AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Review: The second-gen CPU that gamers have been waiting for Review

What is the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X?

The AMD Ryzen 7 2700X is AMD's new flagship CPU. Built using a new 12nm manufacturing process, it's basically a version of last year's AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, but there are a couple of new features under the hood.

Mainly, the new faster base clock speed of 3.7GHz and increase the clock speed of 4.3GHz will be the main attraction of this processor. That and its eight cores, simultaneous multiprocessing and much better overclocking.

AMD has also remained true to its promise to have its second-generation Ryzen processors with the existing X370 motherboards. So, if you arrive early with a first-generation Ryzen processor, there is an easy upgrade path available. In addition, all new Ryzen 2 processors are unlocked to facilitate overclocking.

This release also includes the Ryzen 7 2700 eight-core and the AMD Ryzen 7 2600X and 2600 six-core, as well as a new motherboard chipset: the X470.

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AMD Ryzen 2700X and 2600X

It is easy to forget the great impact that the Ryzen 1800X had just one year after its launch. AMD had not been able to match Intel in terms of clock-by-clock performance for ten years, and suddenly it had parity again.

Add in the fact that Intel had exceeded the ages in four cores for any of its main processors and the arrival of an eight-core fast AMD chip meant that Intel had to respond.

A year later, and the CPU landscape has changed a lot. By the end of 2018, Intel launched its 8th Gen Core processors, which saw a complete overhaul of the company's alignment. Now you can get six-core processors at the top end and even the entry-level chips offer quad-core performance; previously they had been restricted to double core. All this without any significant increase in the price.

In addition, with this release Intel extended its advantage over AMD in terms of clock speed. The Ryzen 7 1800X reaches a maximum of 4GHz, while the Core i7-8700K reaches 4.7GHz. That's a significant difference, whichever way you look at it, and the Intel chip could also overclock too much. In particular, this meant that Intel retained its crown as the best choice for players, since the clock's speed is still king in that domain.

All of which brings us to the second generation of Ryzen. It was clear that AMD needed to increase those clock speeds, which is precisely what it has done.

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The speed of the base clock has increased from 3.6GHz in the 1800X to 3.7GHz in the Ryzen 7 2700X, while the speeds of Clock increments have gone from 4GHz to 4.3GHz.

Now, although these are not exactly astronomical jumps, they are enough to keep AMD in contention – especially if it can also offer those same speeds in lower-tier and quad-core products. An eight-core chip like the 2700X is actually excessive for most users, but a quad-core Ryzen at 4-4.3 GHz could be the ideal choice for players on a budget.

At this time, there are only four launch processors. There's the Ryzen 7 2700 eight-core slower along with two Ryzen 5 six-core models. The Ryzen 5 2600X is an update to last year's 1600X, retaining the same clock base rate of 3.6 GHz, but the boost speed increases from 4 GHz to 4.2 GHz. The Ryzen 5 1600, meanwhile, sees an increase of 200MHz for both its base and to increase clock speeds, on the Ryzen 5 1600 last year.

MODEL NUCLEUS THREADS MAX BOOST / BASE CLOCK SPEED (GHZ) Smart Prefetch Cache TDP COOLER SEP (USD) AVAILABILITY
Ryzen ™ 7 2700X 8 16 4.3 / 3.7 20MB 105W Wraith Prism (LED) $ 329 April 19
] Ryzen ™ 7 2700 8 16 4.1 / 3.2 20MB 65W Wraith Spire (LED) $ 299 April 19
Ryzen ™ 5 2600X 6 12 4.2 / 3.6 19MB 95W Wraith Spire $ 229 April 19
Ryzen ™ 5 2600 ] 6 12 3.9 / 3.4 19MB 65W Wraith Stealth [19659027] $ 199 April 19
Core i7-8700K 6 12 4.7 / 3.7 12MB [19659027] 95W NA $ 350 Available
Core i7-8600K 6 6 4.3 / 3.6 9MB 95W NA [19659027] $ 240 Available

Beyond this, the four processors are relatively unchanged in terms of main features. All have slightly larger L3 caches, which helps reduce the need for fast RAM to get the best performance from these processors.

Otherwise, they use the same Zen architecture (we will not cover much here, you can read more in our 1800X review) and they fit the same AM4 motherboards. That said, there are some adjustments that are worth mentioning.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X – XFR2 and Precision Boost 2

There are two key technologies at play in these processors, which, while not completely new, have seen significant improvements. The first is Precision Boost 2.

Precision Boost determines how fast each chip core should run, depending on the workload. As any given core is assigned a task, it will increase its energy saving speed (in this case, 2.2GHz) to a minimum of the base clock speed (3.6GHz).

Beyond that, Precision Boost continuously increases the clock speed by 25MHz until ideally it can reach the speed of the booster clock (4.3GHz). It's about getting the most out of the CPU when it's needed, but about saving energy when it's not.

The original version worked quite well, but had one key limitation: if more than two cores required CPU time, it would automatically drop at a slower pulse rate of all cores, even though there were no thermal or electrical reasons immediate by which the cores could not work faster. This meant that, while the advertised pulse rate of the 1800X was 4 GHz, the actual boost speed whenever more than two cores were active was 3.7 GHz.

With Precision Boost 2 , this state of all nuclei is now gone. Instead, the processor constantly tries to run each core as fast as possible, only by reducing the clock speeds if the temperatures are too high or there is some other specific reason.

The result is that for scenarios such as games during streaming, or other types of multitasking where you are not fully maximizing the entire processor, as you would with a demanding multi-threaded task, such as video encoding, you should see better performance

The second technology is XFR2. This is similar to Precision Boost 2 in the management of clock speeds. But here it is about providing a final additional boost if the CPU is not too hot. XFR could increase the clock speed of up to two cores in increments of 25MHz, up to a maximum of 100MHz above the nominal boost clock, if conditions permit.

With XFR2, it can now be applied to all cores. Therefore, if you have a particularly robust cooler, then you can squeeze even more performance.

No technology absolutely revolutionizes the Ryzen processor line, but it's good to know that you should get every ounce of possible performance from these chips. 19659003] Related: Best motherboards

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X – Refrigerator 12nm, TDP and Wraith

A good proportion of the clock speed improvements we see here can be attributed to a change in manufacturing. The Ryzen chips of the previous generation were built in a 14 nm process; the new chips use a 12nm process.

This smaller transistor size reduces energy consumption and, therefore, reduces heat, and allows more chips to be made from each silicon wafer, reducing manufacturing costs per chip. The result for buyers should be faster and cheaper chips that consume less energy, or at least no more power than previous generations, despite the increase in clock speed.

However, when it comes to power usage, the 2700X AMD did not achieve that. The 1800X had a TDP of 95W, while the 2700X reached 105W. It's not a difference that fundamentally changes whether or not you opt for this chip, but it's surprising.

Maybe because of this, AMD introduced a new cooler that will ship with the 2700X. AMD left consumers to buy their own refrigerators with the first-generation high-end Ryzen processors, but it is clear that this time additional added value is needed.

AMD is not getting in the way either. The Wraith Prism is a pretty serious kit compared to the coolers included in most CPUs. It has a strong copper base and uses four heatpipes to attract heat to a thin metal radiator. On top of this lot there is a 90mm fan that includes RGB lighting, while on the side there is a switch to toggle between high and low fan speed modes.

We have not yet thoroughly tested the Prism Wraith, so we will update this review with more thoughts soon.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X – X470 and memory

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the launch of Ryzen 2 is that AMD has kept true to its promise to make its new chips compatible with AM4 motherboards. Almost.

The company has tested all existing X370 cards and they all support these new chips to the fullest. However, some B350 boards do not meet the power requirements to run a higher TDP 2700X. The processor will continue to operate, but the clock speeds can be automatically reduced to keep everything within the power delivery parameters of the board.

It's a slightly more confusing situation for customers, but in general it's still a much more preferable situation than having to buy a new motherboard, as has been the case with the latest Intel CPU updates.

Meanwhile, one of the main complaints of the original Ryzen processors was slightly dubious RAM support. The X370 chipset and Ryzen processors could, in theory, support a fast RAM, but the compatibility and stability could be irregular. It improved over time as the motherboard manufacturers updated the BIOS, but it was not completely eliminated.

This is where you might be tempted to buy a new X470 motherboard. In addition to ready-to-use support for all new CPUs, it provides official support for faster memory. The official speed allowed for the first generation chips was 2667MHz, but now it has increased to 2933MHz.

In addition, general memory compatibility has improved. We tested six different memory kits of various speeds and all worked at their claimed speeds, with all the slowest kits also easily accelerating up to 3000MHz.

Performance improvements when using faster RAM are modest, as is the case with Intel systems, too, but it's good to know there's support if you want to squeeze every drop of performance out of your system.

Another benefit of X470 is the new StoreMI technology. This allows users to combine an SSD and hard disk in a virtual disk to facilitate the tracking of their files. Automatically optimizes which files are better to store in the SSD for the best startup and application load times, but can be activated and deactivated quickly and easily.

We have not yet had an exhaustive test with technology, but it certainly seems like a potentially useful addition.