AMD has launched a new series of Ryzen 5000 APUs with refreshed CPUs based on the Zen 3 architecture. Whether the core counts have changed depends on how you care to compare the market. AMD’s Ryzen 4000 desktop APUs offered up to eight cores, but they were strictly OEM-only parts. AMD is now saying it will bring the Ryzen 5000 APU family to desktop. If it did, they’d serve as the official upgrade to the older Ryzen 3000 APUs based on the Zen+ core — or, at least, some of them would.
AMD claims it’ll bring these chips to the channel, but it’s going to have to overhaul its price stack first. The Ryzen 7 5800X — the only Zen 3 eight-core currently in-market — is a $449 CPU. AMD can’t introduce top-end chips like the 65W Ryzen 7 5700G (3.8GHz / 4.6GHz) in the <$200 markets where APUs typically play. Right now, Zen 3 is still sitting in a halo position for AMD, more than six months after launch. A 65W, 8-core APU wouldn’t be quite as fast as the 105W Ryzen 7 5800X (3.8GHz / 4.7GHz), but it would risk cannibalizing the rest of AMD’s product stack if priced too low. We’re curious to see if AMD will cut its desktop CPU prices before bringing these chips out in the retail channel, or if the 5700G will be positioned as the 65W eight-core alternative to AMD’s 5800X.
The updates to the Ryzen 5000 APUs are entirely on the CPU side of the equation. The GPU core is, once again, based on AMD’s Vega architecture. Compared with AMD’s Ryzen 3000 APUs, however, the newer core would still be considered an upgrade. Where the Ryzen 5 3400G’s graphics core tops out at 1.4GHz, the Ryzen 7 5700G is clocked at 2GHz — 100MHz slower than the Ryzen 7 4700G. It’s not clear why AMD had to give back 100MHz of GPU clock, but the new Ryzen 5000 APUs offer more cache than the 4000 series did, so there may have been a power trade-off. Graphics frequency drops to 1.9GHz on the 5600G and 1.7GHz on the 5300G, so bottom-end buyers are only getting a modest update on the older Ryzen 5 3400G.
These new APUs represent the best combined CPU+GPU performance you’re going to be able to buy in a desktop right now, especially since Intel chose to equip its Rocket Lake CPUs with small integrated graphics clusters. We don’t want to opine on whether or should buy one without seeing some prices on the systems, but we can say this: The CPU side of this equation is very solid and the 5700G will certainly drive games, even if it is limited to a 65W TDP.
As for whether one of these chips represents a good option for gaming, specifically, that’s a little tougher. Any time you buy an OEM system with an eye towards upgrading the GPU later, you need to be certain you are buying a rig with enough of a power supply to provide the additional power. The 5700G represents the best performance you’re going to get out of an integrated GPU in a desktop outside of something esoteric, like a 45W integrated Tiger Lake. Just be advised that good gaming performance on an APU still requires high-speed memory (DDR4-3600 would be ideal, if it isn’t too expensive), and even then, maximum performance is limited.
Best-case performance in a situation like this is a bit lower than your typical entry-level GPU. Count on 720p “Low,” bet on 720p “Medium,” and hope for 1080p “High,” basically. Whether you land more often in 720p or 1080p may depend on the types of games you play and your tolerance for low frame rates. We do expect to see some performance uplift over the 3400G, just on the basis of faster clock speeds, but APUs tend to be bandwidth limited.
At the right price, the 5700G and its new brethren could make sense as a tide-over until GPUs are cheaper. But given how expensive AMD’s Ryzen 5000 CPUs are, we don’t expect the higher-end APUs to be that inexpensive if and when they hit the retail channel. If you choose to go this route, make certain you check the motherboard and power supply inside the OEM system for upgradability.