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Review: AMD Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G

by Tarinder Sandhu on 12 February 2018, 14:01

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qadqis

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Introduction

AMD introduced a whole host of Ryzen-based CPUs in 2017. These offered an impressive bang for your buck, so much so that Intel upped its own mainstream Core game by introducing 8th Gen chips imbued with more cores and threads than ever before. Ryzen was, and is, a good thing for the PC market.

Though arguably offering better value than Intel across a broad price spectrum, initial stability concerns and, for some, a lack of built-in graphics took some shine away from desktop Ryzen. That and potentially sub-par gaming performance with a high-end discrete GPU in situ.

The gaming observations have largely been addressed in subsequent updates, platform stability has become better, so fixing the third part of the jigsaw, announced at CES, AMD is officially introducing desktop Ryzen CPUs with baked-in Vega graphics. The two vanguard chips, previously known as Raven Ridge, are Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G, priced at $169 and $99, respectively. As is usual, let's roll out the high-level specification table and see what's what.

AMD Ryzen product range

Model
Cores / Threads
TDP
L3 Cache
Base Clock
Turbo Clock
XFR
PCIe
DDR4 Support
Package
Price
AMD Ryzen Threadripper
Ryzen Threadripper 1950X
16 / 32
180W
32MB
3.4GHz
4.0GHz
200MHz
64
Quad 2666
TR4
$999
Ryzen Threadripper 1920X
12 / 24
180W
32MB
3.5GHz
4.0GHz
200MHz
64
Quad 2666
TR4
$799
Ryzen Threadripper 1900X
8 / 16
180W
16MB
3.8GHz
4.0GHz
200MHz
64
Quad 2666
TR4
$449
AMD Ryzen 7
Ryzen 7 1800X
8 / 16
95W
16MB
3.6GHz
4.0GHz
100MHz
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$349
Ryzen 7 1700X
8 / 16
95W
16MB
3.4GHz
3.8GHz
100MHz
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$309
Ryzen 7 1700
8 / 16
65W
16MB
3.0GHz
3.7GHz
50MHz
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$299
AMD Ryzen 5
Ryzen 5 1600X
6 / 12
95W
16MB
3.6GHz
4.0GHz
100MHz
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$219
Ryzen 5 1600
6 / 12
65W
16MB
3.2GHz
3.6GHz
100MHz
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$189
Ryzen 5 2400G
4 / 8
65W
4MB
3.6GHz
3.9GHz
?
16
Dual 2933
AM4
$169
Ryzen 5 1500X
4 / 8
65W
16MB
3.5GHz
3.7GHz
200MHz
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$174
Ryzen 5 1400
4 / 8
65W
8MB
3.2GHz
3.4GHz
50MHz
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$169
AMD Ryzen 3
Ryzen 3 2200G
4 / 4
65W
4MB
3.5GHz
3.7GHz
?
16
Dual 2933
AM4
$99
Ryzen 3 1300X
4 / 4
65W
8MB
3.5GHz
3.7GHz
200MHz
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$129
Ryzen 3 1200
4 / 4
65W
8MB
3.1GHz
3.4GHz
50MHz
24
Dual 2666
AM4
$109

Something Borrowed

Ryzen 5 2400G uses the same CPU engine as present-generation Ryzens, so the four-core, eight-thread part is very similar in make-up to the extant Ryzen 5 1500X chip, albeit a tad faster on base and boost speeds, thanks to a refinement of the manufacturing process. Ryzen 3 2200G, meanwhile, not sporting SMT, looks almost identical to the first-generation Ryzen 3 1300X, albeit offering an IGP whilst shaving $10 off the asking fee: a nice trick.

Perhaps the most interested observation, not explicitly shown, is AMD's decision to move from a 2+2-CCX design to a 4+0, meaning that Raven Ridge uses a single, fully-populated CCX. The upshot is the amount of cache is dropped considerably, halving the 8MB on the Ryzen 5 1400, but AMD says that a combination of higher base/boost speeds, a higher supported memory clock of 2,933MHz, and lower memory-latency access - there is no need to jump across CCXes now - means that the net cost is about zero.

That said, the on-chip graphics, which we will come to below, can also pull some of its data from the cache, so is it still better to go for 8MB-plus? We'll never know the answer to this question because AMD doesn't have a high-cache IGP-laden CPU. Simplification of the cache structure does allow AMD to scale these G-series chips into lower TDPs more easily, and we know this because Ryzen 2x00U-series processors, outfitted with a 15W TDP, use a very similar design philosophy.

Another possibly negative change is the reduction of PCIe lanes solely for discrete graphics, down from the usual x16 Gen 3 to x8 Gen 3. Again, this feels like a decision driven by a need to reduce costs - simplifying the northbridge's PCIe root complex - and enable scaling between form factors. AMD's response is that users looking for a discrete graphics card for these two G-series chips will focus on sub-$200 models whose performance isn't severely compromised by a reduction of lanes. Our thoughts are that any desktop chip ought to have a full complement of graphics PCIe lanes regardless.

A couple of other points. In another cost-cutting measure, AMD has changed the package and assembly, this time using a non-metallic TIM and, we guess, cheaper materials in order to hit the impressive $169 and $99 price points. What's more, coming a year after the original Ryzen, and taking more cues from the mobile range, the 2400G and 2200G use second-generation Precision Boost 2 in order to maximise performance when various numbers of cores and threads are active.

In a nutshell, G-series processors will better modulate their turbo frequency compared to first-generation models, because they use a workload-based approach rather than run turbo speeds based on the number of cores active - sometimes programs running on all cores may not stress the CPU that much yet frequency is reduced massively. The point is that Precision Boost 2 is able to shape frequency based on how stringent the workload is, rather than go by a core-use table alone. A good primer of Precision Boost 2, written by AMD's Robert Hallock, can be found here.

Something New

We wouldn't be talking about these chips if it wasn't for something fundamentally new: built-in graphics. Hooked up to the CPU complex by AMD's in-house Infinity Fabric, which also connects the multimedia engine, display engine, dual-channel DDR4 controllers and I/O, the Vega graphics are a reduced variant of the desktop RX Vega 56 and Vega 64. Still keeping the same underlying architecture and 64 shaders per compute unit, the 2400G comprises 11 CUs (704 shaders) operating at a peak 1,250MHz whilst the 2200G makes do with eight (512 shaders) humming along at a maximum 1,100MHz. Remember Precision Boost 2? It helps govern the energy trade-off between the CPU and GPU cores, reducing one, quickly, when more performance is needed elsewhere, whilst keeping within the quoted 65W TDP for both models.

If this strategy sounds familiar, it is, because the aforementioned Ryzen U-series uses the same approach, albeit with 10 and 8 CUs for the 2700U and 2500U, respectively. This is why we refer to the new G-series processors as scaled-up versions of mobile, rather than next-generation desktop, but who cares as long as the results are good. Back-of-the-envelope number crunching suggests that whilst Vega graphics will undoubtedly be much quicker than Intel's UHD 630 present in 8th Gen Core, they are unlikely to offer a seamless gaming experience at 1080p in graphics-heavy titles. IGP is IGP, after all.

Fitting into the same AM4 motherboards that have been available for about a year, the purpose of the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G is to provide a one-stop shop for users looking to build a fully-functioning PC on the south side of £500. Decent CPU horsepower, best-in-class IGP are mated to attractive price points, supported by a growing number of micro-ATX-sized AM4 motherboards. That's the theory, anyway.

Quick Comparison

AMD vs. Intel price comparison

AMD
Price
Intel
AMD Ryzen 5 2400G (4/8)
$169/$169
Intel Core i3-8350K (4/4)
AMD Ryzen 3 2200G (4/4)
$99/$117
Intel Core i3-8100 (4/4)

And putting it all together by looking at how the duo compares against price-equivalent 8th Gen Core chips from Intel, the 2400G is a natural competitor for the Core i3-8350K whilst the $99 Ryzen 3 2200G is a fair bit cheaper than the entry-level Core i3-8100. The great thing, from our point of view, is that competition has forced even these budget offerings into having at least four physical cores, which should translate into a good everyday PC experience.

Enough talk. Let's rock on over to the benchmarks and see exactly where these G-designated chips fall into the wider mainstream landscape.