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The best prebuilt PCS with AMD’S Ryzen APUS

- BY ALAINA YEE

BEAT THE GRAPHICS CARD CRUNCH WITH ONE OF THESE PREBUILT PCS POWERED BY AMD’S 5000-SERIES APUS.

AMD is at last putting its latest generation of Ryzen 5000G APUS ( go.pcworld.com/r50g) in the hands of DIY builders. These processors, with Vega-powered integrated graphics, let you play games without having a discrete GPU—A very welcome alternativ­e after months of waiting for the sky-high prices on graphics cards to drop. Of course, this generation also provides the best performanc­e you can get from a CPU.

But perhaps you don’t relish the idea of chasing after yet another component likely to be in high demand. Or maybe you don’t want to deal with building your own PC right now, period. You’re in luck. You can find these two chips, plus the even more affordable Ryzen 3 5300G, in prebuilt machines right now.

Here’s the best of the bunch, plus what you need to know for upgrading them down the road.

HP PAVILION DESKTOP TP01-2337C (COSTCO)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics

RAM: 8GB DDR4-3200MHZ RAM (1X8GB)

Storage: 1TB PCIE NVME M.2

Solid State Drive

Wireless: 11 Wireless-ac (2x2) and Bluetooth® 5.0

OS: Windows 10 Home

Price: $650

This retailer variant of an HP Pavilion prebuilt ( go.pcworld.com/rtvr) with the midtier Ryzen 5 5600G is one of the best values that we’ve seen lately. Reproducin­g it as a DIY build actually costs more, which is not typical.

That said, the configurat­ion isn’t perfect. We strongly recommendi­ng adding a second stick of 8GB RAM for optimal performanc­e (which, according to HP’S support pages [ go. pcworld.com/hspt], should be an easy addition to make).

The one catch? You’ll have to be a Costco member to purchase this system. A Costco

Gold Star personal membership costs $60 per year ( go.pcworld.com/ccgs).

HP PAVILION DESKTOP TP01-2165Z (HP)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics

CPU:16GB DDR4-3200 MHZ RAM (2X8GB)

Storage: 256GB PCIE NVME SSD + 2TB 7200RPM SATA HDD

Wireless: 11 Wireless-ac (2x2) and Bluetooth® 5.0

OS: Windows 10 Home

Price: $650

Like its Costco alter ego, this HP Pavilion featuring the 5600G ( go.pcworld.com/560g) costs less to build than its DIY equivalent. We recommend the Costco model before this one, though, due to this version’s storage configurat­ion: It has a smaller SSD, which means you’ll be storing most of your big game files on the HDD (or doing a lot of musical chairs with file storage). But otherwise, it provides a very good value.

HP PAVILION DESKTOP TP01-2155M (HP)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5300G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics

CPU: 8GB DDR4-3200 MHZ RAM (2X4GB)

Storage: 256 GB PCIE NVME SSD + 1TB 7200RPM SATA HDD

Wireless: 11 Wireless-ac (2x2) and Bluetooth® 5.0

OS: Windows 10 Home

Price: $600 You can only get the entry-level, budgetfrie­ndly Ryzen 3 5300G in a prebuilt machine—and this HP model ( go.pcworld. com/tp01) is one of the better configurat­ions that features it. As you’ll be really only playing less system-intensive games on that chip (for instance, indie games), you’ll have more than ample storage to accommodat­e your Steam backlog.

If you can afford it, we recommend spending a little more and opting for the $650 5600G prebuilts on this list, since that’ll bump you up to a more powerful

processor overall. But this 5300G PC would serve as a good system for everyday tasks and lightweigh­t gaming.

HP PAVILION DESKTOP TP01-2066 (OFFICE DEPOT)

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5700G Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics

CPU:16GB DDR4-3200 MHZ RAM (2X4GB)

Storage: 256GB PCIE NVME SSD

Wireless: 11 Wireless-ac (2x2) and Bluetooth® 5.0

OS: Windows 10 Home

Price: $700 Prebuilt PCS with a 5700G and no discrete graphics card are actually rare. If you want only the APU, you’ll have to go with this HP Pavilion ( go.pcworld.com/2066), which is fairly bare-bones in what it offers. We strongly recommend adding more storage, as the lone 256GB SSD will fill up quickly during normal use of the PC.

We expect that most people considerin­g this PC plan to pair the 5700G with a discrete GPU later to make the most out of having a higher-end processor. If you fall into this group, be aware that like the other HP Pavilion models on this list, this PC uses a proprietar­y motherboar­d and power supply. To support a discrete GPU, you’ll have to make some part swaps—investing more money in the system—to accommodat­e a beefier graphics card.

CAN YOU UPGRADE THESE PREBUILTS?

Yes and no. You can easily upgrade storage and the amount of RAM in your system (up to 32GB for all of these HP Pavilion models) and the storage. But most people asking this question want to know if you can add in a discrete graphics card down the road and call it a day. Unfortunat­ely, you can’t.

The motherboar­d also caps RAM speed at 3200MHZ, so you won’t be able to coax more performanc­e out of the APU’S graphics by switching to faster RAM, either.

Instead, the majority of folks will need to replace the case, motherboar­d, and power supply for these HP Pavilions to accommodat­e a discrete graphics card. The included PSU is rated at only 180W, which won’t provide enough juice for a dedicated GPU, even one that can draw power through the PCIE slot alone.

The motherboar­d and case are both proprietar­y, so you can’t use an off-the-shelf power supply or mobo.

A potential alternativ­e is combing through HP’S forums and Youtube to find a compatible higher-wattage HP power supply that will work with these prebuilts.

But that’s a gamble in more than one way: It’s not officially recommende­d by HP, and if you wait to buy the part, one that works may no longer exist by then.

In the end, expect to shell out about another $130 to $150 to support a discrete GPU. If that’s too much to stomach, you may be better off going the DIY route after all.

ALTERNATIV­ES

Of the big PC vendors like HP, Lenovo, and Dell, HP dominates the offerings. Whether it’s these basic Pavilion models or higher-end lines where the Ryzen APUS get paired with discrete GPUS from the get-go, HP seems to be the main company that’s gone all in on Cezanne.

The most choice you get is where to buy the prebuilt. Buying through the direct website isn’t always the best option— sometimes you can find better configurat­ions and prices by looking at partner retailers such as Best Buy, Office Depot, and Staples. That’s how we came up with our mix of offerings here.

You can find system integrator­s that offer these APUS, but at the time of this article’s publicatio­n, we couldn’t find any that sold the PC with only the APU. Stock seems to fluctuate, too: ibuypower offered the

5700G when I began my research, only for it to disappear when I went back to verify the configurat­ion.

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 ??  ?? You can easily upgrade memory capacity and storage in these HP Pavilion prebuilts, but that’s about it. If you plan to add discrete GPU, it’ll take more work and money.
You can easily upgrade memory capacity and storage in these HP Pavilion prebuilts, but that’s about it. If you plan to add discrete GPU, it’ll take more work and money.

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