What Is The Best APU For Gaming? 2019 Top Reviews
Back in 2011, AMD introduced its APU, or Accelerated Processing Units. While the first few generations were somewhat influential, AMD’s aging CPU architecture severed the subsequent release of the APU, and for a long time it seemed that the dream was dead.
Fortunately, for us, AMD did not stop there. After releasing the incredible Ryzen series of processors, featuring an entirely new processing architecture, AMD was able to release new APUs using its latest state-of-the-art CPU and GPU technologies on a single chip.
Today, we are going to walk you through the best.
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AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
Best Value AMD APU
First up is the Ryzen 5 2400G, which is pretty much just a full-fledged Ryzen 5 CPU with a graphics chip stronger than the GT 1030 slapped on for good measure.
The Ryzen 5 2400G is the best performing APU in the market at the moment, but pure performance alone does not tell the whole story.
AMD Ryzen 3 2200G
Best Value AMD APU
The Ryzen 3 2200G is a Ryzen 3 CPU with embedded Radeon Vega graphics comparable to the GT 1030, which can retail for as much as this chip by itself. The processor is basically a freebie!
The 2200G is a top value pick, making it the king on a budget for PC builders in the 300- $ 400 range.
AMD Athlon 200GE
Good Cheap AMD APU
The 200GE may not seem like much, but it pretty much offers half of the 2200G’s performance at half the price. Not bad for those on the tightest budgets looking to step into PC gaming.
The Athlon 200GE is the best cheap pick and has the lowest current APUs. However, it may still be worth buying – we’ll discuss why in more detail later in the article.
What is an APU?
While the quick processing unit is a very catchy name, make no mistake: an APU is too much as a combination of a CPU and a GPU. For example, many Intel processors that use integrated graphics are essentially identical to APUs … although their graphics chips are much, much less powerful than those inside these Ryzen APUs.
Note, you can also use these strictly as CPUs by adding a dedicated GPU to your setup.
A similar concept in a different sect of industry is “SoCs”. SOC stands for System on Chip, and these combine all components of the system with a single … well, chip. This is often seen in gaming consoles (both PS4 and Xbox One, for example, AMD are using SoCs), smartphones, and on rare occasions, laptops.
How We Choose
While this is typically the segment where we dive deeper into how we have made our choice, the truth is that AMD is not keen on flooding the market at the moment. They are playing it smartly, so there is not a bunch of options to fill from … So far, the only APUs worth buying are Zen APUs on this list.
What we have chosen matters more than how we ranked them and which one is right for you. Keep reading to know the answers to those questions.
What about the mobile Ryzen APUs?
If you’ve been keeping an eye on recent tech news, you may know that AMD has recently announced Ryzen APUs for gaming laptops. At the time of writing, these have not yet been released, but in all likelihood, they are unlikely to surpass desktop Ryzen APUs.
Even if they can, they cannot be purchased individually and are thus outside the scope of this article … but if you want to hear more about them when they are released, let us know Tell us in the comments below! We don’t usually cover laptops very often, but if there was any hunger, we would look into it.
Terms to Know
Clock speed – The CPU’s rough speed, at least per-task, is measured in GHz. As mentioned above, all these APUs are based on Zen architecture, thanks to its strong single-core performance; This is particularly useful for gaming.
Core – will perform with more cores, better CPU multitasking, and applications that use multiple cores. Games tend to use single cores more often, with emphasis on multiple cores in places with more cores. If you are interested in seeing how these APUs stack, check our CPU hierarchy.
Threads – Threads can be thought of as additional, virtual cores. That being said, there is physically only one core, although it functions as 2 cores when handling tasks and processes. Anyway, this is the very simple version.
Graphics – Graphics refers to the “GPU” included. In this case, the hierarchy starts with Vega 3 at the budget APU and ends with Vega 11 at the highest end for now. If you are interested in seeing how these compare, check out the comparable graphics cards and our GPU hierarchy below.