If you want to get into PC gaming in 2018, you are in a pretty rough place. Thanks to cryptocurrency farmers, GPU prices (aka graphics cards) have gone up in price by a extreme margin. This makes building a gaming pc, especially for those on a budget, much harder.
There is a relatively new product though that can help to lower the cost of building a gaming PC. The new Ryzen Processors with integrated Vega graphics. To summarize how they work, normal Ryzen processors are two sets of core complex, also called CCX. Both CCX are combined to give your end cores and threads. For the new integrated graphics Ryzen’s, it is just one CCX and one Vega GPU instead of two CCX.
What this really means, is that you are sacrificing a bit of multicore processing power for the built in graphics. Don’t worry though, this doesnt mean it will kill your gaming performance. Most games don’t utilize multiple cores, so this will have extremely minimal effect on your gaming fps. More cores really come in for tasks that require more processing power, like exporting videos and streaming. So for these kinds of tasks, the Ryzen APU won’t be as good. For straight gaming, even if you upgrade to having a graphics card in the future, the 4 core’s will be satisfactory.
Integrated graphics vs a dedicated graphics card
A Ryzen APU is the cost of a normal Ryzen processor, but with built in graphics. So one would think that it wouldn’t have much on a dedicated graphics card. At least for the cost, this isnt the case. compared to a Nvidia GTX 1030, a very low cost card, it performs better in some departments.
This isn’t enough to play new games on max graphics. But for many popular Esports games, it gives enough performance. for games like CS:GO, League of Legends, and DOTA, you can run at a very tolerable frame rate.
This means that you can save money on buying a cheap graphics card to start out, and later on upgrade to a better card when GPU prices become more reasonable.
Compatibility and Future Upgrades
The Ryzen APU’s are also compatible with all AM4 socket motherboards that have the right firmware. In other words, all normal Ryzen compatible gaming motherboards from reputable brands. This is a big step up from AMD’s older integrated graphics processors, which needed their own socket.
The significance in this is that you can buy a quality motherboard just like if you were buying a non APU Ryzen. If you wanted to upgrade to a better Ryzen in the future, you can. Although these are already very solid processors, so you shouldn’t really need to for a while.
Ryzen APU Build options
Now I’ll help to point you in the right direction for if you chose to make a Ryzen APU Rig. You have two options. The maximum budget, or the planing for the future build. The two main varyign factors will be if you chose to go Ryzen 3 or 5, and if you want a premium motherboard or if you want to save as much money as possible.
Ryzen 3 vs 5
The Ryzen 3 costs a pretty good deal less than the 5. This comes at a cost though. It has slightly less clock speed, and the ryzen 5 has hyper threading, which gives 8 threads instead of 4. For maximum budget the 3 will be fine but if you want maximum performance, or if you plan to buy a good graphics card in the future, I would go with the Ryzen 5.
Both of these processors use the same AM4 socket. The choice just comes down to how much you want to pay. I don’t believe on cheaping out on a motherboard. When you do you can run in to problems. For this build I’ve chose the ASUS ROG STRIX B350-F. Its not the cheapest of motherboards, but I actually haev this motherboard and will gladly recommend it. As an alternative if you really want to save a few bucks, I’ve chose the Gigabyte AB350M. Really any 350 motherboard should work.
While using integrated graphics, your graphics shares your system memory, so its a good idea to get a bit more. On a super budget, 8GB will still be alright. If you can afford to spend more and want a better build to upgrade to in the future, go for the 16GB. The link below you can switch to 16GB if desired.
For the power supply, I’ve chose the EVGA Bronze 500W. It is cheap and gets the job done. If you plan to get a hight power graphics card in the future, you may want to upgrade it to higher wattage (you can do on the link page).
Theres two types of storage you can have. A standard hard disk, and a solid state drive. Ideally you want both. The SSD is much faster but has much lower storage to cost ration. The standard hard disk you can get a lot of storage for a lower cost. for lowest cost only get a hard disk, if you can spend more get a SSD and a hard disk. There are options for more storage but they are out of the budget for this type of build.
To finish it off you can get any case you would like that fits the motherboard size. For the budget option I chose a case by Deepcool. It is big enough for upgrades, and gets the job done for a low cost. For those who want to spend more and have a great looking build, I chose my favorite case (aka the case on my desk right now), the Cooler Master H500P.
Overall you can make a excellent budget gaming build using AMD’s new Ryzen APU’s. It may not be better than a high end dedicated GPU, but for the low cost can easily get you into gaming on a budget. In a world where GPU prices are skyrocketing, this is a great option to have.
If you have any comments or questions, feel free to comment below, and feel free to share on social media to help us out. Thanks for reading!