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What’s the Buzz about Advanced Micro Devices’ Ryzen Desktop APU?

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Mar. 1 2018, Updated 7:33 a.m. ET

AMD’s APU for PC gaming

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) had a strong 2017 with several new product launches. It’s moving forward in 2018 with the same momentum. It’s working on its strengths to become more competitive. It has a competitive advantage in its APUs (application processing units) and is expanding the application of these products beyond game consoles.

In 4Q17, AMD launched Ryzen Mobile APU for ultrathin notebooks. AMD’s APUs combine the Ryzen CPU (central processing unit) and the Vega GPU (graphics processing unit).

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AMD’s Ryzen desktop APUs

AMD expanded its APU portfolio to desktops in February 2018 with the launch of the Ryzen 5 2400G and the Ryzen 3 2200G for desktops. These processors are targeted at budget gamers who spend less than $500 on PC (personal computer) gaming.

The Ryzen 5 2400G and the Ryzen 3 2200G are priced at $170 and $100, respectively, but offer the gaming performance of a $50–$100 discrete GPU. AMD’s main objective behind these APUs is to offer a better or similar performance as an Intel (INTC) CPU with integrated GPU and Intel CPU with Nvidia’s (NVDA) discrete GPU but at a lower price.

Let’s look at the cost savings brought about by these APUs.

Cost savings

The Ryzen 5 2400G has an MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) of $170. A comparable CPU, Intel’s i5-8400, is priced at $186, and a comparable GPU, Nvidia’s GT 1030, is priced at $100, bringing the total to $286. The Ryzen 5 2400G offers the performance of a $286 machine for just $170, resulting in a savings of 68%.

The Ryzen 3 2200G carries an MSRP of $100. A comparable CPU, Intel’s i3-8100, is priced at $120, and a comparable GPU, Nvidia’s GT 1030, is priced at $100, bringing the total to $220. AMD is offering the performance of a $220 machine for just $100, resulting in a savings of 120%.

Gamers can also boost their gaming performance over the above APUs by adding a $200 Nvidia GTX 1050, making it ideal for mid-end gamers. However, the 2200G and 2400G wouldn’t be able to outperform the high-end CPUs and discrete GPUs.

The cost savings alone could be a major factor in attracting the mainstream and gaining market share. The timing of the launch is also a factor.

The GPU market is currently facing a supply shortage as crypto (cryptocurrency) miners are consuming most of the GPUs even before they reach the stores. That’s increasing GPU prices for gamers who are waiting for prices to fall. The recently launched Ryzen desktop APUs provide a budget solution to gamers, allowing them to wait for GPU prices to fall.

Next, we’ll look at the performance of the Ryzen desktop APUs and see what factors could make it a success.

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