Today we're going to overclock AMD's Ryzen 3 2200G with a $ 20 DeepCool air cooler called the Gammaxx 200T. Now you may be questioning the idea of using an aftermarket cooler for a Raven Ridge APU that itself costs just $ 100 and comes with the Wraith Stealth heatsink that's enough for light watches. However, we were excited to see how much more can be extracted from the APU when an updated heat sink is used and whether it works in terms of value.
With the standard cooler of the R3 2200G, we were able to increase the integrated Vega 8 GPU from 1.1 GHz to 1.6 GHz. This led to some nice profits, but also to operating temperatures up to the 80s, and for this reason I was not able to overclock the CPU cores.
When we overclocked, the GPU frequency increased 45%, delivered around 35% more frames, and changed the potential of the affordable R3 2200G in terms of gaming. That made us think …
When upgrading an old PC, you not only need the 2200G, but also an AM4 motherboard. I prefer a decent B350 model that usually costs around $ 70. There's a good chance you'll also need DDR4 memory, and decent two-channel DDR4-3000-8GB kits cost around $ 100. This increases the total bill to around $ 270. This is an exceptional value considering that the reasonably powerful Vega 8 GPU is included.
Given that the games were only increased by at least 20% by overclocking the GPU, we definitely wanted to see the performance of the R3 2200G with an even more aggressive overclocking of the GPU and overclocking of the CPU cores.
For the DeepCool Gammaxx 200T and 300, they increase the total construction costs by just 7% for around $ 20. So if you can keep the Ryzen 3 2200G cool and quiet while still making profits of at least 20%, it seems like you're getting a solid return on your investment.
If you are new to overclocking or were just on the fence because it sounds scary, I would urge you to give it a try. It is safe and easy to get good results these days. I usually recommend overclocking via BIOS, but AMD's Ryzen Master software actually works well and is much friendlier for beginners.
If you are unsure where to start, Step 1 will download and install the Ryzen Master software. Once you've installed it, open it up and you'll be faced with the utility you see in our screenshots. It looks a bit overwhelming, but relax, we can ignore most of it for our overclocking.
Click the Game Mode tab at the bottom of the window. Alternatively, you can also use profile 1 or 2 if you want (this can be renamed by double-clicking). Once you've selected one of these tabs, you can start overclocking the CPU or GPU. I suggest finding the maximum stable frequency of one part and then moving on to the other.
Simply increase the CPU's frequency from 3500 MHz to 3.7 GHz, run a stress test like Prime95 or AIDA64 for about 30 minutes to get a rough idea of how stable the system is. If it doesn't crash, continue at 3.8 GHz, run the stress test again. If your system is successful like our system, the next step may be 3.9 GHz.
It is worth noting that you can do this in much smaller steps. I'm just impatient and prefer 100 MHz jumps, but you can move in 25 MHz steps if you want. Most 2200G chips should be suitable for around 3.8 to 3.9 GHz.
As you increase the core frequency of the CPU, you also want to increase the CPU voltage. That said, the Ryzen Master software is set to 1.4 volts by default for some reason and this is already very high so I wouldn't recommend pushing it further. In fact, you might be able to get away by choosing this a little bit down, but somewhere between 1.3 and 1.4 V is likely where you'll end up.
Once CPU overclocking has been applied, you want to determine the maximum stable GPU frequency. By default, the Vega 8 GPU works in the 2200G at 1.1 GHz, but the Ryzen master software uses 400 MHz by default, which is a way out. Without voltage adjustments, you should be able to increase them to around 1.3 GHz. To get higher you need to increase the APU GFX voltage and the SOC voltage. By default, both are set to 1.1 V. For best results, I increased the APU GFX voltage to 1.3 V and the SOC voltage to 1.2 V.
SOC voltage is particularly important as it is a single rail that feeds the uncore and graphics domains. I found that 1.2V was sufficient to stabilize the Vega 8 GPU at 1650MHz, but I've seen reports from users who were up to 1.25V high, and that's the maximum voltage that AMD recommends .
Free tools like Superposition are great for stress testing your graphics overclocking. With the GPU you can increase the frequency by 1 MHz each, but you should be able to jump up to 1300 MHz and continue from there with small adjustments of the voltage.
Once you have everything set up and saved in the profile of your choice, you simply need to open the Ryzen Master software every time you start the system and apply the profile. Alternatively, you can write down all the settings and then apply them to the BIOS so that they are loaded automatically each time the system is started.
What did this overclocking do for the 2200G and how well does the Gammaxx 200T cool it? Before we get to the gaming frame rate results, look at the temperatures here. Starting with F1 2017, each run lasted six minutes and I ran the test half a dozen times. Here are the results for the last run …
While the Wraith Stealth entered the high 80s with only an overclocked GPU, the temperature never rose above 55 degrees with the Gammaxx 200T setup, which is remarkable. Please note that I have maintained a room temperature of 21 degrees. Not only that, but the fan didn't spin very quickly and I would describe it as almost silent.
This is quite impressive as we saw an average of 47 fps with a minimum of 39 fps and the frame time results were also respectable. In fact, the frame consistency in this title was excellent, and while AMD cut out its work in other titles, it's great to have some examples where the Raven Ridge APUs are silky smooth.
Before I continued, I also ran a one-hour Overwatch bot match. The way I configure this means that the game never really ends, which results in a great stress test. Temperatures stayed below 55 degrees for both the CPU and GPU, and it was great to see consistent performance in this title as well, set to medium quality at 1080p and 100% render scaling.
The temperatures of this heavily overclocked Ryzen 3 2200G in combination with the Gammaxx 200T, which was quite quiet, proved to be excellent. Now it's time to see what kind of frame rate gains players can expect …
Since we just watched Overwatch with our stress test, let's look at the results of the game. Here we see an increase in the average frame rate by 19% and the minimum frame rate by 23% when overclocking the 2200G. That's a decent performance boost, and meant that not only was the 2200G faster than the stock 2400G, but also a lot faster than the Pentium G4560 and GT 1030 when you look at the minimal results.
Moving to CS: GO, we see an average 22% increase in frame rate, but a massive 45% increase in minimum earnings. This is clearly a result of overclocking not only the GPU but also the CPU.
Next we have DOTA 2 and here we see an increase of 21% for the average, but only an increase of 13% for the minimum, which is surprising. However, these are decent profits.
Fortnite Battle Royal's results are interesting, and not just because we see massive gains overclocking. The standard 2200G seems to be somewhat limited, since the minimum and average frame rates are very close to each other, similar to the Intel CPUs and their terrible integrated graphics. Overclocking the GPU seems to alleviate this problem, and we see a massive 45% increase in the average frame rate with a 34% increase to the minimum, making the 2200G standard 2400G.
Of course I had to test PUBG, although it is not a friend of the AMD APU. Overclocking still helped a lot here and this 25% increase was pretty noticeable.
When testing with Rainbow Six Siege, the average frame rate was increased by 21% and the minimum by 25%. So this is what we saw from most other titles.
We finally have the Rocket League and here we see our worst result so far: a meager increase of 16% after overclocking. As meager as it may be, it's not a bad result and ultimately allowed the 2200G to overtake the standard 2400G and almost catch the Pentium G4560 + GT 1030 combo.
A few farewell words …
It's safe to say that a well-overclocked Ryzen 3 2200G platform at $ 300 is a strong argument in itself. This includes an inexpensive aftermarket air cooler, a decent B350 motherboard and 8 GB DDR4-3000 RAM. By comparison, keep in mind that the Core i3-8100 costs at least $ 370 on an unpublished B360 motherboard with 8 GB DDR4 memory and a GT 1030, making 20 percent savings the most welcomed by budget buyers.
In the worst case, you can expect this APU to perform about 10 to 15% more when upgrading to a simple aftermarket air cooler. So this seems to be worth the investment, not to mention that tinkering with these APUs is a lot of fun. In fact, I found it more rewarding than playing around with the 8700K and a GTX 1080 Ti, although that's a lot of fun too.