Put me on the quick checklist of people that can get excited in regards to the humble, much-derided built-in GPU.
Sure, most of them are afterthoughts, designed for workplace desktops and laptops that may spend most of their lives rendering 2D photographs to a single monitor. However when built-in graphics push ahead, it may possibly open up prospects for individuals who need to play video games however can solely afford an affordable desktop (or who should make do with no matter their mother and father can pay for, which was the large limiter on my PC gaming expertise as a child).
That, plus an unrelated however accordant curiosity in constructing small mini-ITX-based desktops, has stored me excited by AMD’s G-series Ryzen desktop chips (which it generally calls “APUs,” to tell apart them from the Ryzen CPUs). And the Ryzen 8000G chips are an enormous improve from the 5000G sequence that instantly preceded them (this is smart, as a result of as everyone knows the quantity 8 instantly follows the quantity 5).
We’re leaping up a complete processor socket, one CPU structure, three GPU architectures, and as much as a brand new era of a lot quicker reminiscence; particularly for graphics, it’s a fairly dramatic leap. It’s an built-in GPU that may credibly beat the bottom tier of presently obtainable graphics playing cards, changing a $100–$200 half with one thing much more energy-efficient.
As with so many current-gen Ryzen chips, still-elevated pricing for the socket AM5 platform and the DDR5 reminiscence it requires restrict the 8000G sequence’ enchantment, not less than for now.
From laptop computer to desktop
The 8000G chips use the identical Zen 4 CPU structure because the Ryzen 7000 desktop chips, however the way in which the remainder of the chip is put collectively is fairly completely different. Like previous APUs, these are literally laptop computer silicon (on this case, the Ryzen 7040/8040 sequence, codenamed Phoenix and Phoenix 2) repackaged for a desktop processor socket.
Typically, the real-world impression of that is fairly gentle; in most methods, the 8700G and 8600G will carry out quite a bit like every other Zen 4 CPU with the identical variety of cores (our benchmarks largely bear this out). However to the extent that there’s a distinction, the Phoenix silicon will constantly carry out just a bit worse, as a result of it has half as a lot L3 cache. AMD’s Ryzen X3D chips revolve across the efficiency advantages of tons of cache, so you’ll be able to see why having much less could be detrimental.
The opposite lacking function from the Ryzen 7000 desktop chips is PCI Categorical 5.0 assist—Ryzen 8000G tops out at PCIe 4.0. This would possibly, perhaps, sooner or later within the distant future, finally result in some sort of user-observable efficiency distinction. Some latest GPUs use an 8-lane PCIe 4.0 interface as an alternative of the standard 16 lanes, which limits efficiency barely. However PCIe 5.0 SSDs stay uncommon (and PCIe 4.0 peripherals stay extraordinarily quick), so it in all probability shouldn’t high your checklist of issues.
The Ryzen 5 8500G is quite a bit completely different from the 8700G and 8600G, since a few of the CPU cores within the Phoenix 2 chips are primarily based on Zen 4c somewhat than Zen 4. These cores have all the identical capabilities as common Zen 4 ones—in contrast to Intel’s E-cores—however they’re optimized to take up much less area somewhat than hit excessive clock speeds. They had been initially made for servers, the place cramming a number of cores right into a small quantity of area is extra vital than having a smaller variety of quicker cores, however AMD can be utilizing them to make a few of its low-end client chips bodily smaller and presumably cheaper to provide. AMD didn’t ship us a Ryzen 8500G for evaluation, so we are able to’t see precisely how Phoenix 2 stacks up in a desktop.
The 8700G and 8600G chips are additionally the one ones that include AMD’s “Ryzen AI” function, the model AMD is utilizing to seek advice from processors with a neural processing unit (NPU) included. Form of like GPUs or video encoding/decoding blocks, these are extra bits constructed into the chip that deal with issues that CPUs can’t do very effectively—on this case, machine studying and AI workloads.
Most PCs nonetheless don’t have NPUs, and as such they’re solely barely utilized in present variations of Home windows (Home windows 11 provides some webcam results that may reap the benefits of NPU acceleration, however for now that’s largely it). However count on this to alter as they change into extra frequent and as extra AI-accelerated textual content, picture, and video creating and modifying capabilities are constructed into fashionable working techniques.
The final main distinction is the GPU. Ryzen 7000 features a pair of RDNA2 compute items that carry out roughly like Intel’s desktop built-in graphics: adequate to render your desktop on a monitor or two, however not a lot else. The Ryzen 8000G chips embody as much as 12 RDNA3 CUs, which—as we’ve already seen in laptops and moveable gaming techniques just like the Asus ROG Ally that use the identical silicon—is sufficient to run most video games, if simply barely in some instances.
That offers AMD’s desktop APUs a singular area of interest. You need to use them in instances the place you’ll be able to’t afford a devoted GPU—for a time throughout the massive graphics card scarcity in 2020 and 2021, a Ryzen 5700G was really one of many solely methods to construct a funds gaming PC. Or you should use them in instances the place a devoted GPU received’t match, like super-small mini ITX-based desktops.
The primary argument that AMD makes is the affordability one, evaluating the worth of a Ryzen 8700G to the worth of an Intel Core i5-13400F and a GeForce GTX 1650 GPU (this card is almost 5 years previous, however it stays Nvidia’s latest and finest GPU obtainable for lower than $200).
Let’s test on efficiency first, after which we’ll revisit pricing.