If you’re looking to build a PC as affordably and small as possible, an APU – an AMD processor equipped with onboard integrated graphics – is the best way to do it. But, while APUs up to now have been only good for home theater PCs and other compact rigs, AMD has introduced the world to gaming with just a single chip through its newest AMD Ryzen APUs.
At the very bottom of AMD’s APU stack, the company has introduced the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G, a quad-core processor with serious ‘discrete graphics’ that altogether costs less than the cheapest graphics card. In our book, it’s the ultimate choice for PC gaming on a budget and well deserving of our Great Value award.
Price and availability
Just $99 (£89, AU$139) is none too shabby for a quad-core, four thread processor, further backed up by eight graphics compute units and a 1100MHz max GPU clock. The AMD Ryzen 3 2200G is a noticeably more affordable proposition than the $129 (£99, AU$169) Intel Core i3-8100, which packs as much computing power but far weaker integrated graphics.
Compared to the $109 (£99, AU$149) AMD Ryzen 3 1200 the it replaces, the Ryzen 3 2200G is tad more affordable on top of being a complete upgrade with higher clock speeds and the addition of integrated graphics.
You can buy an AMD Ryzen 3 2200G at Newegg and Amazon in the US, Scan and Overclockers in the UK and PLE Computers in Australia.
Features and chipset
The AMD Ryzen 3 2200G might be part of the start of the new Ryzen 2000-series, but it isn’t technically part of forthcoming wave of Ryzen 2nd generation processors. Rather than being built upon Zen+ new 12nm architecture, the Ryzen APUs utilize Global Foundries’ new 14nm+ FinFET process that’s more of a mature version of Ryzen’s original Zen architecture.
That said, AMD’s new Ryzen APUs do get a few new features we’ll see more of with Ryzen 2nd generation. Precision Boost 2 allows the Ryzen 3 2200G to boost more cores and more often on different workloads. Meanwhile, updated SenseMi technology allows this chip to streamline processor power consumption with any given task.
When X470 motherboards begin to roll out later this year, we’ll likely see even better power savings, not to mention performance.
Of course, the real magic behind AMD’s new Raven Ridge processors is the integration of AMD Vega graphics, and they give this chip a real wallop of graphical power for everyday PC gaming.
Despite having fewer compute units and slower GPU clock speeds than the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, the Ryzen 3 2200G felt every bit as capable as its bigger brother. We were able to play Rocket League at 1080p and high-quality settings at a steady 30 frames per second (fps). We had a similar experience in Destiny 2, but experienced as many frame rate stutters as we did on the Ryzen 5 2400G.
Meanwhile, the system-on-a-chip had no problems running Overwatch at 30fps despite setting the game with a 4K display resolution and ‘Epic’ quality settings.
Unfortunately, due to having fewer threads than the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, you’ll see a significant dip in multi-core performance between the two Ryzen APUs. That said, this chip is a welcome improvement on its predecessor, scoring a few hundred points higher in both Cinebench and GeekBench’s respective single- and multi-core tests.
Compared to the Intel Core i3 -8100, Team Blue still leads in overall computational performance. While the difference isn’t too great in Cinebench, Intel’s most affordable processor steam rolls AMD’s part with 4,624 single-core and 13,400 multi-core GeekBench scores.
It’s easy to agree with this self-contained $99 (£89, AU$139), especially since it doesn’t have any glaring faults. The AMD Ryzen 3 2200G is powerful enough to power any eSports gaming rig on its own without the need for an additional discrete graphics card.
For these reasons, we would say this is the best APU to date from a value perspective, and easily a first choice pick for anyone looking to build their first gaming PC on a budget.