On January 9th news emerged from CES 2024 that AMD officially launched their new Ryzen 8000G “Phoenix” APU series for desktop PCs, introducing a built-in GPU supporting 1080p graphics for the first time to the platform. Moreover, two flagship processors in the Ryzen 8000G series also debuted with high-performance Neural Processing Units (NPUs), marking the arrival of AI capabilities in desktop processors and aiming to secure a notable place among the best CPUs for gaming.
AMD combines this “XDNA” AI accelerator with the robust Zen 4 CPU microarchitecture and the RDNA 3 graphics engine to form the flagship model. Additionally, two more affordable models complete the stack, providing budget-friendly solutions for entry-level gaming and compact builds using Zen 4c cores. The new chips are set to hit the market on January 31st.
AMD’s previous generation, the Ryzen 5000G series, launched in 2021 for the AM4 platform, set a high bar for entry-level gaming systems and faced little competition from Intel’s offerings at the time. The new 65W APU series from AMD is expected to widen its lead with updated, faster architectures and higher clock speeds.
Among them, the flagship Ryzen 7 8700G, priced at $329, features 8 cores and 16 threads based on the Zen4 core architecture, with base and boost clock speeds at 4.2GHz and 5.1GHz respectively, a 65W TDP, and a Radeon 780M integrated GPU.
The Ryzen 5 8600G, priced at $229, offers 6 cores and 12 threads, also based on Zen4 cores, with base and boost clock speeds at 4.3GHz and 5.0GHz respectively, a 65W TDP, and sports a Radeon 760M graphics card. Notably, these chips are priced $30 less than the previous generation’s equivalents.
It’s worth mentioning that the Ryzen 7 8700G and Ryzen 5 8600G incorporate an AI-accelerating XDNA NPU running at 1.6 GHz, which is 60% faster than the NPU in the Ryzen 7040 mobile series. Despite their official “Phoenix” codename, they include improvements from the Hawk Point design. The XDNA engine delivers around 39 TOPS of performance, similar to its mobile counterpart, but may perform slightly better on certain workloads due to higher PC power thresholds. However, the Ryzen 5 8500G and the Ryzen 3 8300G do not come with the XNDA AI engine, and consequently, their packaging lacks the Ryzen AI badge.
The 6 core 12 thread Ryzen 5 8500G, with a price tag of $179, is based on a combination of two Zen4 cores and four Zen 4C cores, with Zen4 core clock speeds at 4.1GHz base and 5.0GHz boost, and Zen4C core speeds at 3.2GHz base and 3.7GHz boost. This chip is equipped with a less powerful 740M GPU, offering a more accessible entry-level option.
AMD also offers the Ryzen 3 8300G with one Zen 4 core and three Zen 4C cores, but this is limited to OEM customers, making it unavailable for purchase in official retail stores.
Surprisingly, despite adding Zen 4c cores, both the Ryzen 5 8500G and the Ryzen 3 8300G maintain a 65W TDP.
The new APUs share the same fundamental design as AMD’s mobile Ryzen 8040 series, but the chips have been fitted into a socketed package and optimized for the higher power levels provided by desktop computers. Compared to older models, this optimization boosts CPU clock speeds across the entire stack, reaching peak speeds of 5.1 GHz.
AMD’s new product line employs the Phoenix architecture but introduces some features from the newer Hawk Point models, like a faster XDNA engine, making them somewhat of a crossbreed between the two designs.
The AM5 platform also offers modern amenities that the previous generation APUs lacked, such as DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support. The biggest change from the Ryzen 5000G series is support for DDR5-5600, a significant step from the previous generation that only supported DDR4-3200. Higher DDR5 bandwidth will help unleash more performance from the integrated graphics. These chips also support PCIe 5.0, a huge leap from PCIe 3.0 in the previous generation of APUs. Notably, AMD’s newest mobile versions have essentially the same design but only support PCIe 4.0.
All three retail 8000G chips come with bundled coolers: the Ryzen 7 8700G includes the renowned Wraith Spire, while the 8600G and 8500G come with the Wraith Stealth.
Overall, the AMD Ryzen 8000G series represents a significant increase in CPU clock speeds compared to its predecessors. The AMD Ryzen 7 8700G has seen remarkable improvements over its predecessor, with the peak clock speed jumping from 4.6 GHz to 5.1 GHz, and the L3 cache receiving an increase from 16MB to 24MB. Overall, AMD is offering more cache and higher clock speeds across its entire product range. Moreover, the Ryzen 8000G series boasts significant integrated GPU (iGPU) performance advancements, thanks to its upgrade to the RDNA 3 architecture. This architecture includes more GPU cores (up to 12 Compute Units) and increased GPU clock speeds up to 900 MHz, propelling an impressive boost in gaming performance.
AMD claims that their Ryzen 8000G series can handle most 1080p AAA-grade games, albeit with fidelity settings reduced. These chips are not intended to compete with or replace dedicated GPUs, but they do promise unparalleled iGPU performance for desktop use. For those who wish to upgrade, adding a separate GPU is also an option. Supporting several new AMD features such as Hyper-X and Fluid Motion Frames, these chips are designed for advanced user experiences.
Benchmarking results from AMD for a variety of games show impressive peak frame rates. Titles such as “Hitman 3,” “Borderlands 3,” and “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” easily exceed 60 FPS. In lighter esports games, like “DOTA 2” and “League of Legends,” frame rates can surpass 150 FPS, with “World of Tanks Encore” achieving over 500 FPS. Despite these tests running at lower fidelity settings suited for such processors, the Ryzen 8000G series illustrates its capability to deliver impressive performance in many gaming scenarios.
Comparative benchmarks with Intel’s Core i9 and i7 processors featuring the UHD 770 graphics demonstrate Ryzen’s superiority in gaming performance. The Ryzen 7 8700G and Ryzen 5 8600G offer up to 4 times and 3.4 times the performance, respectively, which isn’t surprising given Intel’s iGPU’s known deficiencies in gaming.
In this price range, some enthusiasts may opt for lower-end CPUs like the Intel Core i5-14000F and pair them with budget GPUs. As indicated by these results, AMD claims that the performance of their Ryzen 7 8700G significantly exceeds such combinations, while also being more cost-effective.
AMD introduced a series of benchmarks highlighting the combined potential of its 700M series GPUs with enabled HYPR-RX and Fluid Motion Frames features, which make previously unplayable games like “Star Wars Jedi: Survivor” and “Starcraft” playable with acceptable performance.
No lineup would be complete without productivity tests. The Ryzen 7 8700G effortlessly surpasses the Intel CPU + Nvidia GPU combination in various common applications, such as 7-zip, Handbrake, and Lame, as shown above.
The AMD Ryzen 8000G series introduces a groundbreaking built-in AI acceleration engine to desktop computers, opening up new possibilities. There are over 100 AI-accelerated applications on the market, and users can also combine local AI models with the XDNA NPU. While deploying local AI models offers performance, security, cost, and efficiency benefits, it can be a daunting task.
AMD’s new Ryzen AI software suite is designed to simplify this process, allowing enthusiasts and developers to deploy pre-trained AI models on their chips with just one click. Users can select machine learning models trained on frameworks like PyTorch or TensorFlow and use AMD’s Vitis AI Quantizer to quantify the model into ONNX format. Afterward, the software partitions and compiles the model to run on the Ryzen NPU. The Ryzen AI software is now freely available, and AMD also offers a zoo of pre-optimized models on Hugging Face. AMD’s latest chips also look set to make massive strides in both gaming and productivity application performance, while bringing their APU lineup up to current standards with support for AM5’s DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 connections. Coupled with competitive pricing and included cooling solutions for all three models, these chips might be highly popular when they hit the market on January 31.