A Mini-Review of a Product Formerly Known as an APU
AMD’s current high-end solution for a processor with integrated graphics is the Ryzen 7 5700G. I still call these things APUs (which stands for “Accelerated Processing Unit”), but AMD calls these “AMD Ryzen 7 5000 G-Series Desktop Processors with Radeon Graphics”, which is longer.
I finally bought a Ryzen 7 5700G myself, as we didn’t receive a sample from AMD (we have been provided with a Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 9 5900X this generation), and while AMD’s list price began at $359 USD, I paid $309.99 – and have since watched the price drop as low as $249.99 USD (Micro Center in-store). Note: as I publish this prices are back up to $359 in most places. I don’t get it.
Of course graphics card prices are plummeting (almost to the point of being reasonable again), but I still think an APU can still make sense for a new build. Of course this depends on your needs, but the advantage of the 5000 Series APUs (Ryzen 7 5700G and Ryzen 5 5600G) is obviously the integrated graphics, which provides more build flexibility than any other Ryzen 5000 Series product. Remember, standard Ryzen CPUs won’t offer processor graphics until Zen 4.
So, does an the Ryzen 7 5700G APU (sorry, AMD Ryzen 7 5000 G-Series Desktop Processors with Radeon Graphics) have enough GPU horsepower to play games now, and does it have enough CPU horsepower to play games with a discrete GPU, later? These are the questions I will sort of answer in this brief review.
The Ryzen 7 5700G
Let’s get some specs out of the way, first. AMD lists this product as containing 8 processor cores and 16 threads, with a base clock of 3.8 GHz on the CPU cores and a TDP of 65W. The CPU cores feature AMD’s Zen 3 architecture, though they are not exactly the same as the desktop Ryzen 5000 cores, as the the Ryzen 7 5700G has half the L3 cache of the desktop parts – 16MB vs. 32MB.
Diving a bit deeper into these specs, we note that the code name is “Cezanne“, which means the CPU’s Zen 3 architecture has a lot more in common with last year’s mobile Ryzen 5000 side than current 5000 Series desktop SKUs.
Now for some bad news: the Radeon graphics are Vega 8 (yes, Vega), so prepare to be a bit underwhelmed by 8 Compute Units with a max frequency of up to 2 GHz. Oh, and since this is essentially a desktop version of a Ryzen 5000 mobile APU, expansion support is limited to PCIe 3.0. So much for my plan to recommend a discrete Radeon RX 6500 XT upgrade path (a PCIe 4.0 x4 product).
Limited Testing of a Limited Product
I will not pretend that I have everything on hand that I would like, such as a low-end current-gen GPU like the Radeon RX 6400 to compare this APU against. I do have a Radeon RX 6500 XT, and a GTX 1050 Ti, but as you will find in the chart below, the Ryzen 7 5700G is not even in the same league as the aforementioned modest GPUs.
A quick note on test configuration: AMD lists DDR4-3200 as the supported standard, and some reviewers have a “reference” memory speed philosophy, but I tested with DDR4-3600 (the PNY kit I recently wrote about). I probably don’t have to tell you that DDR4-3600 has become something of an unofficial standard among enthusiasts (feel free to tell me about your DDR4-3200 config in the comments), and with prices as low as they are these days for DDR4 kits I don’t see any good reason not to use the faster memory – especially considering 3600 MT/s RAM just works with any Ryzen 5000 product I’ve tested it with (including this one).
In short, any GPU comparison testing is from our standard AMD Ryzen testbed, which features a Ryzen 7 5800X, running with an 1800 MHz FCLK thanks to DDR4-3600 memory, on an ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII HERO (Wi-Fi) motherboard, BIOS 3703. The Ryzen 7 5700G was configured with the same 1800 MHz FCLK, a 16 GB kit of DDR4-3600, and plugged into an ASUS ROG Strix B550-F GAMING (Wi-Fi) motherboard, BIOS 2604.
First, a couple of standard 3DMark tests:
Things tighten up a bit at the bottom of the chart in Time Spy, a 2560×1440 test, but it’s not a pretty picture overall. A GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is pretty old at this point, and is quite a bit faster. But the 1050 Ti pales in comparison to AMD’s Radeon RX 6500 XT. Wow. I did test the discrete GPUs in our standard Ryzen 7 5800X system, and that is a significantly faster CPU, but I am only showing the GPU score here.
Now for two very sad little charts:
These are but two games, and in Cyberpunk 2077 the Vega 8 graphics were better than expected, but still. No more of this. I would have at least like to have tested a Radeon RX 6400 to make this somewhat interesting, but alas.
No matter how you test it, the Vega graphics in the Ryzen 7 5700G are not fast. If you are stuck paying the full $359 USD price for this APU I would strongly recommend a $199 Radeon RX 6500 XT plus any CPU you like with the remaining $160, instead. If you can get one for $249 – $269, then maybe it makes sense.
But this is just the 3D gaming perspective. The CPU is pretty good, and here are a handful of sad little charts to demonstrate this:
Performance isn’t too far off the other Ryzen 7 CPUs tested, but without a desktop Ryzen 7 5700X (and perhaps a Ryzen 5 5600X) this isn’t very useful info. Maybe we can salvage this CPU performance section somewhat. Remember that question about discrete GPU performance with this APU? Will it hold you back when you eventually upgrade to a fast graphics card?
To demonstrate CPU scaling I selected our trusty NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FE card, and compared the AMD Ryzen 7 CPUs with the same two games as earlier:
Clearly, the combination of lower clocks and less L3 cache is not helping the Ryzen 7 5700G in discrete gaming with a fast GPU. I also considered the APU’s PCIe 3.0 limitation, though this is a x16 card so it should be pretty minimal.
For productivity and light (and I mean very light) gaming, the Ryzen 7 5700G is fine. It’s not exciting, it’s not RDNA 2, but it works. But I’ll say this again, because I think it’s worth repeating: at its $359 list price the Ryzen 7 5700G doesn’t make any sense for gaming when you can buy the much faster RX 6500 XT at $199, and pair that with a halfway decent CPU (one example is a Core i5-11400F at $149, and a Ryzen 5 5600 isn’t much more), and be spending about the same amount, in total.
Consider this: the Ryzen 5 3400G launched over two years ago at $149, and offered Vega 11 graphics (as in 11 CUs; 3 more than the Vega 8 found in the 5700G). This Ryzen 7 5700G provides very good CPU cores, of course, and the the GPU clocks are a lot higher now, but it’s still Vega 8. VEGA. What more is there to say? Well, probably a lot but this is a “mini-review” so I’ll stop now.
This is what we consider the responsible disclosure of our review policies and procedures.
How Product Was Obtained
The product was purchased by the author for the purpose of this review.
AMD had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
PC Perspective Compensation
Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by AMD for this review.
AMD has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.
If this article contains affiliate links to online retailers, PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.