AMD's Ryzen 5 2400G Is Surprisingly Good for Casual Gaming
We started this experiment knowing full-well that it might fail completely, but with the hope that we might find some interesting results. As it turned out, hope was on our side, but failure wasn’t far behind. Our Ryzen 5 2400G far surpassed our hopes and our expectations. We thought AMD’s little CPU/GPU combo-chip could probably manage desktop work in an immersive environment. We never expected it to deliver a passable gaming experience in any way, and we had little hope of using it for VR video playback. But the AMD chip defied expectations and accomplished both feats, albeit with limitations on the gaming front. The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G is more than capable of handling the basic Windows Mixed Reality experience.
To be clear, we wouldn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, recommend a Ryzen 5 2400G for VR gaming. But if you stick to native Windows MR content, and casual games, it works surprisingly well.
Microsoft worked closely with Intel to promote a budget entry path to Windows Mixed Reality. But we think the tech giant missed a big opportunity to collaborate with AMD. The Ryzen 5 2400G with Vega graphics delivers a significantly better experience on Microsoft's VR platform than our Core i5 with its integrated HD Graphics 620 silicon.
What Can We Extrapolate From Our Budget VR Experiment?
We don’t necessarily recommend using a Ryzen 5 2400G for Windows Mixed Reality. Because even though headset prices have fallen (in some cases below the $250 mark), and performance graphics card pricing remains sky high, most users looking to get into the VR space probably don't want to invest several hundred dollars on a system with serious limitations. But our experience with AMD's Raven Ridge chip opened our eyes to the possibility that we may soon have access to chips with integrated graphics that are powerful enough for the demanding workload of immersive VR experiences. We wouldn’t be surprised if AMD gives its second-generation Ryzen APUs enough oomph to drive high-quality VR content. At that point, PC-based VR gaming will have a better chance of gaining mainstream traction than in the current world where highly overpriced graphics cards are required.
This experiment also gives us hope that we’ll eventually see VR on the Xbox One platform. Two years ago, Microsoft introduced the Xbox Scorpio project and said that the new console would support virtual reality. When the company dropped the new console (now called Xbox One X), it stopped talking about VR on the Xbox platform. But we always expected that the Windows Mixed Reality platform and the Xbox One platforms would eventually come together to offer a mainstream living room VR gaming experience. Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality runs surprisingly well on a mainstream chip like the Ryzen 5 2400G without official support or optimization. So we have to image that the two companies, working together, could deliver a more-satisfying experience with the powerful SoC in the Xbox One X.
MORE: Virtual Reality Basics