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Day of Reckoning for my now-disused secondary PC...

LEGEND ,
Jul 04, 2020 Jul 04, 2020

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Finally, the day of reckoning for one of my two current desktop systems has arrived.

 

Since my mini-ITX Intel i7-7700 system is hardly being used any more, I will be retiring it completely, and possibly donating it to somebody who needs a fairly recent PC. This came because I have no room whatsoever to put a second monitor on any of the desks in the house. My brother's desk already has a monitor, but he still has a 4th-Generation i7-4770 CPU that's in his Dell system that was purchased back in 2014 though the GPU that's currently in that system is a GeForce GTX 750 Ti that I gave him a few years ago (upgraded from a GT 635 1 TB card that was originally in that system).

 

So, my current plan is to give him the GTX 1650 SUPER that is currently in the mini-ITX box (and thus give that first-generation Maxwell 750 Ti card a well-deserved retirement, into the spare parts bin). The soon-to-be-donated i7-7700 bread box will be equipped with both integrated graphics and maybe either a GTX 1050 Ti or a GTX 1060 6 GB card. My brother does not run any video editing software whatsoever; he plays mostly games (flight simulators, mainly) and the occasional Photoshop job. The reason why I am doing this is because I do not want to mess up his personal settings and software configuration.

 

Alternatively, I might actually upgrade the innards of my mini-ITX PC while keeping my brother's PC exactly the way it currently is. That way, I will have a second, recent-generation PC for when I move into my own quarters (and used for the occasional basic video editing job when my main PC is tied up in another video render/exporting job). I am currently thinking about an Intel i5-10600K with a Z490 mini-ITX motherboard.

 

And there will be no way in the world that I will put in an i9-10900 or 10900K in that system, as I do not want my secondary PC to outperform my main PC (as my i7-7700 did when I was still using a 4th-Generation Refresh Intel i7-4790K CPU in my main PC until seven months ago).

 

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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LEGEND ,
Jul 28, 2020 Jul 28, 2020

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As of now, my plan has been officially scrapped. I found out that I could no longer resell my old innards for anywhere close to the cost of a completely new entry-level Intel i3 CPU/motherboard combo. The value of old Ivy Bridge CPUs have dropped with the 10th-Generation i3's outperforming non-overclockable Ivy Bridge i7's like mine. And getting inside my brother's PC is a little tougher than I would like, so his PC will remain on its current older-generation components until he decides or gets forced to upgrade.

 

And since I will have a very difficult time selling my old CPU and motherboard, I will instead update those two components, and when I do move into my own place, I will use the mini box for basic editing tasks while my main machine is churning away rendering and exporting.

 

And after the (admittedly minor) troubles that I had getting my current AMD system stable (especially at higher memory speeds), I will be sticking with Intel for this mini-ITX refresh. And with the GTX 1650 SUPER that's currently inside that system, I do not want too much of a CPU for that mini box. Probably no more than an i5-10600K and a Z490 motherboard (but more likely an i5-10400 and an H470 motherboard).

 

I may or may not purchase the parts until just before I make the relocation.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 03, 2020 Aug 03, 2020

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Another change in my plans:

 

Since mini-ITX is a pain in the butt to work inside of, I will be officially scrapping any future plans for it. Instead, it will be donated to a friend or another household member. A GTX 1060 6 GB card or no discrete GPU at all will go inside of it. I will, however, be keeping my GTX 1650 SUPER for a soon-to-be-realized new build using my previous AMD motherboard (an Asus PRIME X570-P, which I had replaced in my main system with an Asus ROG STRIX X570-F GAMING). It turned out that it wasn't the motherboard at all, but my memory, that was unstable at its advertised speeds. This system will be getting either a new 6-core Ryzen 5 3600XT or my current Ryzen 7 3800X, depending on my total build-completion budget. It will also be getting a new case and a new power supply. Both of these systems will move with me to a new place to live.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 14, 2020 Aug 14, 2020

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Another swing and a miss! I still have that mini-ITX Intel quad-core build as of now. As such, my future plans with desktop computing have changed yet again.

 

Only this time, it will be the opposite: Since I might not be moving my current main system to my planned new smaller place due to space issues, I will be using my mini-ITX box instead as the housing for a completely overhauled new build for my new main system. (I am planning to ditch the existing components inside that build - an H170 motherboard with a now almost four-year-old i7-7700 CPU, its 16 GB of DDR4-2400 RAM and a liquid cooling system as the cooler was poorly integrated into my mini system - the cooler's fans eat up the only fan mount in the case, and it was oriented as intake.) And since this will almost certainly be an Intel CPU-based build, it will have a Z490 chipset-based mini-ITX motherboard and an Intel i9-10900K CPU. My two m.2 NVMe SSDs, the 64 GB of RAM and the GeForce RTX 2060 Super will be transferred from my current main system to the mini system.

 

Alternatively, I can just revert back to my original plan of repurposing that mini-ITX box as my secondary editing PC. In this role, it will likely have a lesser i7-10700K or an i5-10600K CPU plus a Z490 motherboard. It will be equipped with 32 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM plus the GeForce GTX 1650 Super that's currently inside the PC box. The liquid cooler will, as I noted above, be replaced with air cooling (likely a Noctua NH-U12S). And this build is assuming that I will continue to use my current tower PC as my main system.

 

Decisions, decisions...

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LEGEND ,
Aug 20, 2020 Aug 20, 2020

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Looks like the decision is made for me. I will be keeping both systems, after all, and just upgrade the innards of my smaller box so that I will have a secondary newer-gen system to work with in case my main system is churing out exports. The parts will come in as soon as I have funds for. Most of its internal parts will remain the same, with the possible exception of one m.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, until some future version of Premiere Pro requires something newer. And this is all because even today's 10th-Gen Intel CPUs are based on the same basic technology as the 2015-era Skylake architecture, tweaked again and again over five CPU generations now.

 

As such, I have finalized my future plans for my mini-ITX breadbox PC. I am currently gutting it because one of the wires for the motherboard's WiFi is broken. I am ordering a new antenna with internal wires to connect to the WiFi card. I am also re-doing its cooling solution (currently, there are no case exhaust fan whatsoever due to the CPU AIO liquid cooler, which I am replacing with a tower air cooler). And I have also removed the optical drive from the case (and planning to purchase a USB enclosure for it in the near future).

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LEGEND ,
Aug 23, 2020 Aug 23, 2020

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My frustrations continue with that system:

 

Trying to get the antenna connector to lock into the card's connector ended up bending the part of the Wi-Fi card that the connectors were located. In fact, I got so frustrated that I am considering giving up on the continued use of that Kaby Lake platform, and instead get a new Comet Lake platform to replace it. That means spending $400 including sales tax at a minimum: $180 for an H470 motherboard plus another $180 for an i5-10400 CPU.

 

Of course, I could order a new replacement Wi-Fi NGFF card for my current motherboard, but with it comes the connector to card issue.

 

At the prices that I would have to spend on a replacement Intel platform, I am also considering AMD for this overhaul. But with mini-ITX, I am considering a B550 chipset rather than the older B450 chipset. However, with some motherboard models there is only a $20 price difference between a B550 board and an equivalent X570 motherboard, so in those instances I may just go X570. If I go AMD, my CPU choice would be between a Ryzen 5 3600 or a Ryzen 7 3700X for this as I do not want my mini-system to outperform my tower system at stock speeds. My budget is rather limited for this upgrade.

 

Another update:

I went ahead and ordered a replacement Wi-Fi NGFF card and a pair of pigtail 2-inch antenna wires compatible with NGFF Wi-fi adapters. Fingers crossed...

 

For the record, this system (still with the 7th-gen non-K i7-7700) scored well into the 470s in the PugetBench for Premiere Pro using the Standard preset. That result is still usable for 1080p/59.94 editing, and 4k in a pinch. Not bad at all, given the age and pedigree of this shoebox system. Thus, if I were to upgrade this shoebox at all, I would definitely have needed a 500-series motherboard plus a 12-core/24-thread Ryzen 9 3900X or 3900XT CPU (or a Z490 motherboard plus an Intel i9-10900K CPU) to justify the cost of the upgrade. And that would have resulted in this shoebox outperforming my main tower PC. After all, why waste money on what might not have been all that much more than a sideways-performance-grade just to get the CPU platform up to date?

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LEGEND ,
Aug 26, 2020 Aug 26, 2020

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One more update before I close up my mini-ITX case and complete the reassembly:

 

The new Wi-Fi card (the same Intel 8260 card as the one that was originally there but I bent its PCB on the old one, and had to order a new one to replace it) came yesterday while the new pigtail antenna wires came in today. Just finished snapping it together and reinstalling the new card in there. All I have left right now is to re-mount the CPU liquid cooler pump onto my CPU before I finally close the case.

 

Until any complications or benchmark test results come in, this will be my last post in this discussion. If and when I purchase new parts (CPU and motherboard), I will start a new discussion about it.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 26, 2020 Aug 26, 2020

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Thanks for posting all this. I have followed with interest....

 

Stan

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LEGEND ,
Mar 28, 2021 Mar 28, 2021

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One follow-up on this:

 

I ended up replacing the CPU, motherboard and RAM with a Ryzen 7 3700X, a Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX motherboard and upgraded from 16 GB of DDR4-2400 RAM to 32 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM. I have since replaced the two 500 GB SATA SSDs (both 2.5" Samsung 850 EVO SSDs) with a 500 GB Samsung 970 EVO PLUS m.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD plus a 1 TB Samsung 980 PRO m.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 SSD (the 970 EVO PLUS was pulled from my main bigger rig while the 980 PRO is a new SSD - I purchased another for my main rig).

 

After I tested this mini-ITX breadbox with my GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER and 64 GB of DDR4-3600 RAM, I was stunned that it actually outperformed (delevered higher PugetBench for Premiere Pro 0.95.1 scores than) my main Ryzen 7 3800X mid-tower PC on my ASUS ROG STRIX X570-F GAMING motherboard (although I am beginning to feel that the four-DIMM-slot configuration on the larger-size motherboards, whether of a daisy-chain topology or a T-topology, introduced latencies compared to a direct-to-CPU memory topology that's typical of two-DIMM-slot configurations on miniITX motherboards).

 

My final plan is to move up to a GeForce RTX 3070 or 3080 and 64 GB of RAM with that mini-ITX PC once prices come down to sane levels from the cryptomining-inflated current levels. As it stands currently, it still has the GTX 1650 SUPER GPU and 32 GB of RAM. My main larger PC is staying put (component-wise).

 

Randall

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LEGEND ,
May 23, 2021 May 23, 2021

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Finally, after all that tinkering, my mini-ITX box is now my main system, after replacing the 3700X with the 12-core 5900X. The 3700X is now in my former main big rig, to be resurrected at some future time (it is currently in storage). The 3800X is now back with my first Ryzen motherboard, to possibly build yet another rig for a friend or neighbor.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 06, 2021 Jul 06, 2021

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One final tweak:

 

After some time with my mini-ITX box, I have decided that something is a little amiss:

 

Both of the m.2 SSDs installed in that system, especially the PCIe 3.0 NVMe Samsung 970 EVO Plus that's installed in the slot on the underside of the motherboard, were running quite a bit warmer than they normally would. Operating temperatures exceeded 50°C for those SSDs. This may reduce the useful lifespan of those SSDs.

 

And the cube-style mini-ITX case does not permit the proper multi-fan orientation for optimal cooling. There is no provision whatsoever for a truly front-mounted intake fan, and the long GPU card obstructs the airflow from the side panel (which normally serves as an intake in this case). The only place where I could put an intake fan was the top front - above and behind the Noctua NH-U12S CPU cooler.

 

Because of that, I decided to revert that cube case back to a Ryzen 7 3700X and a GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER card. I also pre-installed the latest feature update of Windows 10 along with the Microsoft Windows Update-provided drivers in that system so that it will be prepared should I need a second PC for some of my work. And sure, I could have selected a tower case that was designed with mini-ITX in mind - but then, I would have run into CPU air cooler height restrictions, and foregoing liquid CPU cooling in favor of a big(ger) air cooler would have required me to buy an even bigger case. And if I had to buy a big case just for the desired components to even physically fit into, I might as well ditch ITX altogether and just go with standard ATX for all of my builds. (Micro ATX was another option; however, these days there are fewer and fewer good newer-gen motherboards with newer chipsets being made in this form factor.)

 

In the meantime, diagnosing my main mid-tower ATX case components revealed that it wasn't the power supply unit at all (it was, and still is, an eVGA 750 G2 unit that has proved itself to be a workhorse performer) - but the case fans. Companies such as Corsair spend so much money on the case design and materials but cheap out on the fans. The original case fans were only sleeve-bearing models, and none of them had PWM capability (they had only three-pin connectors, and they originally came with three-pin-to-Molex-power-supply adapters). Well, all three of them started whining fairly annoyingly after about seven years of me owning this case (a Corsair Graphite Series 230T black case with no side window). So I ended up replacing all three fans with new Corsair LL120 RGB fans (the 3-pack of fans also come with the required RGB Lighting Hub and Lighting Node Pro hardware pieces, whereas the individual fans require separate purchases of those two components). It was on sale for under $100 - a $100 savings from the regular prices of the separate fans and hubs that were contained in the three-pack fan package (although to be honest, even the three-pack's regular price of $130 is a good deal compared to the $195 total price of all of those separate components).

 

I ended up moving the Ryzen 9 5900X to this mid-tower system (using the Asus ROG Strix X570-F Gaming motherboard that until recently was running a Ryzen 7 3800X that had a flaky memory controller that was recalcitrant at running gaming RAM at its advertised XMP/DOCP settings). My GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER was also moved back into this bigger box (as were the two 32 GB sticks of DDR4-3600 RAM). As a side note, I ended up also replacing an Asus-branded 802.11ac PCIe wireless card which had a Broadcom chipset with a new TP Link 802.11ax card which has an Intel AX200 NGFF module preinstalled; all I needed for that card to function was a connection from the card to an available USB 2.0 header on the motherboard for Bluetooth functionality.

 

And sure enough, my reassembled bigger system did bench slower than my mini-ITX system with the same CPU, GPU and RAM in the PugetSystem's PugetBench benchmark testing. But I would accept a slight falloff in performance for more versatility.

 

By the way, this 230T has lasted all those years since I originally installed an Asus Z97-AR motherboard with an Intel i7-4790K CPU, 32 GB of DDR3-1600 RAM and a GeForce GTX 660 in it, with the eVGA 750 G2 PSU in service for almost as long.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 27, 2021 Jul 27, 2021

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I have since acquired a third computer case - an older ATX mid-tower case with a top-mount PSU. It currently has a 520W PSU, an old Z68 chipset mATX motherboard with an old Intel i5-2400 CPU. And since that older CPU/motherboard combo is now "obsolete" in the sense that there were no new updated drivers or even security fixes for those components, I am tempted to upgrade those innards with newer-gen components as well. The motherboard will likely be the first AMD AM4 motherboard that I have ever purchased, an Asus PRIME X570-P, and more than likely either an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X CPU that I will be pulling out of my mini-ITX breadbox PC or a new AMD Ryzen 5 5600X CPU. The GPU will be a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti that I currently have in my parts bin. (I do not trust my 3800X that has a flaky memory controller to that old case and PSU, especially since that case could only accommodate two 120mm fans total.)

 

If I do move my 3700X to this resurrected third mid-tower, then I will be able to upgrade my mini-ITX system to a Ryzen 7 5800X.

 

This would be a sensible plan as it would minimize the additional expense in purchasing additional components.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 18, 2021 Aug 18, 2021

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My plan for this mid-tower ATX case has changed. I do not really need a third PC for myself to begin with. Instead, I will be prioritizing on getting updated and upgraded core components for it in preparation for the replacement and retirement of my brother's current prebuilt PC that's now over eight years old (it is a prebuilt Dell that's still equipped with an old Intel i7-4770 Haswell CPU that has been upgraded over the years with more RAM, a more up to date GTX 1060 6 GB card and a 1 TB SATA SSD).

 

And since I will be sticking with Intel with this particular overhaul, I do not want to spend an excessive amount of money for the new components (although I will have to spend at least some good amount, which is unavoidable in this situation). The thought of going Ryzen 5000 series is out the door at this point. Instead, a 10th- or 11th-Gen Intel CPU with either 6 or 8 cores is now in the plan. A new PSU and 32 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM are also planned for this overhaul. The existing GTX 1060 will do for this build, and all of the existing internal drives will also be carried over into the new overhauled system; however, I will consider adding an m.2 NVMe SSD in addition to the other disks.

 

I have already removed the existing Kepler-era GPU, the old Sandy Bridge-era motherboard and the existing power supply unit. I will also be removing the existing fans and installing new fans into the case.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 29, 2021 Aug 29, 2021

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As an update to this third build, I ultimately went AMD on this one because buying a new 10th- or 11th-Gen Intel i5 CPU plus a good-quality motherboard equipped with good VRMs would have cost me more money than simply buying a Ryzen 5 5600X CPU. And because mid-tower ATX cases still have greater air circulation than breadbox-style mini-ITX cases, I decided to move the GTX 1650 SUPER to this third system while putting the older GTX 1050 Ti into the Ryzen 7 3700X-equipped mini-ITX system. And since the case does not have front USB 3.0 ports, I decided to install a 5.25" bay front panel for those ports, and replace an old USB 2.0 card reader with a newer USB 3.0 card reader into the ATX case's 3.5" bay.

 

For the time being, the old 520W Antec High Current Gamer PSU remains in the older mid-tower case that now holds the 5600X/1650 Ti combo. Two 500 GB 2.5" SATA SSDs are also inside the case as placeholders. I will be planning to replace both SATA SSDs with a 500 GB m.2 NVMe SSD and a 1 TB m.2 NVMe SSD. A new 650W PSU (likely from Seasonic) will follow in the not-too-distant future.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 23, 2023 Aug 23, 2023

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Several updates to my mini-ITX AMD Ryzen 7 3700X breadbox build:

 

I have updated it with one 500 GB and one 1 TB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs, and upgraded its RAM from 32 GB to 64 GB by replacing the two 16 GB DIMMs with two 32 GB DIMMs. Finally, I decided to give AMD Radeon a try after more than a decade of being Nvidia-exclusively replacing the now-underpowered GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER with a new Radeon RX 6700 XT.

 

The reason why I decided to give Radeon another try is that beginning with the 23.4 version of Premiere Pro, CUDA support in MPE began to be effectively depreciated for Windows systems, sending some of its rendering features to OpenCL which would then be re-translated into CUDA. This significantly affects the GPU effects score when I ran PugetBench for Premiere Pro 0.95.6 (it's now up to version 0.98).

 

My testing with the 6700 XT showed that the GPU affects score has improved greatly with the newer architectures, especially when I ran PugetBench 0.98 (where the 6700 XT scored more than 46 in the Standard GPU Effects score versus just under 25 with the old GTX 1650 SUPER). The two did score much closer to one another with earlier versions of PugetBench which heavily favored CUDA at the time.

 

For all the improvements in encoding and rendering performance, timeline playback remains the Radeon GPUs' weakest point, scoring significantly below that of Nvidia.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 03, 2023 Dec 03, 2023

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The PugetBench tests have been updated, and PugetBench for Premiere Pro is now (along with PugetBench for Photoshop) part of the new PugetBench for Creators package. Under this new version of the Premiere Pro benchmark test my 3700X/6700 XT combo scored pretty well in the testing, with only the RAW-format test scores lagging significantly behind those with otherwise-comparable-performing Nvidia GPU-equipped PCs.

 

Photoshop, on the other hand, although its scores were quite typical for a Windows system with that CPU, I was kinda shocked that my M1 MacBook Air scored pretty close to this 8-core/16-thread PC even though the MacBook had only 8 GB of RAM! (Of course, the MacBook Air lagged behind in the Premiere Pro tests, where its score using the Standard preset scored only about 35 percent as high as the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X system.)

 

And I wouldn't expect the 3700X/6700 XT combo to score as high as my main Intel i7-12700K/RTX 4070 Ti main system (only about 55 percent of the performance of that of the Intel/Nvidia main PC).

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Community Expert ,
Dec 03, 2023 Dec 03, 2023

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Thanks for posting. I'll have to get the new test.

 

Stan

 

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LEGEND ,
Dec 03, 2023 Dec 03, 2023

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LATEST

Speaking of my MacBook Air, it scored double that of an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U Windows laptop with its integrated graphics. Now I know why:

 

  1.  The 5700U's integrated graphics is of the pre-RDNA generation. And we now know just how terrible the GCN-era graphics (integrated or discrete) performs in Premiere Pro for hardware rendering.
  2.  Adding insult to injury, the integrated graphics inside those older-gen Ryzen mobile APUs have hardware decoding (4:2:0 only) but no hardware encoding capability.
  3.  The integrated AMD Radeon graphics manages to steal even more system RAM for processing purposes than any integrated Intel UHD graphics ever did.

 

Put them all together, and now we know that AMD APU-powered laptops (especially 5000-series and earlier APU-powered ones) that lack a discrete GPU are very poor at content creation tasks, especially since they eat up much more power than any Apple Silicon MacBook while performing much worse.

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