New AMD chip takes on Intel with better graphics

Nearly a full year after the company started revamping its entire processor lineup to catch up with Intel, AMD has finally released a chip that can address one of the largest available markets. Processors with integrated graphics ship in the majority of PCs and notebooks around the world, but the company’s first Ryzen processors released in 2017 did not include graphics technology.

Information from Jon Peddie Research indicates that 267 million units of processors with integrated or embedded graphics technology were shipped in Q3 2017 alone. The new AMD part that goes on sale today in systems and the retail channel allows AMD an attempt to cut into Intel’s significant market leadership in this segment, replacing a nearly 2-year-old product.

Today AMD stands at just 5% market share in the desktop PC space with integrated graphics processors, a number that AMD CEO Lisa Su believes can grow with this newest Ryzen CPU.

Early reviews indicate that the AMD integrated graphics chips are vastly superior to the Intel counterparts when it comes to graphics and gaming workloads and are competitive in standard everyday computing tasks. Testing we ran that was published over at PC Perspective shows that when playing modern games at mainstream resolutions and settings (720p to 1080p depending on the specific title in question), the Ryzen 5 2400G is as much as 3x faster than the Core i5-8400 from Intel when using integrated processor graphics exclusively. This isn’t a minor performance delta and is the difference between having a system that is actually usable for gaming and one that isn’t.

The performance leadership in gaming means AMD processors are more likely to be used in mainstream and small form factor gaming PCs and should grab share in expanding markets.

China and India, both regions that are sensitive to cost, power consumption, and physical system size, will find the AMD Ryzen processor with the updated graphics chip on-board compelling. AMD offers much higher gaming performance using the same power and at a lower price. Intel systems that want to compete with the performance AMD’s new chip offers will need to add a separate graphics card from AMD or NVIDIA, increasing both cost and complexity of the design.

Though Intel is the obvious target of this new product release, NVIDIA and AMD (ironically) could also see impact as sales of low-cost discrete graphics chips won’t be necessary for systems that use the new AMD processor. This will only affect the very bottom of the consumer product stack though, leaving the high-end of the market alone, where NVIDIA enjoys much higher margins and market share.

The GT 1030 from NVIDIA and the Radeon RX 550 from AMD are both faster in gaming than the new Ryzen processor with integrated graphics, but the differences are in an area where consumers in this space are like to see it as a wash. Adding to the story is the fact that the Ryzen processor is cheaper, draws less power, and puts fewer requirements on the rest of the system (lower cost power supply, small chassis).

AMD’s biggest hurdle now might be to overcome the perception of integrated processor graphics and the stigma it has in the market. DIY consumers continue to believe that all integrated graphics is bad, a position made prominent by the lack of upgrades and improvements from Intel over the years. Users are going to need to see proof (from reviews and other users) to buy into the work that AMD has put into this product. Even system integrators and OEMs that often live off the additional profit margin of upgrades to base system builds (of which discrete graphics additions are a big part) will push back on the value that AMD provides.

AMD has built an excellent and unique processor for the mainstream consumer and enterprise markets that places the company in a fight that it been absent from for the last several generations. Success here will be measured not just by channel sales but also how much inroad it can make in the larger consumer and SMB pre-built space. Messaging and marketing the value of having vastly superior processor graphics is the hurdle leadership needs to tackle out the gate.

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Ryan Shrout

Ryan is the founder and lead analyst at Shrout Research, consulting and advising leaders in the mobile, graphics, processors and platforms. With more than 17 years of experience evaluating and analyzing hardware and technology as the owner of PC Perspective, Ryan has a breadth of knowledge in nearly all fields of hardware including CPUs, GPUs, SoC design, memory systems, storage, graphics, displays and their integration into smartphones, laptops, PCs and VR headsets. Ryan has worked with nearly every major technology giant and their product management teams including Intel, Qualcomm, AMD, NVIDIA, MediaTek, Dell, Lenovo, Huawei, HTC, Samsung, ASUS, Oculus, Microsoft and Adobe. With a focus on in-depth and real-world testing and with nearly two decades of hands-on experience, he focuses Shrout Research on bringing valuable insight on competitive analysis, consumer product expectations and real-world experience comparisons.

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