Last year was an amazing one for AMD, with the company releasing a slew of extremely successful new CPUs based on the Zen architecture. This year is getting off to a decent start as well—with a new line of Ryzen CPUs with integrated Vega graphics processors (the R3 2200G and R5 2400G) being launched earlier this week. In this article, we will look at how well these freshly released processors fare against Intel’s integrated graphics, Nvidia’s low-budget GT 1030, and AMD’s own earlier APU integrated graphics.
R3 2200G and R5 2400G vs. Intel iGPU, Nvidia GT 1030
First of all, the main comparison—does AMD hold the integrated GPU crown? Recently, AMD has started moving away from their APU brand, which is in its essence was a CPU with an integrated GPU. These new Ryzen+Vega solutions are not being marketed as APUs—but instead just as AMD Ryzen CPUs with Vega graphics.
According to Steven Walton’s benchmarks from Techspot/HardwareUnboxed, the UHD integrated graphics solutions from Intel are still a fair margin behind the integrated graphics solutions of AMD. In fact, the new R5 2400G (which features Radeon Vega 11 graphics) gets frame rates that are comparable to the performance delivered by an Intel Pentium G4560 with a separate Nvidia GT 1030 installed:
In terms of performance, the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G offer mostly playable performance on the more popular titles, at least at 1280×720 and lower quality settings. One really impressive performance stat here is how the R3 2200G (costing just around $100) single-handedly tackles Overwatch, likely due to the fact that Overwatch is a well-optimized game—which makes the R3 2200G a realistic choice for budget builders whose primary or only demanding game is Overwatch (for those interested in higher quality settings and/or higher resolutions, check out our big guide article on building a PC for Overwatch).
Integrated graphics have never been especially successful in running more advanced and visually complex games at respectable frame rates, even at the lowest possible settings and resolutions. With the Ryzen G-series, AMD aims to change that; and so far, it seems that they are coming up with relatively viable solutions.
If you are interested in a more recent (and highly demanding) title, then the Ryzen 5 2400G with an overclocked CPU and iGPU is able to hold 30-40 FPS at 1920×1080 with low-medium settings in Assassin’s Creed: Origins.
These Ryzen+Vega processors have been long in the making, and they’re finally here, offering a lot of potential performance for not a lot of money. The R5 2400G ($170) offers basically the same performance as a dual-core hyper-threaded Intel Pentium G4560 and Nvidia GT 1030 combo ($70+$90). To AMD’s benefit, the R5 2400G is a 4-core/8-thread part, offering much more in terms of both CPU-intensive tasks and “future-proofing”.
Another benefit of a unified CPU and GPU design comes into play with small form-factor PCs, including both Micro ATX and Mini ITX builds. If you want an Home Theater PC for your living room TV that could do many things, from playing lower-profile games to streaming from your main rig, the single-chip design is much more desirable as it will make the box much smaller, especially when using a pico-PSU.
The G4560+GT 1030 combo is a more typical solution, however, and may be more preferable to those who only want a cheap gaming rig, and are uninterested in possible future overclocking or smaller form factors. An Intel Pentium processor with a GT 1030 will also do fine with cheaper memory, whereas AMD’s Zen architecture still heavily depends on higher RAM speeds. 2933 MHz RAM seems optimal for highest performance on the new R5 2400G and even the R3 2200G, but that is usually only available in higher memory quantities and so costs much more than a cheap DDR4 stick. This is especially noticeable with the recent RAM price hikes.
However, it seems more viable to get a decent CPU with an iGPU and then add in a new graphics card down the line—than it is to get a very cheap CPU with a cheap GPU, the latter having to be sold or recycled when it is upgrade time, and the older/lower-tier CPU likely bottlenecking any new GPU. Each set-up has its pros and cons, but for budget builders the CPU+iGPU choice (particularly with one of these new AMD G-series chips) currently edges out today’s ultra-low-power graphics cards, in terms of value and upgrade potential.