When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Best APU for Gaming (AMD, Budget, Intel)

Let’s take a look at What is the most powerful APU for gaming.

For budget-conscious gamers looking to build an affordable but capable gaming rig, utilizing one of the latest APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) with powerful integrated graphics is an excellent option that eliminates the need for a separate graphics card.

AMD is currently leading the way with their Ryzen-based APUs that integrate Zen CPU cores with Radeon Vega or RDNA-based GPUs, providing impressive 1080p gaming performance in a single chip.

When selecting an APU for gaming, you’ll want to evaluate the processor’s CPU muscle and graphical prowess. Models with at least 4 physical CPU cores and simultaneous multi-threading will provide solid multitasking responsiveness to match the GPU power.

For the graphics designing, aim for an APU with at least Radeon Vega 8 or newer RDNA Radeon graphics. These integrated GPUs can handle popular esports titles and moderately demanding AAA games smoothly at Full HD resolution and medium to high settings.

Other factors like CPU overclockability, thermals, memory support, upgradability, platform features, and overall value should be weighed as well. Paying more for the most powerful APUs may not be necessary if you just want great 1080p gaming for a cheap build.

With the right components and configuration, a budget APU gaming rig can deliver remarkable performance that competes with entry-level discrete GPUs for a fraction of the cost. Carefully comparing benchmarks and reviews is key to sorting out the best options.

Below are the recommended Best APU for Gaming (AMD, Budget, Intel)

  1. AMD Ryzen 7 5700G : Overall Best APU for Gaming
  2. AMD Ryzen 5 5600G : Best APU Processor
  3. AMD Ryzen 5 3400G : Best AMD APU for Gaming
  4. AMD Ryzen 5 2400G : Best Budget APU for Gaming
  5. AMD Ryzen 3 3200G : Cheapest AMD APU

Overall Best APU for Gaming : AMD Ryzen 7 5700G

AMD Ryzen 7 5700G

Pros:

  • Smooth 60+ fps gaming in esports and AAA titles
  • Great multitasking and productivity
  • Unlocked for overclocking
  • Lower cost than CPU + discrete GPU
  • Quiet and cool operation

Cons:

  • Still lags behind mid-range discrete GPUs
  • Prone to RAM speed bottlenecking

The AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is currently the top APU on the market for gaming without a dedicated graphics card. With its 8 Zen 3 cores and 16 threads along with the integrated Radeon Vega graphics, this APU provides excellent 1080p gaming performance rivaling some lower-end discrete GPUs.

Powered by the latest Zen 3 CPU architecture with 8 cores and 16 threads, along with the upgraded Radeon Vega graphics, the Ryzen 7 5700G blows away previous integrated graphics solutions. It can handle esports titles like Valorant and Rocket League flawlessly at 1080p high settings, usually averaging over 100fps. Even more demanding games like GTA V and Horizon Zero Dawn become very playable at 40-60fps on medium settings at full HD resolution.

Comparing the 5700G to a budget discrete GPU like the GTX 1650 shows remarkably similar gaming performance. The monolithic APU design even leads to lower latency with graphics calls not needing to go over the PCIe bus. Overclocking can push the Vega GPU even further with some tunings matching the GTX 1650 Super.

Outside of gaming, the productivity performance from the 8 core Zen 3 CPU is fantastic, keeping up with Ryzen 5600X for non-gaming tasks. The 65W TDP keeps power draw very reasonable, though the boxed Wraith Stealth cooler can run loud when pushed hard.

For under $300, the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G is simply unbeatable, providing integrated graphics on par with an entry-level discrete card.

2. AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

Pros:

  • Great 1080p gaming
  • Excellent single thread and gaming performance
  • Low 65W TDP for cool and efficient operation

Cons:

  • Needs fast DDR4-3200 RAM

I’ve picked up the Ryzen 5 5600G as the Best APU Processor to build a new budget gaming PC and I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty impressed with what AMD has pulled off with this APU processor.

Now I know integrated graphics aren’t usually amazing, but the Radeon graphics on this 6 core, 12 thread 5600G really do deliver smooth 1080p gaming without needing a separate GPU. I was able to play Rocket League on high settings at a solid 60 fps no problem, which is just crazy from an integrated chip!

Obviously this isn’t going to compete with a high-end gaming rig, but for the cost this APU provides awesome value. You can build a capable 1080p gaming PC for under $600 with the 5600G that will handle all the latest titles at very fair graphics settings. Adding in a budget GPU later on is also a great upgrade path.

The 65 watt TDP means the 5600G runs nice and cool too – the included Wraith Stealth cooler easily keeps it under 70C even under load. Quiet operation is a major plus as well. Oh, and did I mention it’s unlocked for overclocking? You can push this APU pretty far if you want to get extra performance.

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is hands down the best APU processor currently available thanks to its excellent integrated graphics combined with the power of its Zen 3 CPU cores. If you’re looking for an affordable but capable gaming PC, this APU is a stellar option I highly recommend.

Know more:

3. AMD Ryzen 5 3400G

AMD Ryzen 5 3400G

Pros:

  • Proven architecture
  • Very affordable cost
  • Cool and quiet Wraith
  • Decent light gaming

Cons:

  • Lacks power for AAA gaming at high settings
  • Older Zen+ CPU weaker than latest Zen 3

The last generation Ryzen 5 3400G still holds up as a solid gaming APU thanks to its 4 Zen+ cores and Vega 11 graphics. It delivers smooth 1080p gameplay in esports and less demanding titles.

This APU features four Zen+ CPU cores with simultaneous multi-threading for eight total processing threads. While not hugely powerful on the CPU side, the four cores are sufficient for smooth gaming and moderate multitasking.

Where the 3400G really shines is its integrated Radeon RX Vega 11 graphics. Vega 11 packs impressive graphical muscle into the APU design, providing performance nearing some entry-level discrete GPUs. It can handle popular esports titles like Fortnite and Rocket League at 60fps+ on high settings at 1080p. Even more demanding games are very playable at 30-60fps on medium settings.

The 65W TDP ensures efficient power consumption from the APU while the included Wraith Spire cooler keeps it running reliably at peak loads without overheating. AMD has also left the 3400G unlocked for overclocking, allowing enthusiasts to squeeze even more performance through increasing the GPU and CPU frequencies.

All in all, the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G hits a sweet spot for budget PC gamers looking for capable integrated graphics performance without the cost of a dedicated GPU. It delivers smooth 1080p gaming in anything outside of the most intensive modern titles. For under $150, this APU’s gaming capabilities make it a standout choice.

4. AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable cost
  • Decent esports gaming performance
  • Good value for light gaming rigs
  • Upgradeable socket AM4 platform

Cons:

  • Older Zen+ architecture
  • Shows its age in demanding games
  • Noisy Wraith Stealth cooler

If your budget is very tight, the Ryzen 5 2400G remains a viable low-cost APU for gaming on a budget. It packs 4 Zen cores and Vega 11 graphics capable of simple gameplay.

The Ryzen 5 2400G utilizes its integrated Radeon RX Vega 11 graphics to deliver smooth 1080p gaming performance in esports titles and less demanding games, making it an excellent budget APU for gaming.

In games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, and CounterStrike, the Vega 11 graphics consistently push over 60fps on high settings at full HD resolution. More intensive but still moderately demanding games like GTA V and Fortnite can achieve very playable framerates between 30-60fps on a mix of medium and high settings.

The Ryzen 5 2400G’s quad core Zen CPU isn’t incredibly powerful but provides enough multitasking capability to avoid bottlenecking the Vega 11 graphics in most titles. The CPU can reach up to 3.9GHz boost speeds. AMD has left the chip unlocked for overclocking as well, allowing budget users to squeeze out a bit more gaming performance when needed.

Operating under a 65W TDP, the included Wraith Stealth cooler is able to control temperatures effectively even under gaming loads. The 2400G is also compatible with AMD technologies like FreeSync for smooth variable refresh rate gaming.

For its low cost, the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G manages to provide a surprisingly competent 1080p gaming experience in all but the most graphics intensive modern games. It’s a great starting point for budget gamers looking to build an affordable yet capable gaming rig.

5. AMD Ryzen 3 3200G

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G

Pros:

  • Very low cost
  • Capable of esports gaming
  • Quiet Wraith Stealth cooler
  • Good for extremely budget builds

Cons:

  • Weak overall performance
  • Struggles in demanding titles
  • Older Zen+ architecture

As AMD’s most affordable Ryzen APU, the Ryzen 3 3200G provides just enough GPU and High CPU performance for basic gaming and general use in an ultra-budget friendly package.

The included Radeon Vega 8 graphics have just enough muscle for smooth gameplay in esports titles like League of Legends, CS:GO, and DOTA 2 at 1080p resolution with medium to high settings. More demanding games will require reduced settings but remain playable.

The quad core Zen+ CPU isn’t powerful but can handle everyday multitasking and light productivity workloads. It also provides enough processing capacity to avoid bottlenecking the Vega 8 graphics. The CPU can reach up to 4GHz boost clock speeds.

Operating at just 65 watts TDP, the Ryzen 3 3200G remains cool and efficient. The included Wraith Stealth cooler keeps noise levels low during gaming sessions or intensive workloads. AMD has also left the 3200G unlocked for overclocking to squeeze out a bit more performance.

Overall, while not a powerhouse the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G APU provides enough integrated graphics prowess for budget esports gaming and general use in an inexpensive package. It’s a great option for building a cheap gaming PC on a tight budget.

How to choose the Good APU for Gaming

Here are some key factors to consider when buying an APU for gaming:

  • CPU Cores and Threads – More CPU cores and threads will provide better parallel processing performance for gaming and multitasking. Aim for at least 4 cores and 8 threads.
  • Graphics Architecture – Newer graphics architectures like AMD Vega and RDNA provide better gaming performance over older designs. Discrete-level GPUs integrated into APUs are ideal.
  • Resolution and Settings – The target resolution and graphic settings in games should match the APU’s capabilities. 1080p medium/high is reasonable, but 4K ultra is too demanding.
  • Overclocking – Unlocked APUs allow overclocking the CPU and iGPU for extra gaming performance. This adds value if utilized.
  • Thermals – The APU’s cooling solution and thermal design power (TDP) should provide adequate cooling during gaming sessions and peak loads. Low noise is also desirable.
  • Memory Support – Faster memory improves APU gaming performance. At least DDR4-3000 is recommended, 3200MHz or higher is ideal.
  • Motherboard Features – Motherboards with features like PCIe 4.0 support, overclocking capabilities, and quality power delivery provide more headroom.
  • Upgrade Path – Pick an APU and socket type that allows upgrading to a more powerful APU or discrete GPU in the future.
  • Budget – Balance performance with the budget. The most expensive APUs aren’t necessary for 1080p gaming. Go for the best value.
  • Benchmark Reviews – Check benchmarks from reputable sources to verify real-world gaming performance before buying.

Conclusion

When all factors are considered, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G currently stands out as the best overall APU for gaming. It strikes the ideal balance of price and performance.

With its 6-core/12-thread Zen 3 CPU and Radeon Vega integrated graphics, the Ryzen 5 5600G provides excellent 1080p gaming performance on par with some lower-end discrete GPUs. It handles esports titles flawlessly while also tackling AAA games at medium to high settings with very playable framerates. The monolithic chip design even reduces latency.

Outside of gaming, the Ryzen 5600G delivers solid productivity from its latest generation Zen 3 cores. The 65W TDP ensures cool and efficient operation as well, even under demanding gaming loads. Overclocking headroom gives enthusiasts some extra flexibility in pushing the built-in Radeon graphics further.

For budget-focused gamers who want to avoid the high cost of a discrete graphics card, the Ryzen 5 5600G is hands-down the best integrated graphics solution available. It outshines comparable Intel CPUs with integrated graphics by a wide margin for gaming. With the Ryzen 5 5600G at the heart of a budget gaming build, you can reliably enjoy smooth 1080p gaming without the need for a separate GPU.

FAQs

What is the most powerful APU for gaming?

The most powerful APU currently available for gaming is the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G. It features 8 Zen 3 CPU cores and integrated Radeon graphics based on AMD’s Vega architecture. The Ryzen 7 5700G provides gaming performance approaching entry-level discrete GPUs like the GTX 1650, making it excellent for 1080p gaming without a separate graphics card.

Is APU good for gaming?

APUs can provide decent integrated graphics gaming performance, especially in less demanding esports titles and AAA games run at lower resolutions/settings. APUs allow building budget gaming PCs without needing a discrete GPU. However, they are ultimately limited compared to having a dedicated GPU, as the most powerful APU graphics still lag behind mid-range and high-end discrete GPUs.

What is the best APU right now?

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is considered the best APU currently. It delivers excellent integrated graphics rivaling the GTX 1650 through its Zen 3 CPU cores and Radeon graphics. The Ryzen 5 5600G hits a sweet spot between price, CPU performance, and integrated graphics capabilities for 1080p gaming.

Is APU better than IGPU?

Yes, APUs are better than standard integrated GPUs (IGPUs) thanks to the closer coupling of the CPU and GPU on a single chip. APUs like AMD Ryzen models with Radeon graphics provide more powerful graphical performance vs Intel CPUs with integrated Intel HD or UHD graphics. APUs bridge the gap between IGPUs and entry-level discrete GPUs.

Author

    by
  • Dave James

    Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.

    View all posts

Leave a Comment