After only having a crappy laptop with Intel iGPU for gaming for the past 3 years, I got really excited when I saw the new AMD APUs. A friend of mine had just replaced his NCase with a Dan A4 case, so I was able to get it for $75, and my build began!
Many reviewers said that simple overclocks on the $99 2200G could easily bring it up to the level of the 2400G, and for me, $60 saved is a big deal.
AMD ITX boards are unfortunately few and far between, and not always of the greatest quality, so after doing some research I went with the ASRock. I found it to be the most reliable, quickly updated with new BIOS, and the most reliable VRM cooling.
I knew with an APU, I'd need the fastest RAM supported on the ASRock QVL, and the Corsair was the best price-performance option that would never get in the way of any cooler I wanted to buy.
I flipflopped between getting the BPX or getting a Samsung 950 Evo, but thanks to TomsHardware review of the 240GB 950 Evo showing off it's consistently poor performance, I went with the BPX. This is my first NVMe SSD, and it's amazing!
Corsair has the best SFX PSUs, hands-down, and I've always had good experience with their products. This was a no brainer.
This was a sinch to put together, and thankfully my motherboard was already updated for Raven Ridge, so I didn't have to screw around with getting a older AM4 processor or anything. I was scared at first when the BIOS was reporting my CPU temp to be 127 Celcius!! After a quick google search, I learned this was a BIOS bug with the first Raven Ridge BIOS, and updating to the newest version fixed the problem.
My monitor is an AOC Q2963PM ultrawide 1080p display. No one really seems to do benchmarks on ultrawide resolutions, so I was excited to get as much of an OC on the GPU as I could and put it through it's paces.
I got a good chip, and my GPU is stable at 1650 MHz with 1.3v on the graphics and 1.2v SOC. I'm only using the stock cooler, so I don't want to push it any further than that, even so the results were astounding!! (Especially coming from a 15W 2C 4T processor with crap Intel 520 HD graphics)
Synthetic benchmarks are great for finding stability (I used Fire Strike, Superposition and ASUS ROG RealBench for stability testing), but the true test is always actual gaming. I have several games in my Steam library with built-in benchmarking tools, so I used these to get a true grasp on the capability of this Vega 8 iGPU. Each benchmark was run 3 times and averaged, and the system was rebooted with no startup tasks between each game. As much as possible, I stuck to default graphics settings, with any specific options noted.
Metro 2033 Redux: 39 avg, 131 max, 20 min (2560x1080, medium, no SSAA, AF 16x, tess normal)
Metro Last Light Redux: 30 avg, 89 max, 13 min (2560x1080, medium, no SSAA, AF 16x, tess normal)
Shadow of Mordor: 31 avg, 41 max, 22 min (2560x1080, 100% scale, medium graphics)
Thief: 33 avg, 45 max, 23 min (2560x1080, normal graphics)
Tomb Raider: 54 avg, 60 max, 45 min (2560x1080 normal)
Arkham Knight: 24 avg, 33 max, 14 min (2560x1080, all settings normal)
Bioshock Infinite: 53 avg, 82 max, 36 min (Medium settings)
I'm super excited to finally get back to real gaming after so long, thanks AMD!