For the past 11 months, AMD has steadily pushed its Ryzen family of CPUs into the market, beginning with the Ryzen 7 1800X. Up until now, all of AMD’s Ryzen CPUs have lacked the integrated graphics component that defined the company’s midrange consumer products from the 2011 launch of Llano through last year’s Bristol Ridge.
The new Raven Ridge parts launching today break with the old product families entirely, combining AMD’s latest Ryzen architecture with an integrated version of its latest Vega GPU. These new cores will replace the Ryzen 5 1400 and Ryzen 3 1200 going forward. Here’s how the new 2200G and 2400G compare with these processors:
There’s more variation between the two CPUs than we’d typically expect for two products in the same family based on the same architecture. The 2400G is clocked 1.12x higher than the 1400, with a latency-reducing 4×0 configuration that should help improve game performance. L3 cache is only half the size, however, and the number of PCI Express lanes attached to the PCIe slot has fallen from x16 to x8. This last is unlikely to have any serious impact on GPU performance; single-GPU configurations don’t tax the PCI Express subsystem very much.
AMD’s own testing found little difference between a 4×0 configuration, where all four cores in a single CCX are active, and a 2×2 configuration, where two cores in two CCXs are active. The 2×2 option offers a larger L3, while the 4×0 has lower latency. Opting for a 4×0 configuration allowed AMD to reduce Raven Ridge’s die size, and the higher CPU clocks are intended to compensate for the smaller L3 cache. The new Ryzen APUs have a die ~210mm sq, compared with 195mm sq for an eight-core Ryzen 7 CPU.
AMD also notes it has transitioned to a revised CPU package and a traditional nonmetallic TIM for the 2400G and 2200G. The company also credits its new CPU packaging for allowing it to officially support DDR4-2933, “the highest official memory clock of any consumer processor.” That’s an important facet of the conversation, given AMD’s GPUs have historically been quite dependent on RAM clocks to hit peak performance. Raven Ridge also implements a tweaked version of Precision Boost, (Precision Boost 2, natch), which the company believes will allow the CPU to hit and sustain its boost clocks more often. The new APU’s CPU + GPU topology is shown below:
The bus topology suggests AMD’s Ryzen-derived APUs will continue to benefit from higher-clocked memory. AMD’s Infinity Fabric’s bandwidth is pegged to RAM clock; the controller runs at 1/2 DRAM clock speed. Higher RAM bandwidth = higher Infinity Fabric performance.
Improvements to Precision Boost
Ryzen’s original Precision Boost algorithm tracked workloads across cores, but picked its maximum frequency based on the total number of active CPUs, as opposed to the characteristics of the workload. In some cases, 3-4 cores (6-8 threads) were active, even though the total amount of work was small and there was no reason to use the lower “all core” boost settings in lieu of the higher-clocked boost available when 1-2 cores were active.
Precision Boost 2 gives the CPU more headroom to hold a higher clock when more cores are loaded. In the event the CPU does hit one of its predefined limits and needs to throttle down, this process now happens more gradually.
These changes are meant to allow the Ryzen 5 2400G and 2200G to hit higher performance targets without relying solely on higher clock speeds.
AMD’s Integrated Vega GPU
The 2400G and 2200G are both based on AMD’s Vega GPU. The Radeon 5 2400G has a top GPU clock of 1250MHz and a 704:44:16 configuration, while the 2200G clocks up to 1100MHz and uses a 512:32:16 configuration. While we don’t have a Carrizo for a direct comparison, the highest-end GPU configuration AMD has previously shipped would be A12-9800, which used a 512:32:8 configuration and topped out at 1.1GHz.
Vega 11 is a substantial upgrade, offering higher clocks, more cores, additional texture mapping units, and 2x the ROPs. All told, the performance improvements should be substantial.
Sizing Up The Competition
If you’ve followed Ryzen’s debut over the past 12 months, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea how this is likely to go. Intel’s decision to push six-core chips all the way down below $200 means AMD’s 4C/8T 2400G ($169) will be head-to-head against the 6C/6T Core i5-8400 ($189). The four extra threads from SMT will help, but Intel’s CPUs also typically enjoy a modest IPC advantage over their AMD counterparts.
At first glance, this seems like merely a continuation of the status quo over the past eight years. Ever since Llano, AMD has marketed and sold APUs as superior GPU solutions compared with Intel’s integrated products. But Ryzen isn’t Bulldozer. Back then, buying an AMD APU meant accepting CPU performance that only averaged a bit more than half of what Intel could offer. Today, AMD is on much stronger ground.
While we don’t have any other Core i5s on hand to include here, the Core i5-8400 is the only real competitor. 7th generation Core i5’s, like the Core i5-7400, top out at 3.5GHz and offer just four cores. The combination of SMT and a higher all-core Turbo clock would give the 2400G an edge against that CPU.
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The GPU market is badly overheated at the moment, with even entry-level GPUs sometimes selling for 1.5x – 2x over MSRP. With prices that high, there’s a potential case to be made for the 2200G and 2400G as the most affordable graphics solutions currently on the market. At 704:44:16, the Vega 11 inside the Radeon 2400G isn’t far off the Radeon RX 460 (896:56:16). Granted, there’s a significant memory bandwidth gap — 51.2GB/s of shared bandwidth for the 2400G, versus 112GB/s of dedicated bandwidth for the RX 460 — but moving to DDR4 for its APUs gives AMD a much-needed bandwidth boost.
We’ll be watching the Ryzen 5 2400G to see how it performs overall, and whether it’s up to serving as a “good enough” gaming solution until the market cools off.
Both our AMD and Intel testbeds used 16GB of Geil DDR4-3200 and a fully patched and updated version of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. The Core i5-8400 testbed used an Asus Prime Z370-A motherboard, while the AMD system uses a B350I Pro AC. For those worried about GPU capabilities on previous boards, AMD reports nearly all Ryzen board shipped to date are outfitted with at least one on-board GPU output. It’s always smart to check the capabilities of the platform you’re looking to buy, but the 2400G should be drop-in compatible with all the motherboards on the market, once UEFI updates are available. We’ll cover general CPU benchmarks first, before moving on to the game side of things.
Our game benchmarks are between the Core i5-8400 and the Ryzen 5 2400G, but there are a few points to touch on before we hit the numbers. First, several of the games we typically test using DirectX 12 — Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, Hitman, and Rise of the Tomb Raider — have all been tested using DirectX 11 in this review. While AMD’s GPU architectures have tended to favor DX12, this does not appear to be the case for Vega 11, at least not right now. This wasn’t unique to AMD; Intel’s integrated performance slightly favored DX11 as well.
Our preferred resolution for these results was 1080p, but only if the game was capable of running on Vega 11 at a 30fps minimum threshold. When Vega 11 could not hold 30fps @ 1080p on the game’s lowest detail settings, we dropped to 720p and tested again. In some cases, we’ve included results at 1080p and 720p (Medium Detail) to illustrate some of the tradeoffs Vega 11 owners could make depending on whether they wish to emphasize higher resolutions or higher frame rates.
We also tested the Intel Core i5-8400 at significantly lower resolutions in two games, for reasons that will become apparent.
AMD’s Vega 11 Delivers a Brutal Gaming Beatdown
Watching the Core i5-8400’s UHD 630 try to take on Vega 11 was like watching a time-traveling Uwe Boll trying to box Muhammed Ali in his prime. It’s less a fight and more an examination of whether it’s possible to hit someone so hard, so fast, they actually fuse hydrogen.
AMD’s Vega 11 plays games. Intel’s Core i5-8400 plays slideshows.
Is it good enough to serve as a holdover until GPU prices come down? That’s always going to depend, at least somewhat, on what you can afford to buy in the first place — but if cash is tight, the 2400G gives you some gaming performance now, while you wait. The UHD 630 can’t even meet this modest level of performance. The x8 PCIe link isn’t going to hit the performance of any midrange card. It may not even ding a higher-end model, at least not materially.
On the CPU side of things, Intel’s Core i5-8400 is more than a match for the Ryzen 5 2400G. Margins vary depending on the test, but if you’re only trying to maximize your CPU performance, the 2400G isn’t the best option on the market. The Ryzen 5 1600, at $189, would be a much stronger competitor for the Core i5-8400.
AMD’s pre-Ryzen APU family asked customers to accept a CPU core barely more than 50 percent the speed of an equivalent Intel CPU in exchange for modestly faster integrated graphics. The Ryzen 5 2400G asks for far less CPU performance and offers graphics performance in an entirely different league. With the GPU market so badly overheated, the Ryzen 5 2400G may even be the most cost-effective solution you can buy today, especially since there’s nothing stopping anyone from pairing it with a higher-end GPU down the line.
In aggregate, it’s the finest APU AMD has ever built, and a great kick-off for 2018.