets you a quad-core pro­ces­sor run­ning at a tasty 3.5GHz, with a max turbo of 3.7GHz. And it will hap­pily hit that max turbo a lot of the time, as well. It’s worth not­ing that be­cause this is des­ig­nated a Ryzen 3 pro­ces­sor, it doesn’t pack any mul­ti­thread­ing clev­er­ness, so those four cores equate to four threads, but still, that isn’t bad for a bud­get chip.

The Ryzen 3 2200G re­places the Ryzen 3 1200 that pre­cedes it, squeez­ing a graph­ics core into its AM4 pack­age and up­ping the op­er­at­ing fre­quency, while keep­ing the price pretty much the same (cur­rently the 1200 goes for £80). Part of the rea­son for the up­ping of the op­er­at­ing fre­quency is down to the fact that the first gen­er­a­tion chips use two core com­plexes, each with a pair of work­ing cores, while the 2200G uses just a sin­gle core com­plex with a full quad-core make-up. The down­side of this is that there isn’t as much L3 cache – 4MB down from 8MB – al­though the la­tency is im­proved, so you may not no­tice this drop in day-to-day us­age.

Since the Ryzen 3 1200 is be­ing re­tired, that leaves two chips for any bud­ding bud­get builder to pick from: the 2200G and the 1300X, with the lat­ter cost­ing £130. A quick look at the per­for­mance re­veals that the 2200G has the edge over its more ex­pen­sive sib­ling in all but one test we ran, but that par­tic­u­lar test is im­por­tant be­cause it high­lights the one down­side of the new chip: the drop from 16x PCI Ex­press lanes down to 8x, to make way for the in­te­grated graph­ics. How­ever, this drop in band­width shouldn’t be an is­sue apart from at the very high end.

Per­for­mance-wise, the 2200G loses out to In­tel’s Core i3-8100 in pro­ces­sor speed, but it does have the up­per hand when it comes to in­te­grated graph­ics per­for­mance. Which means that if you want to play the odd game, but don’t want to drop se­ri­ous cash on a sep­a­rate graph­ics card, then this new bud­get chip from AMD is the way to go.

If gam­ing isn’t of in­ter­est or you’re def­i­nitely go­ing to go down the dis­crete graph­ics route, then the In­tel chip has the edge over the Ryzen. It’s great to have gen­uine op­tions once again. We did run into driver is­sues with Ubuntu 18.04 Beta (Ker­nel 4.15) and Fe­dora 28 Beta (Ker­nel 4.16), as in­stal­la­tion re­quired soft­ware fall­back mode. Fe­dora with Way­land has se­ri­ous per­for­mance is­sues while Ubuntu – once run­ning – per­formed well, but it did crash with DirtRally when AA was en­abled. Thank­fully, ker­nel up­dates are al­ready be­ing rolled out.

Un­der that heat spreader beats the heart of a great bud­get chip, and some ther­mal paste.

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