A while back I published a post claiming that laptop makers (OEMS) are pairing AMD’s new Ryzen 4000 “Renoir” parts with discrete GPUs slower or on par with the onboard graphics, pretty much making the former obsolete. Furthermore, not only does this increase the BOM of the product and thereby the MSRP, but it also has a negative impact on the battery life and portability of the laptop. Till now this was only a speculation, but now thanks to a review by Ultrabookreview (link at the bottom), I can prove that I was indeed correct:
|Game||NVIDIA MX350||Radeon Vega 7 iGPU|
|Bioshock Infinite||97 FPS: avg, 45 FPS: 1% low||52 FPS: avg, 24 FPS: 1% low|
|Dota 2||95 FPS: avg, 48 FPS :1% low||100 FPS: avg, 55 FPS: 1% low|
|Far Cry 5||35 FPS: avg, 32 FPS: 1% low||22 FPS: avg, 19 FPS: 1% low|
|Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor||65 fps: avg||46 FPS: avg|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider||45 FPS: avg||34 FPS: avg|
|Shadow of Tomb Raider||40 FPS: avg||18 FPS: avg|
|Strange Brigade||44 FPS: avg||40 FPS: avg|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt||29 FPS: avg, 18 FPS: 1% low||11 FPS: avg, 8 FPS: 1% low|
Right off the bat, have a look at the DOTA 2 and Strange Brigade scores. In the former, the Vega 7 manages to beat the NVIDIA MX350 while in the latter, it’s nearly on par with it. After that, there’s Far Cry 5 and Shadow of Mordor: Here the MX350 has a decent advantage over the integrated Vega graphics, and finally in BioShock and Witcher 3, the discrete GPU secures a big wins. However, as UBR notes, there’s something you need to take note of here.
The integrated Vega 7 graphics doesn’t have its own power budget like the MX350, and it uses a part of the CPU package power. In more intensive games like Far Cry 5 where the NVIDIA part has an advantage, the CPU power stays at 25W only for the first few minutes. The iGPU also runs at 1500MHz, almost near its peak of 1.6GHz. However, after that, the CPU package power drops to 15W and the graphics clock plummets to 1GHz, 60% lower than its maximum boost. (rentalry.com)
This explains why the Vega 7 onboard GPU is less impressive in more demanding titles like Witcher 3 and Far Cry 5. The 15W shared TDP ceiling of the APU kicks in and limits the Vega GPU from hitting the rated boost clock. The dGPU, on the other hand, has its own power budget.
If ASUS has just increased the TDP of the Ryzen 7 4700U to 25W and removed the MX350, the performance would have been nearly the same at a reduced price, with better thermals and a longer battery life, but oh well, if only.