Why The Ryzen 5 8600G Is A Game Changer For APUs

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At $229, the Ryzen 5 8600G stands as the most appealing options out of the Phoenix-based desktop APUs; find out why.

Story Highlight
  • The Ryzen 5 8600G packs the most powerful integrated graphics in a CPU today (after the Ryzen 7 8700G), offering an acceptable 1080P gaming experience.
  • Its price point makes it the most attractive of the various Zen 4 desktop APUs launched by AMD.
  • The included Ryzen AI NPU, the first of its class to be found in a desktop CPU, greatly improves speeds in AI workloads.

AMD has stepped into the market with yet another lineup of APUs, utilizing the Phoenix architecture that we saw in the mobile Ryzen 7000 series APUs. The center of attention in the lineup has turned out to be the Ryzen 5 8600G, which, comes in with a $229 price tag and uses full-power Zen 4 cores.

Now, the thing about APUs is that there’s only so much graphics power that can be packed inside them. As such, we have hardly seen more than a few of them that actually stand out with acceptable performance. The Ryzen 5 8600G is a step forward in the right direction though; here’s why I think so:

An Intro To The Ryzen 5 8600G: Zen 4 But Not Ryzen 7000

Ryzen 5 8600G
The Ryzen 5 8600G (Image Credits: servethehome)

The Ryzen 8600G utilizes the same Zen 4 architecture as the Ryzen 7000 CPUs but is based on the more efficient 4nm node from TSMC, instead of the 5nm. Another difference lies in the PCIe support: there is no PCIe 5.0 support, and the number of lanes shrunk to 16, but the PCIe 4.0 x8 offered is still enough for any modern full-power GPU.

It manages to retain 6 cores of full-power Zen 4 with 12 threads. With a base frequency of 4.3GHz, it can boost up to 5GHz. Compared to its desktop counterpart, the L3 cache count is trimmed to 16MB.

For the iGPU front, it packs the RDNA 3-based Radeon 760M chip, with 8 Compute Units, with a frequency of 2800MHz. It also includes a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for faster speeds in AI workloads. 

Why The Ryzen 5 8600G Is A Game Changer For APUs

In AMD’s keynotes, they advertised the Ryzen 5 8600G’s performance as adequate for “smooth full-HD gaming in small form factors.” 

Ryzen 5 8600G and Ryzen 7 8700G performance
Ryzen 5 8600G and Ryzen 7 8700G performance (Image Credits: videocardz / AMD)

I’ll be looking at some of the performance tests conducted on the CPU to really bring its performance to light, and highlight why it’s a game-changer for APUs.

The 700M Are The Best Integrated Graphics In A CPU Today

The 8000G APUs stand absolutely clear of the iGPUs offered by even the most powerful 14th-generation Intel CPUs and can provide a stable 1080P gaming experience despite the small size.

Ryzen 5 8600G vs various GPUs in CS2
Ryzen 5 8600G vs various GPUs in CS2 (Image Credits: Tech YES City)

Benchmarks from YouTuber Tech YES City compare the Ryzen 5 8600G to the i7-14700K’s iGPU, which leaves the Meteor Lake chip in the dust in every title.

AMD FSR Is Up And Better Than Ever

FSR on vs off Forspoken
FSR 3 Frame-generation on vs off in Forspoken (Image Credits: 24 FPS)

AMD’s performance graphs were presented with FSR being used in every title, which is okay considering just how good it really is: it provides significant FPS uplifts with almost no noticeable loss in quality. So, the Radeon 760M graphics packed inside the 8600G may not be adequate for 1080P 60 FPS without FSR, but it gets close to that mark with it, even crossing it in some titles.

The Performance, For God’s Sake!

Again, I reiterate that you can’t expect groundbreaking gaming performance from APUs as there’s just not enough room to fit all that graphics power in there. And, if you have your expectations in place, you’ll be very happy with the 8600G. 

Cyberpunk 2077 Ryzen 5 8500G vs 8600G vs Ryzen 7 8700G
The R5 8600G nearly manages a solid 60 FPS in Cyberpunk 2077! (Image Credits: Christo Gevedjov)

Benchmarks from YouTuber Christo Gevedjov show that the Ryzen 5 8600G holds up quite well at 1080P low preset with a bit of FSR into the mix, managing a 40+ FPS average in every title except Starfield and Alan Wake. These benchmarks included the very best AAA titles offered today, including Cyberpunk 2077, in which the 8600G nearly managed a 60 FPS average (1080P low, FSR: Balanced).

Power Savings

The power efficiency offered by AMD’s APUs in general is impressive, and the Ryzen 5 8600G is no different. It comes with a modest 65W TDP, the same as the Ryzen 5 7600. On the other hand, even the most entry-level GPU from AMD (the RX 6400) is rated at 53W while the RX 6500 XT doubles that to 107W.

A Solid Upgrade Path Awaits!

MSI B650M Project Zero motherboard
MSI B650M Project Zero AM5 motherboard (Image by Tech4Gamers)

For me, the most appealing aspect of these APUs is that you get the latest AM5 platform without needing a dedicated GPU for display, at an affordable price, while actually getting acceptable 720P/1080P gaming performance. You can upgrade to a dedicated GPU any time thanks to the PCIe 4 x8 configuration offered.

The Bottom Line

Time and again, AMD has impressed with its lineup of APUs, and the Ryzen 5 8600G is another welcome addition to that lineup. With the best-integrated graphics seen in desktop CPUs so far, it stands as an appealing option to those looking to build a compact PC with acceptable gaming performance, those who seek power efficiency, and the ones who want to get on to the AM5 platform, for now, to upgrade later. I would have liked to see a slightly lower price tag, though.

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