As we all know, the current GPU crisis has made it more difficult to find an affordable GPU. This is a really bad time to be building PCs and it might be a while until we can start to see things revert back to normal. Many people theorize that this situation won’t calm down until the end of 2022.
With this GPU crisis being the main deterrent for many beginners getting started with PC building, there are some alternative solutions out there: you can buy an old GPU, which is also overpriced, or you can settle for an APU-based build, where you won’t have the chance to play most games at 1080p. I know that most beginners can’t wait another year, so this is the more economically feasible option.
So to get started with your “no dedicated GPU” build, I’ve listed out some AMD Ryzen APUs that fit all the three different price points you are willing to go for. This article about the best integrated graphics CPU will help you get an idea of the specs that these APUs provide and what kind of performance you can expect from these.
Quick Buying Tips for the Best Integrated Graphics CPU
AMD Ryzen APU-Based Build
Before we move on to the APUs it’s a good idea to plan our gaming build ahead of time. This includes taking note of all the other components you may need. While we are trying to pick out the other parts for this build, we would also have to consider future expansions.
So it’s best to plan out your build, such that in the future, you could easily integrate a new GPU into this system without worrying about the other parts. So spending a little extra and getting better components, up front, is good for the long-term. So in this section, I’ll list out the other components you may need to build your APU-based AMD gaming PC.
Since we are going for an integrated GPU build, our best bet is the new line of Ryzen APUs. Intel’s on-board processors are not even close to the gaming performance that the AMD Vega graphics-based APUs provide, so it’s no surprise that all of the entries in our lineup are going to be AMD APUs.
But there’s some hope for Intel in the future, as they have made plans to release their first new line of dedicated GPUs and their new integrated GPUs. Currently there are some laptops out there with the new Intel Integrated Iris Xe, and the performance on these are similar to that of the AMD APUs. However, it will take more time until Intel rolls out a desktop CPU with these integrated graphics. Until then, we will have to make do with AMD.
Fortunately for us, the 300 and 400 series chipsets will support any Ryzen processor. (500 series chipset do not officially support most older Ryzen processors)
So for our build, I’d recommend a GIGABYTE B550M DS3H, it’s good enough for most gamers and will provide some freedom for future upgrades.
But if you want something with a little more potential, then the GIGABYTE X570 AORUS Master will provide more features with lots of overclocking potential, but it’s not cheap.
Since downloading more RAM doesn’t get the job done, we will have to resort to buying some actual RAM sticks for our build, whether they’re brand-new or used RAM. 8GB would be the minimum but, if we are planning to install a dedicated GPU, we would need to go for 16GB. For this situation, I’d recommend a Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro (2x8GB). The RGB will help distract you from the missing GPU and 16GB is more than enough for current and future setups.
So now, we’ve figured out most of the important components for our APU build. In the next section, I’ll list out some good Ryzen APUs that you can integrate into this build.
Looking to get the most affordable APU that’s got the Ryzen Vega 8 integrated graphics support? The AMD Ryzen 3 2200G has got you covered. It’s got the best specs for an entry-level gaming CPU along with the safety net of an integrated GPU. This APU will provide you with enough graphical performance to play some lighter games while you wait for the crisis to blow over. Highly recommend this if you are just getting started with gaming and don’t want to make a bigger financial commitment just yet.
A good choice for an ultra-budget gaming PC. The Ryzen 3 2200G has the CPU specs equivalent to an 8th generation Intel Core i3 but with 70% better graphics performance. The CPU specs alone are good enough for most entry-level builds and won’t bottleneck a good GTX 1050-Ti or an RX 5500 XT. So coupled with one of these dedicated graphics cards (if you get the chance) this PC would be able to run some AAA games at 1080p.
The Ryzen 3 2200G is a very cheap and affordable option for anybody who wants to build a normal-looking desktop with some slight room for gaming. You could install this into your work PC and get some light gaming done when the boss is not looking.
Price - The Ryzen 3 2200G provides a very high value. It’s price-to-performance ratio is insane when compared to most other CPUs in that same price range. Use it on it’s own or couple it with a dedicated GPU and you’ve already completed your “under $500 gaming setup”.
Know Before Buying
Performance - Take note that the performance of this CPU is way under the “low-end” range. So you can’t expect good performance out of it, especially on newer games. At the start of our guide I recommended that you get something future-proof. For that reason, I do not recommend this APU, even if you are planning to couple this with a GPU like an NVIDIA 1660 Super (There’s 14.9% CPU bottleneck for this GPU).
So now, we move on to a more balanced option, the Ryzen 5 2400G. This APU provides some decent CPU specs along with some “more than decent” integrated graphics. The CPU specs aren’t very different from that of the Ryzen 3 2200G but the difference lies in the Vega 11 integrated graphics, which, on paper, is claimed to be 30% faster than the Vega 8. But in my experience so far, the difference is only by a handful of frames.
In terms of graphics, the Vega 11 is way better than the Vega 8. It is said to outperform the Vega 8 by 30%. Please remember that these are just iGPUs and therefore they will not always perform better on video games, especially ones that are not properly optimized. This is the case with the Vega 11, as in my experience, I could find the difference in only a dozen or so frames.
This is the same story with the CPU performance, there’s only a mere 10% increase in the Ryzen 5 2400G. Considering that these two APUs were released around the same time, I guess you could call them equals, but the price tag begs to differ. So paying more for an extra three graphic cores doesn’t seem like a very tempting investment.
However, we only compared a handful of games, most of them very old. This might not be the case for newer games, that will be better optimized to handle the Vega 11. So I suggest you check out some graphics comparison on the games that you wish you play, and then try to make a decision. At the end of the day, (in my opinion) the Ryzen 5 2400G is almost the same as the Ryzen 3 2200G but with 3 extra graphics cores.
What We Like
IGPU Performance - The Vega 11 does have some slight advantage over the Vega 8. It’s not a huge difference as many gamers who buy this APU only use it as a backup or short-term solution. (Until they can get a dedicated GPU) So if you are trying to build your first PC, I suppose getting the Ryzen 5 2400G instead of the Ryzen 3 2200G will provide you with a little extra graphical performance.
Know Before Buying
CPU Performance - There’s not much difference in the CPU performance when compared with the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G, so if you are judging this APU by it’s CPU performance alone, the 2200G is a cheaper option with similar CPU performance.
Price - This is more expensive than our cheapest entry: the Ryzen 3 2200G. This is because of the Vega 11 iGPU. I wouldn’t recommend upgrading to this APU from the aforementioned Ryzen 3 2200G. But if you were to get this APU for your first build, I still wouldn’t recommend it, unless absolutely necessary.
“Higher performance with a higher price, the market never lies!” If that’s how you want to look at things, then the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is right up your alley. Equipped with 8 GPU cores (Vega 8), this APU is more about supporting the CPU and less about providing graphical support. If you don’t mind spending your hard earned cash on an AMD substitute for the Intel Core i7-11700, then the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is what you want.
Finally, a more suitable APU worthy of your time. (and money, lots and lots of money) The AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is one hell of an APU. It’s suited to be more of a high-end CPU so when it is coupled with an RTX 3090, you’ve got yourself a pretty high-end gaming rig.
For the highest future-proofing APU, this is the one to go. The CPU specs are amazing and its performance is right up there with the big boy over at team blue: the Intel Core i7-11700.
I know we made quite the leap, compared to most of the other entries on this list, but if by any chance you happen to acquire an AMD Ryzen 7 5700G, maybe as an heirloom from a long lost relative, then by all means, look no further, you’ve got a good deal on your hands.
What We Like
Performance - Like I mentioned previously, this APU is a direct competitor to Intel’s Core i7-11700 CPU. So for a high-end build, you’ve got the perfect APU. I highly recommend this if you can afford the money. However, the integrated graphics could have been a little bit better if they had Vega 11 but what can you do, barons can’t be choosers.
Know Before Buying
Price - Speaking of barons, this APU is by no means made for beggars. The price is high and, if you are on a very tight budget, I wouldn’t recommend this. The high performance is tempting but it’s overkill for a budget build.
Finding the perfect balance between price and performance is not an easy feat. However, the Ryzen 5 3400G seems to have struck this perfect balance with ease. This APU consists of 11 GPU cores and 4 CPU cores at a base clock of 3.7 GHz. I highly recommend you get in on the APU master race with this Ryzen 5 3400G.
A great piece of hardware to get started with your “no dedicated GPU” build. With the help of an AMD Ryzen 5 3400G, you will have the best of both worlds: a mid-range CPU that’s got a decent clock speed and the ability to work with a good mid-range GPU such as an NVIDIA GTX 1650 Super without any CPU bottlenecks.
Now considering the Vega 11, we’ve already come to the conclusion that it’s got a slight edge over the Vega 8. So in our situation, this is the better choice, we won’t have any regrets in the iGPU department as long as we have the best: the Vega 11.
What We Like
Price - This is way cheaper than our most expensive entry: the Ryzen 7 5700G. I’m sure that this price point is very attractive for beginners and team blue defectors. The price-to-performance ratio is very stable (for APUs) and I highly recommend this.
Know Before Buying
Performance - Despite being a good enough mid-range APU, the Ryzen 5 3400G cannot compete with it’s Intel counterparts. When compared with team blue, this APU has a slightly lower CPU performance. So for most enthusiasts and content creators: this APU will hold you back. But for the budget and mid-range crowd: this is the perfect choice.
Playing games on an in-built GPU is not something many gamers would recommend. In the past you could barely get through in-game menus when using an integrated GPU. But recently, AMD has made some waves with their new line of APUs, and these provide reliable CPU performance while also providing an iGPU performance that’s the equivalent of an NVIDIA GT 1030. With this new opportunity it is possible for beginners to start building a low-end gaming PC without utilizing the need for a dedicated GPU. Something that’s good enough to get you playing Fortnite at 40+ FPS.
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