APU vs CPU: Which Processor Type is Better for Gaming?

Either you are making a new pock system or you are in search of a pre-built pc system, the processor you select will have immense importance and have a great effect on the system’s performance. The gamer that has to work within his budget limits and has to select between the two: APU or CPU then go through this article as it will let you decide this.


In this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of APUs vs. CPUs. 

What are APUs and CPUs? (& GPUs)

Before starting with the differences among the two first we will define and introduce these two.

What is the CPU?

A CPU (or central processing unit) processes the data present on the pc. The software of the computer sends different instructions or commands that have to be carried out to the Central Processing Unit(CPU) and then these sets of instructions are executed by the CPU.

What is the GPU?

The GPU (or graphics processing unit) same as CPU. The only purpose of the GPU is to take care of graphic relevant content. In today’s world, the new technology computers depend on GPU than on CPU. Hence, GPU now has an important impact on your game.

Since standalone graphic cards have high costs, therefore, gamers with a tight budget will find the option of using GPU a difficult one. So in such a scenario, these gamers have to rely on integrated graphics available on the processor.

What are Integrated Graphics?

Standalone graphics cards have a good and better [performance in handling the content relevant to graphics while the graphic content handled in CPU is done through integrated graphics.

Or in other words, built-in graphics processors present in the central processing unit(CPU) are known as integrated graphics.

Having a simple pc does not mean that a user can’t play the game on pc having CPU but the difference lies in the performance and in-game experience that a user witness while playing the game.

However, there will be some games that demand graphics cards which integrated graphics might not be able to run. 

What Is An APU?

APU stands for the accelerated processing units. APU is the name of brand, AMD. It is a kind of processor that provides the user with a better form of integrated graphics processing.

The dissimilarities between APU and CPU’s integrated graphics is that as AMD is the manufacturer of both GPUs and CPUs, they can control the structure of GPU to develop processors with more influential integrated graphics than other choices.

So instead of naming the CPUs, AMD has selected to name their own processors having integrated-graphics and call them as APUs.

APUs vs. CPUs: Which Chips Perform Better for Gaming

There are two facts and reasons that might support the debate of both APU and CPU as far as gaming performance is concerned.

The direct way is to discuss the separately their features and benefits and then the end make the comparison. 

Why Even Consider an APU in a Gaming PC?

APU will never be a good option when mid-range or high-end pc systems are taken into account. This is because APU provides users with basic level processing of graphics.

In order to keep cost factors inconsiderate then APU is the best option to utilize. Through APU a user gets a budget-friendly processor along with budget-friendly GPU.

Some past Problems with APUs (for Gaming)

In the past, the price points did not make sense for APU usage. AMD did not structure their pricing set up fair enough or economical enough that it became useful for users. 

Moreover, they used different kinds of motherboard sockets for APU and the user could not upgrade APU. Because of this, the user could not upgrade to a high-end CPU while CPUs were able to upgrade when required.

However, AMD brand new APUs have solved the issue.

Where APUs Currently Make Sense

AMD has lately launched 2 fresh APUs: the Ryzen 3 2200G (~$100), and the Ryzen 5 2400G (~$160).

As in the past, AMD’s prices for APU when compared to performance were not fair enough then it got a problem in selling them to users. 

For example, today one can buy an Intel Pentium G4560 and GT 1030 for about $100. So this combination will have similar performance as in the case of Ryzen 5 2400G.

I believe that to buy Pentium G4560/GT 1030 in past was a better choice as a user can finally upgrade the premium level processor to a level of Inter Core i7 processor while on the other hand, the previous APUs won’t let the user upgrade them to a high-end AMD processor.

However, now the users can upgrade Ryzen 5 2400G to high-end non-APU Ryzen CPU. Both these G4560/GT1030 combo and the Ryzen 5 2400G are a good choice at this cost point.

The performance of Ryzen 3 2200G, is not so when compared to bad Ryzen 5 2400G.. so in the price of $100 the user gets hold of an amazing and excellent basic-level CPU/GPU combination in only a single chip.

And this combination can outdo any combination of CPU/GPU that is present for a $100.

As PC builds are concerned, I presently set the Ryzen. 3 2200G in our $300 gaming PC build.  Moreover, Ryzen 5 2400G would be good if it’s available at $400.

Where CPUs Make More Sense than APUs

Unluckily, when a user once moves to $500budget or more then it gets more obvious to side with a CPU that fits more in a budget and also acquires a mid-range graphic card.

Currently, if the budget is set for a $500 pc system built for gaming, we will suggest you get a Pentium G4560 and a GTX 1050 Ti. Although Pentium G4560 is not the most loved or best-performing processor all over the world; however, when you attach it and use it with GTX 1050 Ti, this combination will work much better than Ryzen 5 2400G In games by a huge difference.

Once again, the budget range is not huge enough where AMD’s APUs will set to fit. Nevertheless, the ranges where the APUs do fit properly can be called as “critical” ranges as many gamers who are stuck with budget limits and only require basic level processors can make use of this will be able to play their favorite games.

So for such gamers, APUs will be a good option to go.

Who Wins in the Battle of APUs vs. CPUs?

So in the battle of APUs vs. CPUs, we have come to the conclusion that it solely depends upon the user circumstances and choices. In many cases, the gamers will like to select the combination of CPU and graphics rather than going for APUs.

Nevertheless, in case the users are tightly stuck to a budget and cannot spend a lot of money on setting up a pc gaming system then there are specific cases where the users might opt for an APU.

Finally, APUs are not the best option for users but they can provide users with a good basic level of graphic processing to the user until a user is capable enough to go for a high end and the influential combination of CPU and dedicated graphics.

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