AMD Ryzen 3400G – perfect for gaming on a budget

If you’re new to gaming then AMD’s processor products can be confusing. Where Intel puts integrated graphics on all of its mainstream processors, AMD does it differently. They’ve designed one processor with graphics and one without.

The Ryzen 5 3400G is the latter option.  It’s one of AMD’s APUs (Accelerated Processing Unit) which includes both Ryzen CPU (central processing unit) cores and Vega GPU (graphics processing unit) cores. The result is a quad-core processor with the best integrated graphics on a desktop chip currently on the market.

But why would you want one of these? If you’re building a gaming PC, even a budget one, surely you need a graphics card, right?  Wrong. We’re here to tell you that if you’re looking for your entry into the PC gaming space at a budget level, you’ve found it right here.

We’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on the product and here’s what we think:

AMD Ryzen 3400G pros

  • Quad-core with hyperthreading
  • Incredible integrated graphics performance
  • Unlocked CPU and GPU cores
  • Impressive stock cooler
  • Efficient and cool-running

AMD Ryzen 3400G cons

  • Not based on Zen 2 or Navi
  • Previous gen 2400G pricing is more attractive
  • Stock settings push voltage pretty high

We’re giving it a WS rating of 4 out of 5 stars! That’s pretty good going.

Here’s what you get for your money

Despite being a 3000 series APU, this product isn’t based on AMD’s Zen 2 7nm architecture found in the Ryzen 3000 CPU lineup. With a low price point that’s perhaps not a big disappointment, but it’s worth noting because it might be a surprise to unsuspecting customers.

Instead, the 3400G is based on the previous generation Zen+ 12nm architecture, found on the likes of the Ryzen 5 2600. The integrated GPU hasn’t been updated either. However, you still get the same 11 Vega GPU cores and performance like you wouldn’t imagine an iGPU could deliver!

Despite being a budget chip, both the CPU and GPU cores are unlocked, allowing you to squeeze some extra performance from the 3400G if you wanted to.

So, the hardware is pretty impressive if not entirely surprising. The 65W TDP may feel a little high considering the Ryzen 7 3700X has exactly the same stat, but that’s to be expected from the older architecture. We were pleased to see that the 3400G runs cool and quiet. When we tested it, it would sit between 30-35C and under maximum load never exceeded 75C. If you’re OK with spending some time adjusting the system, we reckon you can bring that down quite a bit.

Ryzen 3400G and gaming

Let’s take a quick look at how the 3400G stacks up to other CPUs when comparing gaming performance without a GPU limitation.

At 1080p it’s faster than the Core i5-7600K and not a great deal slower than the 6-core/12-thread R5 1600, moreover it provided an 11% boost over the 2400G. The 3400G is even more competitive at 1440p, situating itself between the R5 1600 and 1600X, not bad for budget processor!

Here’s how it performed with just pure CPU power when we gave it a quick spin:

  • Battlefield V: the 3400G mimicked the 1% low performance of the Core i7-7700K while the average was only slightly down on the R5 1600. This time the 3400G was up to 10% faster than the 2400G.
  • The Division 2: here the 3400G offers a 7% performance increase over the 2400G while trailing the R5 1600 by a 10% margin. The 3400G is still 8% faster than the 2400G at 1440p, but now it’s able to close in on the 1% low performance of the R5 1600 and 1600X.
  • Far Cry New Dawn: We saw a pretty impressive result in Far Cry. We thought a 17% performance uplift over the 2400G was a mistake, it’s not! The improved cache and memory latency of the Zen+ architecture gives the 3400G a big advantage in Far Cry New Dawn, enough to match the R5 1600X. The margin comes down a little at 1440p, but even so the 3400G was still 12% faster than the 2400G and once again matched the R5 1600X.

And here are the results using the CPU & iGPU together:

  • F1 2019 – 1080p, medium settings – 62 FPS average
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider (DX12) – 720p, medium settings (no shadows) – 58 FPS average
  • Deus Ex Mankind Divided – 720p, low settings
  • Forza Horizon 4 – 1080p, low settings – 53 FPS average
  • Wolfenstein 2 – 720p, low settings – 60FPS lock
  • Dirt Rally – 1080p, high settings – 59.8 FPS average

We found you can certainly play the popular Battle Royale titles, although you’ll have to make sacrifices. PUBG at 1080p with a 75% render scale on low graphics settings yields FPS between 40-60 depending on the map and the situation.

Fortnite and Apex Legends are also perfectly playable. Additionally, a score of 3,682 was created in 3DMark Fire Strike, with a graphics score of 4,142. That’s pretty decent if you ask us.

So, in conclusion

For gaming on a budget, it’s absolutely worth the investment. It’s an incredible value product with stunning performance, in particular from its integrated GPU.

You could spend a similar amount on a regular Ryzen chip or something from Intel, and you’d need a graphics card if you want to have any form of acceptable gaming experience. Even if you don’t plan on gaming much, it’s still a great buy, and since it’s on the AM4 platform you have a path that’s easy to upgrade.

The timing of the 3400G coming to market is probably the biggest thing against it. The GPU cores while impressive, aren’t a massive step up over last year’s 2400G, neither are the CPU cores.

But ignoring outside factors and treating the 3400G for what it is, it’s a fantastic product. It proves you can game on a tight budget and have a good time. Plus, if you save up for a graphics card, you’ve still got a strong CPU to add it to further down the line. Whether you want a budget gaming rig, a small-form factor PC or basically anything in between, the 3400G is a smart choice to make!

Are you in the market for a budget processor like the 3400G? Check out our selection here.

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