AMD's new budget APU with the graphics switched off gives you less cache for less cash

 AMD Ryzen 7 8700G CPU in socket.
AMD Ryzen 7 8700G CPU in socket.

AMD has reportedly announced new "F" versions of its Ryzen 8000 Series desktop APU with the integrated GPU hacked out. Okay, the graphics is just disabled rather than physically removed, but the net result is the same: An APU with no graphics. Which essentially amounts to a CPU.

The new chip was spotted at a presentation in China, the Beijing AI PC Innovation Summit, by Twitter user HXL. Two new "F" chips were listed, the Ryzen 7 8700F and the Ryzen 5 8400F.

The single image from the presentation doesn't reveal too many details. However, the assumption is that this is a Phoenix APU with the graphics turned off. Based on the Ryzen 7 8700G APU with fully enabled graphics, the 8700F likely runs eight CPU cores.

There's no 8400G equivalent in AMD's current product range. The Ryzen 5 8500G has six cores, while the Ryzen 3 8300G has four cores. All of AMD's existing desktop 8000 series APUs clock up to around 5GHz, so these new "F" models probably peak at about that frequency.

No information on pricing has been revealed, but these are almost certainly budget chips. The AMD Ryzen 7 current sells for about $329. But arguably the more relevant comparison is the eight-core Ryzen 7 7700, which sells for $309 or thereabouts currently.

If the new 8700F significantly undercuts the plain old 7700, it'll be quite compelling, right? After all, in both cases you'll be getting eight AMD Zen 4 cores.

Maybe, but then we found in our review of the 8700G that the Phoenix APU isn't that great when paired with a discrete GPU thanks to a combination lower clockspeeds and offering half the L3 cache (16MB down from 32MB).

In other words, this new chopped-down APU will need to come in at quite the discount to the regular Ryzen 7000 desktop alternative to make any sense. If it's just $10 or $20, you may as well go full-fat Ryzen.

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Incidentally, there's no specific guidance on availability of the new chips thus far. It's possible they may only be available in China. But then AMD has a track record of rolling out certain products in China first only to later allow for broader availability, potentially in prebuilt systems. Then, who knows? Radeon RX 7900 GRE, anyone?

Anyway, the appeal of this new cut-down APU will largely hinge on price. If it's cheap enough, it will be interesting. As for why AMD is doing it at all, the obvious assumption is that it has a load of Phoenix APUs sitting around, perhaps some with broken GPUs, that it could do with shifting. That would allow AMD to sell the chips off quite cheaply.

If they are made available outside of China, we advise care with the value proposition. You may be getting a load of Zen 4 cores on the cheap, but the performance won't be quite up there with existing Ryzen 7000 models. Basically, don't be fooled into thinking because it's an 8000 Series chip it's 1000 better.