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What Reviewers Are Saying About AMD’s New ‘Raven Ridge’ PC Chips

February 13, 2018, 6:54 PM UTC

The low-cost processor market has often required consumers to forgo solid graphics performance, as the built-in graphics units included in such chips typically fall far short of the required horsepower for even a cheap gaming PC.

Advanced Micro Devices is trying to break that assumption with two new chips, the $169 Ryzen 5 2400G and the $99 Ryzen 3 2200G, which incorporate versions of its high-end Vega graphics processor instead of the usual low performers. Reviewers have been impressed, saying the Ryzen-Vega combination, also known by the code name “Raven Ridge,” at such a low price point changes the game for people who want need better video performance in a desktop computer.

Tech news site ZDNet compared systems running the new AMD chips to PCs with comparably priced Intel chips that include Intel’s relatively slow performing integrated graphics processors. AMD’s solution reached a rate of many more frames per second (a measure of how smoothly a game displays) in recent games than the Intel chips. For example, the AMD 2400G reached 58 frames per second in Sid Meier’s Civilization VI versus 16 frames for an Intel i5-8400, ZDNet said. In Alien Isolation, AMD led 82 to 30, and for Hitman Pro 33 to nine.

“How do these new processors perform in the real world? In a word: amazingly,” the site concluded.

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At Anandtech, the review noted that the similarly priced Intel chips generally held a modest lead in more typical computing tasks. But it also found a huge advantage for the AMD chips on graphic intensive tasks and in gaming.

“If there was any doubt that AMD holds the integrated graphics crown, when we compare the new Ryzen APUs against Intel’s latest graphics solutions, there is a clear winner,” Anandtech’s review said.

The review also noted that Intel (INTC) and AMD (AMD) announced a deal in November to integrate AMD’s Vega with some of Intel’s low-cost laptop processors. “We can conclude that Intel has effectively given over this integrated graphics space to AMD at this point,” the site wrote. Intel has, however, started a long-term effort to match AMD and Nvidia (NVDA) in the graphics chip arena.

PC-oriented site Techspot found the same impressive performance capabilities in the AMD chips, but noted a hiccup in memory prices that could cut into the cost savings of using the low-priced chips. Both AMD chips use a fast type of RAM memory in a PC that costs more than the RAM used with the similarly-priced Intel chips.

“Current memory pricing messes with the total value offered by AMD’s APU platform—and memory speed matters in this case,” the review concluded.

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