AMD Ryzen 3 2200G
Is this CPU all the chip a budget builder needs, wonders Alan Dexter…
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.