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Best Ryzen APU for gaming – our picks for overall, balanced, and budget

Last Updated on December 4, 2023
Best Ryzen APU for gaming. Image shows the text "Best Ryzen APU for gaming" next to the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G and a controller outline, on a purple blue gradient background.

In this article, we will cover the best Ryzen APU for gaming, diving deep into the top choices that provide a seamless gaming experience without the need for a separate graphics card. As technology has advanced, the integration of CPU and GPU has become a key focal point for many manufacturers, and AMD is leading the charge with its innovative APUs.

Now, the APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) is by no means a new concept, having entered the market in 2011. However, we’ve come a long way from the capabilities of these early-generation processors. Thanks to AMD’s combining of its state-of-the-art Ryzen new architecture CPU and progressive GPU technologies into a single powerhouse chip, there has been a reinvigoration of the APU landscape.

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How did we pick the best Ryzen APU for gaming?

Selecting the best Ryzen APU for gaming involves a deep dive into both performance metrics and real-world applications, supported by our APU topic knowledge. Initially, we assess the raw specs: the number of cores and threads, base clock and boost clock speeds, cache size, and TDP.

These factors play a pivotal role in determining how the APU will handle gaming tasks and graphical performance. However, specs on paper don’t always translate directly to real-world performance. Hence, we also assess user reviews and benchmark results, and also consider how each APU might weigh up against other integrated graphics solution processors, such as those by Intel.

To cater to all audiences, we’ve made sure to evaluate entry-level APUs, as well as ones at the higher end of the price and performance so there are APU choices for every gaming rig.

Along a similar line, you can also read about our picks of the best CPU for integrated graphics, as well as about the rundown of the best motherboard CPU combos.

Our Recommended

Best Ryzen APU for gaming – our picks for overall, balanced, and budget

  • Stellar performance with Zen 4 architecture
  • Perfect for pro gaming and streaming
  • DDR5 and PCIe Gen 5 support
  • Runs hotter than desired
  • Demands high-end cooling solutions
  • Might be overkill for casual gamers

The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X, equipped with the more advanced Zen architecture, Zen 4, is a powerhouse in the world of APUs. It boasts 8 cores and 16 threads, capable of reaching a base speed of 4.7 GHz and a remarkable boost speed of 5.6 GHz. Notably, the APU has an L3 cache of 64MB, but its thermal demands are somewhat hefty with a TDP of 170W.

Now, while this might seem like an overkill for average gamers, it’s a dream come true for professional gamers and streamers. The 7900X’s compatibility with the AM5 platform ensures support for both DDR5 and PCIe Gen 5, making it an ideal choice for users wanting a cutting-edge gaming experience, and on the whole one of the best AMD APUs.

However, no product is without its caveats. The 7900X does run hotter than many would like, a trend we’ve also seen with its counterpart, the 13900K. If you’re interested, you can read on here about the differences between the Ryzen 9 7900 vs the 7900X.

  • Solid mid-range performance
  • Good value for money
  • Decent for most modern games
  • Not for ultra settings
  • Lacks higher-end features

Dive into the Ryzen 5 5600G and what you get is a taste of the Zen 3 architecture at a fraction of the cost. The chip, with its 6 cores and 12 threads, offers excellent speeds. Its L3 cache ensures that tasks are handled quickly and smoothly, making gaming and multitasking a breeze.

If you’re someone just entering the PC gaming realm or someone upgrading from an older setup, this APU is a godsend, offering good performance at an attractive price point.

However, as with any product, there are trade-offs. The 5600G is excellent for budget gaming, but if you’re chasing ultra-high resolutions or the higher frame rate settings in AAA games, you might find it lacking. Despite that, it should still serve you steady frame rates in medium settings across many of your favorite titles.

  • Great balance
  • Capable of handling AAA games
  • Suitable for multitasking
  • Integrated graphics have their limits
  • Might not cater to ultra-gaming settings
  • Dedicated GPUs can still outperform it

Stepping into the 5000 series, the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G stands as a testament to balanced performance. It carries the Zen 3 architecture, integrating 8 cores and 16 threads, all humming along at a comfortable base clock speed of 3.8GHz and boasting an impressive 4.6GHz boost capability. Paired with a sizable cache and an efficient 65W TDP equivalent to its predecessor, the Ryzen 4000G, this APU is built to handle demanding tasks and gaming sessions alike.

For the majority of users, this chip hits the sweet spot. It’s adept at handling demanding AAA games but also optimized enough to not break the bank.

The integrated graphics can handle many modern games at moderate settings, meaning you don’t necessarily need a dedicated GPU, especially if you’re a casual or mid-level gamer. Plus, if you’re into content creation or multitasking, the 5700G won’t let you down.

  • Great for productivity tasks
  • Reliable older-gen performance
  • Affordable
  • Not top-tier for gaming
  • Older architecture

When you step into the world of the Ryzen 5 3400G, you’re met with AMD’s older, yet still very competent, Zen+ architecture. With 4 cores and 8 threads, it’s a performer that can handle daily tasks and gaming alike without a hiccup. Boost speeds, combined with a decent amount of L3 cache, position this APU as a smart choice for those who need reliability without the price tag of the newer generations.

Now, here’s the deal. If your work leans more towards productivity – say, graphics design or video editing – then the 3400G can be your trusty workhorse. The integrated Vega graphics perform admirably in such tasks, offering a smooth experience without necessitating a separate desktop GPU.

While the 3400G can tackle a variety of tasks, it’s essential to remember it’s not from AMD’s latest lineup. Thus, it doesn’t boast the highest performance metrics, but it’s a reliable choice for those prioritizing productivity and cost-efficiency. If you’re looking to upgrade on a budget, why not run through our picks of the best cheap gaming PCs, or the best budget GPU if this entry-level APU isn’t up to scratch for your system.

Features and Considerations

When considering the best Ryzen APU for gaming, several critical factors come into play. Firstly, the sheer processing power of the chip is crucial. The combination of CPU and GPU should offer an impressive performance, ensuring games run smoothly even on high settings.

Beyond raw performance and compatibility, the graphical prowess of the Ryzen APU should not be overlooked. The integrated GPU should offer sufficient power for most modern games, making it a viable alternative to a discrete graphics card for many gamers. Also, potential future support for upgrades and the longevity of the APU should be assessed, ensuring that your gaming setup remains relevant for years to come.

Is the Ryzen APU good for gaming?

They are a great budget way for gaming. While you shouldn’t expect ultra-high settings on the most demanding AAA titles, Ryzen APUs can handle a broad spectrum of games admirably. They offer an affordable entry point for gaming, especially for those who might not want to or cannot invest in a dedicated GPU right away.

Our Verdict

Final thoughts

Finding the perfect processor that caters to your specific needs is never an easy task, especially with the wealth of options available today. The AMD Ryzen APU series has positioned itself uniquely in the market, offering integrated graphics solutions without compromising too much on CPU performance. At the top end of the spectrum, our pick of the best Ryzen APU goes to the Ryzen 9 7900X, which is a worthy investment for those looking to get integrated graphics. However, the budget options such as the Ryzen 5 5600G will still serve you well.

Whether you’re looking for a high-end gaming experience, balancing productivity and gaming, or are on a tight budget, the Ryzen APUs seem to have a chip tailored to your needs.