AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Review: Redefining Ryzen

AMD's return to prominence last year found it rolling out a long stream of CPUs that pressured Intel in almost every segment of the desktop PC market. Even after Intel countered with dramatic adjustments to its processor portfolio, AMD continues gobbling up market share. Even in the face of stiff competition, AMD says it enjoys as much as 50% of CPU sales to DIYers on sites like Newegg and Amazon.

And a slow transition to 10nm manufacturing continues to leave Intel vulnerable. AMD is now ready to evolve its Zen architecture with a round of new processors. To be sure, the improvements they offer are iterative. The low-hanging fruit that made it possible for first-gen Ryzen to compete are already baked in. These chips do incorporate some notable advantages, though.

To begin, second-generation Ryzen processors are manufactured using an optimized 12nm LP node that promises performance and efficiency gains compared to the original Ryzen's 14nm LPP process. AMD also tweaked the Zen architecture, now dubbed Zen+, to support higher frequencies, more sophisticated multi-core boost rates, and faster memory/caches. Overall, the company claims that its 2000-series facilitates nearly equivalent gaming performance compared to similarly-priced Core CPUs, plus a 20% advantage in threaded workloads.

AMD certainly hasn't forgotten its core message: more cores and features for less money. The second-gen Ryzen processors are priced competitively, all models come with beefy stock coolers, and they are backward compatible with older Socket AM4 motherboards. AMD even throws in free caching software to sweeten the deal. It all starts with silicon though, so let's take a look.

Ryzen 7 2700X

Ryzen 2000-series processors, otherwise known by their "Pinnacle Ridge" code name, are based on the same basic Zen core design as previous-gen models. But they benefit from 12nm manufacturing, along with targeted tweaks to improve cache and memory latency. The company says its resulting Zen+ architecture delivers up to a 3% boost in IPC (instructions per cycle) throughput.

The CPUs still utilize a dual-CCX configuration tied, together with Infinity Fabric. Not surprisingly, then, they're divided into eight-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 and six-core, 12-thread Ryzen 5 families, both with 16MB of L3 cache. Like the Ryzens that came before, all 2000-series models boast unlocked ratio multipliers for easy overclocking. Intel, in comparison, still charges a premium for its overclockable K-series SKUs.

AMD separates its the 2000-series stack into high-performance X-series models and their non-X counterparts. But it shrinks the Ryzen 7 family from three models to two. Ryzen 7 2700X would seem to suggest a Ryzen 7 1700X replacement. However, it actually replaces the flagship Ryzen 7 1800X. AMD claims that its 2700X offers up to 12% more performance than Ryzen 7 1800X in threaded applications. Much of that improvement comes from a 100 MHz-higher base clock and 200 MHz of additional boost frequency (though multiple other refinements also contribute).

While the Pinnacle Ridge processors drop into 400-series motherboards, AMD is only releasing its X470 chipset at launch time. We still don't have a release date for the less expensive B450- and A420-based motherboards. As the company originally promised, it continues supporting Socket AM4 (and purportedly will until 2020), so the new Ryzen CPUs also work with 300-series motherboards after a BIOS update. First-gen Ryzens do work with 400-series platforms as well, allowing you to drop an older CPU into a brand-new board, if desired.


AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
AMD Ryzen 7 2700
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Intel Core i7-8700K
Intel Core i7-8700
Intel Core i5-8600K
Intel Core i5-8400
MSRP
$329
$349
$299
$219
$229
$199
$359
$303
$257
$182
Cores/Threads
8/16
8/16
8/16
6/12
6/12
6/12
6/12
6/12
6/6
6/6
TDP
105W
95W
65W
95W
95W
65W
95W
65W
95W
65W
Base Freq. (GHz)
3.7
3.6
3.2
3.6
3.6
3.4
3.7
3.2
3.6
2.8
Precision Boost Freq. (GHz)
4.3
4.1
4.14.0
4.2
3.9
4.7
4.6
4.3
4.0
Cache (L3)
16MB
16MB
16MB
16MB
16MB
16MB
12MB
12MB
9MB
9MB
Unlocked Multiplier
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Cooler
105W Wraith Prism (LED)
-
95W Wraith Spire (LED)-
95W Wraith Spire
65W Wraith Stealth
-
Intel
-
Intel

The $329 Ryzen 7 2700X should sell for $20 less than an 1800X (though prices of previous-generation chips will likely fall as long as stock is robust), while the $299 Ryzen 7 2700 lands right where you formerly found the 1700. AMD's non-X models were apparently more popular with enthusiasts since they also had unlocked multipliers, enabling similar performance as the pricier models (after some tuning) for less money. You could save $50 stepping down from Ryzen 7 1800X to the 1700, for example. But that gap shrinks to $30 this time around.

AMD's Ryzen 7 2700X grapples with Intel's $359 flagship Core i7-8700K. Though that seems like an uncomfortably close comparison, AMD allows you to overclock with one of its value-oriented B-series motherboards (B350-based, for now), whereas Intel compels users splurge on a Z-series platform for overclocking. Adding the CPU and motherboard together, Intel's premium ends up being quite a bit higher. 

Second-gen Ryzens now support up to DDR4-2933 RAM as well, trumping the Coffee Lake architecture's official DDR4-2666 ceiling (with a few caveats that we'll cover shortly). More bandwidth should help latency-sensitive apps, such as games. Also, X470 motherboards pave the way for better memory overclocking than previous-gen platforms.

AMD's first-gen X-series processors, which topped out at 95W, came without a bundled thermal solution. This time around, all 2000-series CPUs include a cooler. The 105W Ryzen 7 2700X includes a "Wraith Prism" LED cooler that features four direct-contact copper heat pipes, three independent RGB zones, switchable fan profiles, and a 39 dB(A) noise rating. The cooler is rated to dissipate 116W of waste heat in "L" mode (2800 RPM) and 124W in "H" mode (3600 RPM). Cooler Master manufactures the heat sink/fan, while AMD provides software for controlling the lighting and fan profiles. Company representatives claim the cooler represents a  roughly $43 value, and that it also allows for some overclocking headroom.

As with the generation before, AMD employs Indium solder between its die and heat spreader to improve thermal transfer. In contrast, Intel uses standard thermal interface material on its Core i7-8700K. Also, that Intel chip doesn't come with a cooler, widening the price gap between a Ryzen 7 2700X-based configuration and a current-generation unlocked Intel Core i7.

According to AMD, its 2000-series CPUs benefit from an improved SensMI suite that also includes its new StorMI Technology. The latter is a software-based tiering solution that melds the low price and high capacity of a hard drive with the speed of an SSD, 3D XPoint (including Intel's Optane parts), or even up to 2GB of RAM. AMD sold this software as a $20 add-on in the past, but now it comes free as part of the 2000-series package. As with any tiering utility, you assume the same risks of data loss inherent to a RAID 0 array. For more details about this software, read our feature: AMD and Enmotus Expand FuzeDrive Offerings

The GlobalFoundries 12nm LP Process

As mentioned, AMD's 2000-series CPUs are not manufactured on GlobalFoundries' 14nm GPP node, but rather its 12nm LP process technology. The ported-over design helps boost transistor performance, but does not affect die area or transistor density. As a result, Pinnacle Ridge's ~4.8 billion transistors and 213mm2 area remain the same as first-gen Ryzen.

Lower leakage current does enable roughly 300 MHz-higher clock rates or a 50mV core voltage reduction at any given frequency compared to 14nm manufacturing. The company also refined some of the architecture's critical pathways with higher-performance transistors. All told, AMD claims the 12nm design enables up to 11% less power consumption than 14nm-based Ryzen CPUs at the same clock rates, or up to 16% more performance at the same thermal design power. All-core overclocks are expected to land in the 4.2 GHz range moving forward.

AMD also adds other nuanced refinements to the performance story, reportedly improving L1, L2, and L3 cache latencies, while also reducing memory latency by 11%.

Ryzen 7 2700X's 105W TDP represents a 10.5% increase compared to the 1800X for a 4.65% increase in boost frequencies. That seems like a simple trade-off of power consumption for higher clock rates. But the TDP rating also takes the multi-core Precision Boost 2 and XFR2 algorithms' higher power draw into account, allowing access to Socket AM4's full 95-amp current ceiling even during stock operation. 

Precision Boost 2 And XFR2

AMD's previous-gen Ryzen processors have Precision Boost (a Dynamic Voltage Frequency Scaling implementation similar to Intel's Turbo Boost), and eXtended Frequency Range, which provides additional frequency uplift if your cooling solution has thermal headroom to spare. Those 1000-series CPUs only offer dual-core or all-core Precision Boost and XFR clock rates. But lightly-threaded applications (like games) often offload less-critical tasks to other threads. Unfortunately, light helper threads can apply enough of a load to trigger the lower all-core frequency, limiting performance potential even when the CPU could be operating at higher clock rates.


The new Precision Boost 2 (which debuted on the desktop with AMD's Raven Ridge processors) and XFR2 algorithms improve performance in threaded workloads by raising the frequency of any number of cores. Precision Boost 2 delivers up to 500 MHz-higher clocks during multi-core workloads, while XFR2 adds an additional 7% boost if your cooler is beefy enough. This extends Ryzen's already-strong threaded performance to a wider variety of tasks, though it levels off when the processor reaches 60°C (tCase) or 95 amps of current. Precision Boost 2 and XFR2 also work on 300-series motherboards.

AMD doesn't share a list of specific multi-core Precision Boost 2 and XFR2 bins, because its opportunistic algorithms achieve different frequencies based on temperature, current, and load.

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    Top Comments
  • Sakkura
    Anonymous said:
    Once again, Tom's provides an incorrect comparison in this review. Intel's 8700K is comparable to the 2600 or 2600X and NOT the 2700 or 2700X. Just count the number of cores and threads and one should be able to figure that out O.o


    The 2700X costs $329, the 8700K costs $359. It is a very reasonable comparison to make.
  • justin.m.beauvais
    It sure is nice to see an AMD chip up there in the thick of it with Intel's best offerings. Competition has finally officially returned. I'm impressed that AMD gained so much ground and managed to make the price more competitive than the 1800x was. It is slightly disappointing that overclocking remains less impressive than the Intel offerings, but everything else sort of makes up for that.

    I didn't feel like AMD was quite "there" yet with the 1000 Ryzens, but with the 2000 series I feel like we can finally say that they have arrived.
  • bfwhsm
    Now, do the tests again with meltdown/spectre applied on intel cpus, as you should.
    And you will see a VERY different story, with 2700k destroying 8700k in almost every measure).

    (check out anandtech's review to get an idea)
  • Other Comments
  • Ninjawithagun
    Once again, Tom's provides an incorrect comparison in this review. Intel's 8700K is comparable to the 2600 or 2600X and NOT the 2700 or 2700X. Just count the number of cores and threads and one should be able to figure that out O.o

    Whine all you want. Just because you down vote me only means you don't know how to read or count :P
  • Sakkura
    Anonymous said:
    Once again, Tom's provides an incorrect comparison in this review. Intel's 8700K is comparable to the 2600 or 2600X and NOT the 2700 or 2700X. Just count the number of cores and threads and one should be able to figure that out O.o


    The 2700X costs $329, the 8700K costs $359. It is a very reasonable comparison to make.
  • tripleX
    7820X is also there with the same number of cores and threads.
  • tparkhuose
    well i know what im upgrading to now. thanks
  • justin.m.beauvais
    It sure is nice to see an AMD chip up there in the thick of it with Intel's best offerings. Competition has finally officially returned. I'm impressed that AMD gained so much ground and managed to make the price more competitive than the 1800x was. It is slightly disappointing that overclocking remains less impressive than the Intel offerings, but everything else sort of makes up for that.

    I didn't feel like AMD was quite "there" yet with the 1000 Ryzens, but with the 2000 series I feel like we can finally say that they have arrived.
  • Ninjawithagun
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Once again, Tom's provides an incorrect comparison in this review. Intel's 8700K is comparable to the 2600 or 2600X and NOT the 2700 or 2700X. Just count the number of cores and threads and one should be able to figure that out O.o


    The 2700X costs $329, the 8700K costs $359. It is a very reasonable comparison to make.


    Incorrect. It has nothing to do with price. Comparing like CPU architectures is the only logical course of action. 6 core/12 thread vs 8 core/16 thread makes no sense. Comparing the Intel 8700K 6 core/12 thread @ $347 to the AMD 2600X 6 core/12 thread @ $229.99 makes the most sense here. Once the proper math is done, AMD destroys Intel in performance vs. cost, especially when you game at any resolution higher than 1080P. The GPU becomes the bottleneck at that point, negating any IPC benefits of the Intel CPUs. I know this how? Simple. I also own a 8700K gaming PC ;-)

    Once again, whine all you want. Just because you down vote me only means you don't know how to read or count :P
  • bfwhsm
    Now, do the tests again with meltdown/spectre applied on intel cpus, as you should.
    And you will see a VERY different story, with 2700k destroying 8700k in almost every measure).

    (check out anandtech's review to get an idea)
  • Ninjawithagun
    Anonymous said:
    Now, do the tests again with meltdown/spectre applied on intel cpus, as you should.
    And you will see a VERY different story, with 2700k destroying 8700k in almost every measure).

    (check out anandtech's review to get an idea)


    I will definitely check out that review as well. Thanks bfwhsm!
  • tripleX
    Anonymous said:
    Now, do the tests again with meltdown/spectre applied on intel cpus, as you should.
    And you will see a VERY different story, with 2700k destroying 8700k in almost every measure).

    (check out anandtech's review to get an idea)


    Maybe you should read the comments on the AnandTech article. They all point out that the test results don't match any other site's results.
  • Sakkura
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Now, do the tests again with meltdown/spectre applied on intel cpus, as you should.
    And you will see a VERY different story, with 2700k destroying 8700k in almost every measure).

    (check out anandtech's review to get an idea)


    Maybe you should read the comments on the AnandTech article. They all point out that the test results don't match any other site's results.


    ... because of the different testing procedure that he just referred to.
  • tripleX
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Now, do the tests again with meltdown/spectre applied on intel cpus, as you should.
    And you will see a VERY different story, with 2700k destroying 8700k in almost every measure).

    (check out anandtech's review to get an idea)


    Maybe you should read the comments on the AnandTech article. They all point out that the test results don't match any other site's results.


    ... because of the different testing procedure that he just referred to.


    Multiple other sites have patched fully, but their results are drastically different than AT. Due to the obvious disparities, AT now says via twitter that it is investigating its results.
  • Blas
    Hi Paul, Igor, great review!
    A point to correct, on page 1: where it says "We still don't have a release date for the less expensive B470- and A470-based motherboards" it should be "We still don't have a release date for the less expensive B450- and A420-based motherboards". (Chipset numbers)
  • East17
    The the multi-core enhancement enabled on the Intel 8700K system or not ?!

    Because we see AMD's 2700X never goes beyond 105 W total power consumption while Intel's 8700K reaches 160W.

    Somehow, the Intel platform is allowed to use up to 65% more power and we believe this is not really a fair comparison.
  • PaulAlcorn
    Anonymous said:
    Hi Paul, Igor, great review!
    A point to correct, on page 1: where it says "We still don't have a release date for the less expensive B470- and A470-based motherboards" it should be "We still don't have a release date for the less expensive B450- and A420-based motherboards". (Chipset numbers)


    Thanks! Late nights around NDA time :) We'll fix it.
  • PaulAlcorn
    Anonymous said:
    The the multi-core enhancement enabled on the Intel 8700K system or not ?!

    Because we see AMD's 2700X never goes beyond 105 W total power consumption while Intel's 8700K reaches 160W.

    Somehow, the Intel platform is allowed to use up to 65% more power and we believe this is not really a fair comparison.


    We disabled MCE on all platforms (covered in test setup). I'll follow up with Igor to make sure this isn't a typo.
  • AgentLozen
    JUSTIN.M.BEAUVAUS said:

    I didn't feel like AMD was quite "there" yet with the 1000 Ryzens, but with the 2000 series I feel like we can finally say that they have arrived.


    Those are my thoughts exactly. Last year I was really happy to see AMD make tremendous progress on it's CPU architecture but if I were forced to choose between Intel and AMD, I still would have gone Intel. This was compounded when Coffee Lake came out. It was a no brainer then.

    Today's story paints a picture of how much the Zen architecture has matured in the last year. A year of development has smoothed over the wrinkles in the 1800x and made the 2700x a truly worthy competitor to Intel's 8700K.
  • jpe1701
    Maybe I missed it in the article, but does xfr2 or precision boost 2 work on x370 boards?
  • PaulAlcorn
    Anonymous said:
    Maybe I missed it in the article, but does xfr2 or precision boost 2 work on x370 boards?


    It does work on 300-series boards, but performance gains could be limited by power delivery. we cover that right at the top of page 2.
  • Ninjawithagun
    Anonymous said:
    Maybe I missed it in the article, but does xfr2 or precision boost 2 work on x370 boards?


    My current understanding is that the X370 motherboards do support XFR2 and Precision Boost 2.0. As long as your motherboard manufacturer has developed and released a compliant BIOS update, you should be good to go. I just installed my 2700X into an AsRock X370 Fatal1ty Professional Gaming motherboard (BIOS update P4.60) and this thing is running crazy fast. Running Prime95 @ 3.92Ghz on all 8 cores and 16 threads. Amazing! I do have a custom watercooling system, so that will definitely help the 2700X maintain full XFR2 and Precision Boost when I need it. Also, was able to increase my DDR4 speeds from 2933Mhz to 3200Mhz with no issues. I will try 3400Mhz and 3466Mhz later this weekend and see if those speeds run stable. So far, extremely happy with my upgrade ;-)
  • darth_adversor
    Just to make sure I understood this correctly (and I apologize if I'm a little slow): any of the 2700X's "stock" benchmarks are ran at DDR4 2667?

    Aside from that, and this is just my .02, I feel like too much emphasis is placed on average framerates on the gaming benchmarks, and not enough on minimum framerates (though I do appreciate that you include both).