Before we get into our test results, note that, in order to take full advantage of the AMD system’s abilities, we overclocked the Vega 11 graphics silicon to 1,550MHz (up from the stock 1,250MHz) for our gaming tests, though we left the CPU cores at stock speed in order to assure the best possible cooling and stability for gaming.
For the CPU-specific Cinebench and Geekbench tests, we reverted the AMD machine to stock settings, because overclocking the graphics speed lowers CPU performance under some conditions. This is dead-simple to do with AMD’s Ryzen Master software, with just a few clicks and a reboot required to switch between stock and overclocked settings.
If you invest in a more powerful cooler, you could probably achieve higher clocks and better performance with the AMD machine. But again, doing that would break our budget and likely put you into pricing territory where it would make more sense to buy a dedicated card that delivers better performance out of the box.
To test our budget gaming PCs, we put them through a series of CPU and gaming benchmarks.
As we expected, the GTX 1050 outclassed the Vega graphics in every game and graphics test we ran, but the Ryzen held its own on CPU tests, making it better if you also want to use your PC for productivity.
3DMark Fire Strike
The Intel build with the GTX 1050 took an early graphics lead in our testing. On 3DMark Fire Strike, it earned a score of 4,787, beating the AMD machine at 3,299.
Our Ryzen-based build dominated in the Geekbench 4.1 face-off with a single-core score of 4,294 and a multi-core score of 12,059. The Pentium earned a single-core score of 3,519 and a multi-core score of 5,607.
We got our most fascinating results when we ran Cinebench R15 ten times in a loop. The Ryzen again beat the Pentium in multi-core performance, notching an average CPU score of 810.7 vs Intel’s 387.7.
But in single core performance, they were roughly equal. They ended up with the same average score of 157.6 after ten runs, so they overlap on our chart.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
We ran the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark with our standard test for budget gaming machines. We had exclusive fullscreen on, switched on SMAA anti-aliasing and used the high graphics preset. Our Intel build averaged 46.1 frames per second, but on the AMD machine you’d need lower settings, as it came in at just 22.2 fps.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Both games earned playable scores on the Middle-earth: Shadow of War benchmark, which we ran on the medium preset at 1920 x 1080. The AMD machine ran at 24 fps and the Intel build ran at 57 fps.
Grand Theft Auto V
On the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark with DirectX 11, 1920 x 1080 resolution, FXAA anti-aliasing and normal presets, the AMD notched a respectable average frame rate of 56 fps, but our Intel build with its discrete graphics again beat it at 133.6 fps. Note that you may be able to eke out slightly higher frame rates from the AMD build via overclocking. But on our system at least, the GTA V benchmark would only run at stock settings, so we had to dial back our overclock for this title.
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
On Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, we ran the benchmark at 1920 x 1080 with standard settings and DirectX 11. Our Intel build with GTX 1050 ran the game at 40.7 fps, but the AMD build stuttered at 19.4 fps.
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