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AMD’s Ryzen 8000G Phoenix 2 APUs: Limited PCIe 4.0 Raises Concerns Among Enthusiasts

AMD has unveiled its latest Ryzen 8000G “Phoenix 2” Desktop Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), signaling...

AMD’s Ryzen 8000G Phoenix 2 APUs: Limited PCIe 4.0 Raises Concerns Among Enthusiasts

AMD has unveiled its latest Ryzen 8000G “Phoenix 2” Desktop Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), signaling a shift in the company’s approach to memory and PCIe capabilities. The new APUs, specifically those falling under the Phoenix 2 die, are marked by limited support for PCIe 4.0, raising concerns among enthusiasts and budget-conscious users alike.

AMD, a leading player in the semiconductor industry, had initially generated excitement with the announcement of its Ryzen 8000G series, which comprises two distinct flavors: the 8700G/8600G based on the Phoenix 1 dies and the 8500G/8300G based on the Phoenix 2 dies. However, it is the latter variant that has captured attention due to its notably restricted memory and PCIe capabilities.

Traditionally, the PCIe lanes in processors play a crucial role in facilitating high-speed data transfer between various components such as discrete graphics cards (dGPU) and NVMe SSDs. The Phoenix 2 dies, unfortunately, deviate from the standard set by their predecessors, offering limited support for these essential functions.

According to the specifications obtained from Gigabyte’s B650E AORUS ELITE X AX ICE motherboard, Ryzen 8000G Phoenix 1 dies boast PCIe 4.0 x8 functionality for discrete graphics cards and PCIe 4.0 x4 capabilities for M.2 NVMe SSDs. These APUs also support dual-channel DDR5 RAM, enhancing the overall performance, especially for systems leveraging the integrated RDNA 3 (Radeon 700M) GPUs.

On the contrary, the Phoenix 2 dies take a step back in terms of both memory and PCIe support. The specifications reveal that AMD’s Ryzen 8000G AM5 Desktop APUs based on the Phoenix 2 dies are limited to single-channel DDR5 memory. Additionally, the discrete graphics lanes have been reduced from PCIe 4.0 x8 to PCIe x4, and the M.2 lanes have seen a reduction to PCIe 4.0 x2 from PCIe 4.0 x4. This departure from the norm is highlighted by the fact that neither of the Ryzen 8000G dies provides the full PCIe 5.0 x16 dGPU lanes available in the standard Ryzen 7000 Desktop offerings.

This adjustment in PCIe support has raised concerns among users and industry experts. While PCIe 4.0 x8 lanes may still be adequate for high-end graphics cards, the reduction in memory channels and SSD support could pose limitations for systems powered by Phoenix 2 dies. The decision to limit the PCIe capabilities could impact the performance and overall user experience, particularly for those expecting the same feature set as the Phoenix 1 dies.

A direct comparison of PCIe lanes illustrates the discrepancy between the two dies. The Phoenix 1 dies offer a total of 20 lanes, with 16 usable, while the Phoenix 2 dies provide only 14 total lanes, with 10 usable. This reduction in available lanes could potentially impact the expandability and upgrade options for users relying on the Ryzen 8000G “Phoenix 2” APUs.

Despite these limitations, the Ryzen 8000G “Phoenix 2” APUs feature a hybrid Zen 4 and Zen 4C core configuration, coupled with Radeon 740M iGPUs boasting 4 compute units. The single-channel DDR5 memory support, while potentially sufficient for running the integrated GPUs, has raised eyebrows in an era where dual-channel configurations have become the standard.

While the Ryzen 8000G series has undoubtedly brought innovation to the desktop processor market, the limitations imposed on the Phoenix 2 dies, particularly in terms of PCIe support, have sparked discussions within the tech community. Users contemplating the purchase of systems powered by these APUs should carefully weigh the trade-offs between the Phoenix 1 and Phoenix 2 dies to ensure their chosen configuration aligns with their performance and upgrade expectations. 

AMD’s decision to limit PCIe 4.0 x4 for dGPU and PCIe 4.0 x2 for M.2 SSDs on the Ryzen 8000G “Phoenix 2” APUs signals a nuanced approach in balancing performance and cost but may leave some users seeking more robust features disappointed.