AMD Ryzen 5 8600G review — the new value iGPU gaming champion

The more amenable APU alternative.

AMD Ryzen 5 8600G
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

The Ryzen 5 8600G is a more affordable version of AMD's powerful APU family, bringing strong integrated GPU gaming performance to certain use cases, like SFF and passive builds. Memory and AM5 motherboard pricing, not to mention competition from CPU+GPU combos, muddy the waters, but this chip is a much better deal than its more expensive counterpart, the Ryzen 7 8700G.

Pros

  • +

    Best value APU on the market

  • +

    Passable 1080p, solid 720p gaming

  • +

    Hyper-RX support

  • +

    Bundled cooler

  • +

    Power efficiency

Cons

  • -

    Higher DDR5 pricing, no 8GB options

  • -

    AM5 motherboards remain pricey

  • -

    Some CPU+GPU combos are cheaper/faster

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AMD's $229 Ryzen 5 8600G "Phoenix" brings the company's latest Zen 4 and RDNA 3 architectures in a slimmed-down and more cost-efficient package than the flagship $329 eight-core 16-thread Ryzen 7 8700G. The six-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 8600G provides up to twice the performance of the prior-gen models in gaming workloads, and delivers limited 1080p-capable gaming and impressive 720p gaming that's fit for budget PC builds that don't have a discrete GPU. That blend of price and performance makes the 8600G the best value of AMD's new 8000G series of processors and earns it a spot on our list of the best CPUs for gaming.

AMD says the 8000G series can handle most AAA games at 1080p, but only at reduced fidelity settings, and we found several cases where that was true. However, these chips aren’t intended to compete directly with or replace discrete GPUs, but they do deliver unmatched iGPU performance for desktop PCs.

The new Ryzen 7 8600G jumps three GPU architecture generations forward from Vega to AMD's RDNA 3-powered Radeon 760M graphics with eight GPU cores on tap. It also supports new features, like AMD's Hyper-RX (aka HYPR-RX) suite, which includes Radeon Super Resolution (RSR) upscaling and AMD Fluid Motion Frames (AFMF) frame generation. These features could be game changers for the budget space, where limited GPU horsepower, low resolutions, and low fidelity settings are the typical fare. 

AMD also refreshed the CPU cores, moving from 12nm Zen 3 to the Zen 4 architecture fabbed on the much more efficient TSMC 4nm process, and moved from the aging AM4 platform with DDR4 memory to newer AM5 motherboards with DDR5 memory and more modern connectivity options.

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AMD Ryzen 8000G Series 65W Phoenix APUs
CPU
Arch.PriceCores/ Threads (Zen 4 + 4c)Base/ Boost Freq. (Zen 4 cores)Base/ Boost Freq. (Zen 4c cores)TDPL3 (MB)GPU / CoresGPU Freq. (MHz)
Ryzen 7 8700GZen 4$3298 / 164.2 / 5.1N/A65W24Radeon 780M - 12 CU2900
Ryzen 5 8600GZen 4$2296 / 124.3 / 5.0N/A65W22Radeon 760M - 8 CU2800
Ryzen 5 8500GZen 4 + Zen 4c$1796 / 12 (2 + 4)4.1 / 5.0 (3.5 GHz global base)3.2 / 3.765W22Radeon 740M - 4 CU2800
Ryzen 3 8300GZen 4 + Zen 4cOEM only4 / 8 (1 + 3)4.0 / 4.9 (3.4 GHz global base)3.2 / 3.665W12Radeon 740M - 4 CU2600

AMD splits the Ryzen 8000G series into two performance tiers with different architectures. The high-end eight-core 16-thread Ryzen 7 8700G and six-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 8600G are armed with full-featured Zen 4 cores and the Ryzen AI engine. In contrast, the lower-end Ryzen 5 8500G and Ryzen 3 8300G have a mix of standard Zen 4 cores and slower density-optimized Zen 4c cores and lack the Ryzen AI engine. You can learn more about the lower-end models in the Phoenix 2 section on this page.

The two new flagship Ryzen 8000G APUs processors are also the world’s first desktop CPUs with an integrated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) engine, dubbed Ryzen AI, to boost performance in AI workloads. While there aren't a lot of real-world uses for the engine yet, the NPU focuses on power efficiency over raw compute horsepower. That makes it a better fit for laptops than the desktop PC, where power isn't as much of a concern and other forms of computing, like the GPU, offer much more performance for AI work.

The Ryzen 5 8600G definitely doesn't have the sheer graphical horsepower of a discrete GPU, and it is about 10% slower than its higher-end counterpart, the Ryzen 7 8700G. However, it costs $100 (44%) less, which is a solid tradeoff for the loss of two CPU cores and four GPU cores. Besides, the lower pricing also makes it a bit easier to swallow the continued higher cost of DDR5 and AM5 motherboards that muddies the value proposition for low-end chips.

The 8600G does face stiff competition from systems built around Intel's Core i3, or lower-end Ryzen models, paired with discrete GPUs. So, while the Ryzen 5 8600G is a much better value than the 8700G, it's still a niche buy for those interested in building a high-performance system without a discrete graphics card, such as some SFF and passively cooled system builds. 

AMD Ryzen 5 8600G Specifications and Pricing

All 8000G APUs have a 65W TDP, but on a core-for-core basis, the Ryzen 7000 processors are still faster in pure CPU performance due to their higher L3 cache capacity. The Ryzen 5 8600G and 8500G come with the Wraith Stealth cooler, while the Ryzen 7 8700G comes with a bundled Wraith Spire cooler.

The Ryzen 8000G chips have a mobile pedigree; they are ported over from AMD's laptop lineup. We've covered the architectural components in our Ryzen 7 8700G review, so head there for more details.

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AMD Ryzen 8000G Series 65W Phoenix APUs
CPU
Arch.PriceCores/ Threads (Zen 4 + 4c)Base/ Boost Freq. (Zen 4 cores)Base/ Boost Freq. (Zen 4c cores)TDPL3 (MB)GPU / CoresGPU Freq. (MHz)
Ryzen 7 8700GZen 4$3298 / 164.2 / 5.1N/A65W24Radeon 780M - 12 CU2900
Ryzen 7 5700GZen 3$3598 / 163.8 / 4.6N/A65W16RX Vega 82000
Ryzen 5 8600GZen 4$2296 / 124.3 / 5.0N/A65W22Radeon 760M - 8 CU2800
Ryzen 5 5600GZen 3$2596 / 123.9 / 4.4N/A65W16RX Vega 71900
Ryzen 5 8500GZen 4 + Zen 4c$1796 / 12 (2 + 4)4.1 / 5.0 (3.5 GHz global base)3.2 / 3.765W22Radeon 740M - 4 CU2800
Ryzen 3 8300GZen 4 + Zen 4cOEM only4 / 8 (1 + 3)4.0 / 4.9 (3.4 GHz global base)3.2 / 3.665W12Radeon 740M - 4 CU2600
Ryzen 3 5300GZen 3OEM only4 / 84.0 / 4.2N/A65W8RX Vega 61700

The Ryzen 7 8700G and the Ryzen 5 5600G are built on the 'Phoenix' die with standard Zen 4 cores and the XDNA AI engine. The lower APUs, Ryzen 5 8500G and Ryzen 3 8300G, use 'Phoenix 2.'

The previous-gen 5000G series chips supported DDR4-3200 and dropped into the AM4 platform, forging a true budget system with cheap memory and a wide range of value boards. The value prop isn't quite as clear with Ryzen 8000G — you'll need an AM5 platform with at least DDR5-5200 memory, though DDR5-6000 is the sweet spot if you can shell out a bit more cash. AM5 motherboards still aren't as affordable as competing platforms, and DDR5 memory is still more expensive than DDR4. The Ryzen 8000G chips support 600-series chipsets. This class of chip is a natural pairing for the B650 chipset, but A620 is also attractive.

The Ryzen 5 8600G’s XDNA AI engine runs at 1.6 GHz and delivers roughly the same 16 TOPS of INT8 performance as the mobile variants. AMD says the higher-end Ryzen 7 87000G's CPU, GPU, and XDNA engines combine to deliver up to 39 TOPS of overall AI inference performance, but the 8600G's peak will be somewhat lower due to the lower CPU and GPU core counts.

The standard Ryzen 7000 desktop processors expose 24 usable PCIe 5.0 lanes, but the Ryzen 8700G and 8600G only expose 16 usable PCIe 4.0 lanes, which is a big step back on available bandwidth due to both fewer lanes and a reduction in PCIe interface speed. However, the x8 PCIe 4.0 connection to the CPU won't be a constraint with current GPUs. Besides, these chips aren't really meant to be used with a discrete GPU. The system has two x4 NVMe SSD connections available, which is sufficient connectivity for a lower-end platform.

The previous-gen Ryzen 5 5600G was the killer value APU because it provided up to 96% of the performance of the higher-end model, but there are differences between this generation. 

The previous-gen Ryzen 7 5700G and Ryzen 5 5600G come with Vega graphics with either seven or eight compute units (CUs). However, only one compute unit (CU) and 100 MHz separated the graphics engines on the prior-gen models. In contrast, the new Ryzen chips have a much larger gap, with the 8700G's Radeon 780M iGPU having 12 CU compared to the 8600G's Radeon 760M with eight CU. This resulted in a larger performance gap between the two models than we saw with the prior gen, but since memory bandwidth is the primary constraint for the iGPUs, overclocking the 5600G does help level the playing field, as you'll see on the following pages. 

Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • Notton
    Considering how the Core 5 135H is looking, I really wish AMD enabled the full 12CU from this chip.
    Reply
  • usertests
    APUs are screaming for more memory bandwidth, and the 8600G will look great if it hits the low prices seen for the 5600G along with other platform costs getting cheaper.
    Reply
  • baboma
    >The current-gen flagship APU, the Ryzen 7 8700G, is 10% faster than the 8600G, but it costs $100 (44%) more, making the 8600G the clear value winner for this generation of APUs.

    This is incorrect, because you do not use the APU by itself, but as a part of a system. The correct value calculation is to take the price delta of the entire system but with different APUs.

    Assuming a $1K SFF build, the $100 APU price diff would come out to ~10%, which is the same perf diff between 8700G and 8600G. AMD did its pricing homework. The value proposition is the same for both APUs.

    I agree both are niche, as their main appeal would be for small SFF (eg NUC), and in that space, mobile parts, eg MTL & AMD 780M parts, may have more functionality and be better value.


    >...the 8600G will look great if it hits the low prices seen for the 5600G along with other platform costs getting cheaper.

    That'll happen if you're willing to wait ~2 years until the 9600G's release.

    5600G pricing was very stable, staying close to its $259 launch price, and only gradually dropping after the 7000 series release on Sep'22.

    https://camelcamelcamel.com/product/B092L9GF5N
    Reply
  • jeremyj_83
    "Higher DDR5 pricing, no 8GB options"

    I am so tired of hearing about DDR5 pricing being a con. While it is more expensive, you won't have a choice for a new CPU in the Zen 5 or 15th Gen anyways. Not to mention due to the added bandwidth the 8600G averages 72% more iGPU performance at 1080p vs the 5600G. If you are looking at doing only iGPU gaming that added cost is minimal compared to extra performance. The lack of an 8GB option is also not a con. Gaming on 8GB is with a dGPU isn't good, unless it is old games. Doing it on an iGPU can kill your performance completely.
    Reply
  • SunMaster
    I think in most cases the APU will be preferable over the CPU with the old graphics card.

    If price is your only reason to go for a system like this, and you badly want to game, the APU isn't the best solution. But case/enclosure size, heat and noise will be the primary reason to choose the APU. The fact that you actually can game on it will what makes the sale.
    Reply
  • Udyr
    A decent review marred by ridiculous cons.
    Reply
  • HopefulToad
    jeremyj_83 said:
    The lack of an 8GB option is also not a con. Gaming on 8GB is with a dGPU isn't good, unless it is old games. Doing it on an iGPU can kill your performance completely.
    A few years ago I played through the entirety of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on a Ryzen 3200G (no dedicated GPU) and with a 4GB x 2 kit of RAM. The Series S also works fine with what is functionally only 8 GB of RAM shared between the CPU and GPU (there's technically +2 GB for a total of 10, but the extra 2 GB is clocked slow and is for the OS). Memory needs tend to be overstated.
    Reply
  • jeremyj_83
    HopefulToad said:
    Memory needs tend to be overstated.
    Have you tried to do basic work on a computer with Win 10, 8GB RAM, and 2GB RAM reserved for the iGPU? It is painfully slow as you are page swapping all the time. Any computer that isn't a Chromebook should come with less than 16GB RAM now.
    Reply
  • kyzarvs
    jeremyj_83 said:
    Have you tried to do basic work on a computer with Win 10, 8GB RAM, and 2GB RAM reserved for the iGPU? It is painfully slow as you are page swapping all the time. Any computer that isn't a Chromebook should come with less than 16GB RAM now.
    My desktop is a 32GB ram machine. I also have an i7 / 32gb / 2TB nvme gaming laptop.

    When I want portability on the road, I have a dell notebook that's education-oriented. 4GB ram, no fans, small CPU. It runs 10/11 perfectly well, starts up quickly and performs my work requirements (Office / Firefox / NextCloud) pretty much as quick as my main machines.
    Reply
  • mitch074
    Erm... Error in the article : Zen3 was using 7nm, not 12 - AMD dropped 12nm with Zen 2 and RDNA.
    Reply