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OTV Technologies has been catering to performance desktop computer enthusiasts in Saskatchewan for the last 18 years. Released on February 14th, 2018. it has already started building computer systems for customers using the new Ryzen APUs. Photo by Josh Diaz.


 A new computer product has hit store shelves in Regina, that is, if you’re able to find it on any shelves at all.

Launched in 2018, computer chip manufacturer AMD released a new line of Ryzen Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), with the introduction of the Ryzen 3 2200G, priced at $134.99, and the Ryzen 5 2400G priced at $204.99, both with Vega Graphics.

Saskatchewan based computer part wholesaler, OTV Technologies received an initial batch of 12 Ryzen APUs two weeks after they launched.

“They sold out almost instantly,” said Regina OTV sales associate Rafael Ranaldo.

“In about four hours they were gone.”

What has made the new Ryzen APUs so sought after is their unique makeup, that takes two of the most powerful, most expensive computer components, the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and combines them into one product.

The CPU is the brain of any computer, responsible for carrying out the instructions of all the computer’s programs to make sure everything runs accordingly. The GPU is an entirely different piece of technology with only one goal, to create the graphics that make up everything on the computer’s screen. A task that has become more and more power demanding as each year brings with it a new batch of graphical improvements in workstation and video game products.

Modern GPUs are very good at performing those tasks. However, unfortunatly for typical customers, GPUs are even better at doing a task they were never designed for.

Cryptocurrency mining.  

Starting back in January, 2017. popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and etherium started to drastically increase in value. Beginning at just $13 dollars per share for etherium, and $1200 dollars per coin for bitcoin, both currencies reached record high values in December, 2017. at approximately $600 per share for ethereum, and approximately $22,000 per coin for bitcoin.

“Mining” uses the power of GPUs to extract these forums of electronic currency off the internet, with the only costs being the cost of the initial hardware and electricity to keep the GPU’s running. Because of this, GPUs that were meant for gaming and workstation computers were purchased in bulk by companies looking to  mine the currencies at their high prices, with often dozens, even hundreds of GPUs mining for one system, all turning a profit.

The result was drastic inflation of GPU prices, with highly sought after GPUs like the Nvidia GTX 1070 jumping from an MSRP of $429 to well over $1200, if you could even find them in stock at all. For new PC buyers and system builders, the result was an almost 40 per cent increase in the cost of a new performance desktop computer over the course of one year.

This is where the new Ryzen APU shines.

Because of its low performance CPU integration, AMD’s new APUs do not make for effective cryptocurrency mining tools, helping them avoid the GPU inflated prices.

While AMD’s new APU’s integrated graphics are only about 50 per cent as powerful the GTX 1050Ti, a budget oriented GPU from Nvidia priced at $169.99, and currently inflated to $299.99, the Ryzen 5 2400G is able to play games, and function as a workstation effectively with only a few performance drawbacks. All while saving the customer hundreds of dollars as they hold out for the stabilization of GPU prices.

“The current PC climate is ridiculous with mining,” said Ranaldo.

“This is a product (Ryzen 5 2400G) that I think a lot of our customers have been waiting for, and it shows.”  

Julian Thompson was one of the few customers who was able to purchase one of the first Ryzen APUs from OTV Technologies. He says so far he’s very happy with his purchase.  

“I had been saving to build myself a computer for a while now,” said Thompson.

“I’ve accepted that prices are currently high. At least with this new chip I’ll be able to build my system and get my work done.”

But computer enthusiasts and people who use their computers as workstations are not the only ones who could see a benefit from this new Ryzen design. Companies like Dell have already made plans on offering the new APU in some of their pre-built PCs and laptops, potentially passing some of the saving on to more general computer customers as well.

The new APUs are currently available for purchase online for desktop computerss. With the addition of a compatible motherboard and RAM, most existing desktop computers can be upgraded to the new APU with minor modifications.

OTV Technologies has since ordered more chips, and says it expects to meet the demand here in Regina.

“Current GPU pricing has made building and buying performance computers a problem for some of our more budget-oriented customers, ” said Ranaldo.

“I think they may have found their solution.”