AMD's Ryzen 7 2700 boasts many of the same features as the flagship 2700X, including an eight-core architecture and 16MB of L3 cache. But it loses quite a bit of steam in our benchmarks due to its lower clock rates. Overclockers can get comparable performance out of both CPUs, but they need to replace the stock heat sink and fan with higher-end aftermarket cooling first. This sullies any value advantage the 2700 might have enjoyed.
How does a frequency disadvantage affect the 2700's viability in a gaming PC versus AMD's Ryzen 7 2700X? The charts below plot performance using average frame rates and a geometric mean of the 99th percentile frame times (a good indicator of smoothness), which we then convert into a FPS measurement. We also present price-to-performance charts that get split up to include CPUs-only and extra platform costs. For the models that don't come with a bundled cooler, we add an extra $25 for a basic heat sink. We also add $20 if overclocking requires a more expensive motherboard (as is the case for Z370).
When it comes to gaming, an overclocked Ryzen 7 2700 provided a statistically insignificant ~1 FPS advantage over the 2700X in 99th percentile frame rates. In essence, both tuned processors offer a very similar experience through our suite. It's unfortunate, then, that you need to buy an aftermarket cooler in order to overclock Ryzen 7 2700 to its potential. So much for the $30 savings versus Ryzen 7 2700X.
That means you get more value from AMD's flagship than the stepped-down Ryzen 7 2700. In fact, at stock settings, even a Core i5-8400 is roughly equivalent to the 2700. And it costs $110 less. And you can drop it into affordable motherboards. Intel's stock cooler is fine, too. You get the picture.
Similar trends surfaced in our desktop productivity tests. Ryzen 7 2700's frequency deficit resulted in notably less performance than a stock Ryzen 7 2700X across the board. Although Ryzen 7 2700 is faster than Intel's Core i5-8400 and -8600K in threaded workloads thanks to its eight-core design, AMD's own Ryzen 7 2700X is more compelling if you're interested in those types of applications.
If you tune the memory, the Ryzen 7 2700X doesn't gain much from overclocking the cores. That means you can pair the 2700X and its stock cooler with a capable memory kit and get impressive performance. In contrast, you'll have to invest in a more capable cooler to achieve the same level of performance with the Ryzen 7 2700. That largely negates the 2700's scant $30 price advantage.
Gone are the days of AMD selling its X-series Ryzen CPUs at higher prices and without thermal solutions. Newer models like the Ryzen 7 2700X only cost a bit more than the 2700, plus they also include a heat sink and fan. We'd rather spend the extra $30. Of course, gamers might want to go another direction. Intel's Core i5-8400 costs less and is every bit as quick in our favorite titles. And then there's the Ryzen 5 2600X, which is surprisingly fast across a broader range of workloads and much more affordable.
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