AMD Ryzen 7 2700 Review: The Non-X Factor

AMD's Ryzen 7 2700 includes the same eight cores as its more expensive Ryzen 7 2700X flagship, plus simultaneous multi-threading technology that allows each core to work on two software threads at the same time. But its clock rates are trimmed back to create a $30-cheaper model sporting a little less performance. Even though the 2700 loses its enthusiast-targeted X modifier, AMD still arms the chip with an unlocked ratio multiplier for flexible overclocking. And this less expensive CPU should hit nearly the same frequencies as the Ryzen 7 2700X we like so much.

Last generation, plenty of overclocking headroom and lower prices earned AMD's non-X Ryzen SKUs praise up and down the stack. Much of that was based on the company's bundled coolers, though. For example, the then-flagship Ryzen 7 1800X launched at $500 with no thermal solution at all. Meanwhile, the Ryzen 7 1700 sold for $330 with a cooler in the box. Now, AMD bundles a heat sink and fan with all of its new Ryzen chips. Moreover, it only sells 2700 at a $30 discount. Worse, although it's possible to match Ryzen 7 2700X's performance after a bit of overclocking, you need an aftermarket cooler to get there. AMD's freebie won't cut it. This time around, there's not much reason to step down a tier.

Ryzen 7 2700

With its 2000-series Ryzen processors, AMD was challenged to deliver more than the incremental improvements we've been seeing from Intel lately. To begin, the company swapped out its 14nm manufacturing process with a 12nm node, enabling higher clock rates at the same power consumption levels. AMD also optimized the Zen architecture by adding more sophisticated multi-core boost algorithms and lowering cache and memory latencies. Together, those changes enable speed-ups in pretty much every type of workload we test with, and they're all baked in to Ryzen 7 2700.


AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
AMD Ryzen 7 2700
Ryzen 7 1700
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Intel Core i7-8700K
Intel Core i5-8600K
Intel Core i5-8400
MSRP
$329
$349
$299
$299
$219
$229
$199
$359
$257
$182
Cores/Threads
8/16
8/16
8/16
8/16
6/12
6/12
6/12
6/12
6/6
6/6
TDP
105W
95W
65W
65W
95W
95W
65W
95W
95W
65W
Base Freq. (GHz)
3.7
3.6
3.2
3.03.6
3.6
3.4
3.7
3.6
2.8
Precision Boost Freq. (GHz)
4.3
4.1
4.13.8
4.0
4.2
3.9
4.7
4.3
4.0
Cache (L3)
16MB
16MB
16MB
16MB
16MB
16MB
16MB
12MB
9MB
9MB
Unlocked Multiplier
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Cooler
105W Wraith Prism (LED)
-
95W Wraith Spire (LED)95W Wraith Spire
-
95W Wraith Spire
65W Wraith Stealth
-
-
Intel

AMD rates its Ryzen 7 2700 at a much lower 65W thermal design power than its 105W Ryzen 7 2700X. That's partly why the 2700's base frequency is a much more conservative 3.2 GHz, while its maximum Precision Boost clock rate tops out at 4.1 GHz. You'd think, then, that the bundled 95W Wraith Spire thermal solution with LED lighting would be beefy enough for aggressive overclocking. It's not, though. If you're really after Ryzen's peak potential, purchase a more capable aftermarket heat sink/fan combination or closed-loop liquid cooler.

All 2000-series Ryzen CPUs are compatible with motherboards sporting new X470 or older 300-series chipsets. You can even overclock the new processors on value-oriented B-series platforms. While lower-cost 400-series chipsets aren't available yet, we're counting on them to offer a more affordable option for enthusiasts looking to tune 2000-series Ryzen CPUs.

The Ryzen 7 2700 supports up to DDR4-2933 memory, just like the 2700X. Just be aware that you'll only get those data rates with single-rank modules installed in a maximum of two slots. Even then, it takes a motherboard with six PCB layers to operate at 2933 MT/s stably. AMD uses Indium solder between its Ryzen 7 die and heat spreader, improving thermal transfer performance compared to Intel CPUs reliant on paste instead.

Like all 2000-series models, the Ryzen 7 2700 comes with StorMI Technology, which is a software-based tiering solution that blends the low price and high capacity of hard drives with the speed of an SSD, 3D XPoint, or even up to 2GB of RAM.

Precision Boost 2 And XFR2

AMD's previous-gen Ryzen processors include Precision Boost functionality, which is similar to Intel's Turbo Boost technology. They also sport a feature called eXtended Frequency Range (XFR), which enables higher clock rates when it's determined that your cooling solution has thermal headroom to spare.

The new Precision Boost 2 (PB2) and XFR2 algorithms improve performance in threaded workloads by raising the frequency of any number of cores. AMD doesn't share a list of specific multi-core PB2 and XFR2 bins because the opportunistic algorithms accelerate to different clock rates based on temperature, current, and load. However, we collected our measurements on a motherboard with solid voltage regulation circuitry and a good cooler, two requirements for optimal frequencies.

The Ryzen 7 2700 offers an impressive 4.1 GHz clock rate benchmarked in a single-threaded workload. Try as we might, though, the CPU wouldn't exhibit the same graceful downward frequency slope as AMD's 2700X as we increased the test's thread count. No doubt, Ryzen 7 2700 is a step up compared to the previous-gen Ryzen 7 1700, but its frequency drops further and faster than the 2700X.

MORE: Best CPUs

MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy

MORE: All CPUs Content

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject
39 comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • philipemaciel
    I am going to buy the 2700.

    The 65W TDP is low enough for passive cooling. That it is cheaper than the 2700X is just the icing on the cake.

    For *my* needs, it is perfect. I am more than happy to lose a little performance and have the TDP drop 40W.
  • Other Comments
  • rantoc
    @1440p or 4k the gaming difference wont be noticeable as the gpu starts to become the bottleneck. Game with an 2700x on an 3440x1440 100hz display (1080ti) and couldn't be happier as it also have the benefits of chewing through threaded workloads like a champ and that at a good price. So good mid-high res gaming with very good threaded performance, hard to beat really.
  • philipemaciel
    I am going to buy the 2700.

    The 65W TDP is low enough for passive cooling. That it is cheaper than the 2700X is just the icing on the cake.

    For *my* needs, it is perfect. I am more than happy to lose a little performance and have the TDP drop 40W.
  • mitch074
    I think @philipemaciel hit it right on the head: the 2700 is a much better choice if you're looking for a powerful CPU that sips power (65W is damn impressive, and that's before taking into account the possibilities offered by undervolting), as this puts it in a spot both the 2700X and the 2600X can't touch. For pure gaming, the 2600X is a much more sensible choice, and if you need absolute power without the need to tinker with it, the 2700X is perfect (an 8-core CPU that overclocks itself, it's a dream come true).
    Now though, it would have been better if AMD had sold those without a cooler for $20 less - the price gap with 2700X would have made it much more enticing, and overclockers could have pushed the hell out of it with watercooling etc.
  • redgarl
    You rated that 6/10? Are you mad? Also, the stock cooler is not sufficient for Overclocking? Do you realize that this is the case for all marketed CPUs?

    OMG, YOU GUYS ARE GENIUSES!
  • theyeti87
    Anonymous said:
    I am going to buy the 2700.

    The 65W TDP is low enough for passive cooling. That it is cheaper than the 2700X is just the icing on the cake.

    For *my* needs, it is perfect. I am more than happy to lose a little performance and have the TDP drop 40W.


    Your reasoning is the same logic I used in selecting my 1700 non-X. I am attracted to efficient power.
  • Combat_Medic
    "...our 4.0V Vcore, 1.2V SoC"

    That's a LOT of vcore right there!
  • PaulAlcorn
    Anonymous said:
    "...our 4.0V Vcore, 1.2V SoC"

    That's a LOT of vcore right there!


    Thanks, good eye! fixed. (1.4V)
  • LORD_ORION
    I would expect the 2700 to have longevity.

    NeoHome economics 101: Buy quality parts that/and don't push the hardware limits.
    Main System(5-7 years) becomes Utility System(5+ years)
    Repeat

    Unless of course you burn out the mainsystem in 3-4 years *factory overclocks tend to do this too). ;)
  • Garrek99
    The point of this processor is power efficiency not performance.
    Where are the performance per Watt or Temp charts?
  • ElectrO_90
    You do realise, the whole point is to sell the 2700 for $30 so they can sell the main 2700x, because people don't mind spending 10% more, unless they are really restricted for power/heat.
  • hendrickhere
    Certainly a decent processor. Still, pound for pound, the i5 8400 really can't be beat for a gaming-focused build. It's so much less expensive, draws only 65w, comes with a cooler, and plays games better than essentially all but two processors (8600 and 8700). Not really seeing many downsides from a gaming perspective.
  • cknobman
    Dont agree at all with your final score.

    This is a 65w processor meant for lower power yet you judge it based on its boxed cooler and overclocking potential out of the box????

    Headslapper
  • Ninjawithagun
    Confusingly, Tom's uses different math when it comes to cost vs. performance. Case in point, they gave a 10/10 for the highly overpriced Corsair AX1600i ($499), but then turn around and give the 2700 6/10 just because the stock cooler is inadequate for overclocking. Tom, what are you smoking?
  • Giroro
    Anonymous said:
    You rated that 6/10? Are you mad? Also, the stock cooler is not sufficient for Overclocking? Do you realize that this is the case for all marketed CPUs?

    OMG, YOU GUYS ARE GENIUSES!


    I believe their point is that you CAN overclock the 2700x to 4.2GHz using the stock cooler, and the 2700x only costs $30 more. So it is not a good value to buy a 2700 and add a ~$30 cooler when you can get a 2700X that will do everything you need out of the box - to the point that overclocking doesn't add enough to be worth it. In some cases overclocking to an all-core 4.2GHz even degrades the performance of a 2700x when it can boost single-threads to 4.3GHz, once again using the stock cooler.

    It seems like selling the 2700 isn't even AMD's plan, they just want to make the 2700x look like a better value by comparison - anything to distract from how they raised the price of the 2700x over the current 1700x MSRP.
  • Giroro
    On the workstation charts the overclock of the i-5 changed from 4.9 GHz down to 4.2, which seems like a mistake.
    I know sometimes different teams do the productivity benchmarks, but why would an i-5 @ 4.2 be able to trade blows with an i7 @ 4.9?
  • rantoc
    @Ninjawithagun: Its not surprising really, it just confirms certain bias that's painfully obvious at times.
  • ElectrO_90
    Anonymous said:
    @Ninjawithagun: Its not surprising really, it just confirms certain bias that's painfully obvious at times.


    People seem to forget that Intel has a big hand in Toms....
  • cryoburner
    Anonymous said:
    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.

    There is one obvious advantage. Anyone who was intending on overclocking and using a third-party cooler anyway, might arguably be better off going with the 2700 and putting that extra $30 toward their cooling solution of choice. In that case, it's not going to matter much what the stock clocks were set to, and the stock cooler isn't going to get used either way. In fact, in the 2700X review, you didn't seem very confident about the overclocking capability of the included Wraith Prism cooler, writing that you "recommend a capable closed-loop or custom water cooler for overclocking." Granted, in most tasks the 2700X performs fairly similar at stock clocks as it does overclocked, but you didn't seem enamored by the cooler's noise levels either, writing that "the cooler is loud" and that it "can even be a bit noisy even when the system is idling". So, there's certainly reason someone might not want to use the cooler included with the 2700X.

    If someone wants to run stock clocks, the 2700X is probably worth the extra $30. If someone wants to overclock with a third-party cooler though, they might as well go with the 2700 instead, and not pay extra for a larger stock cooler that they're not going to make use of anyway. If anything, this makes more sense than the first-generation Ryzen lineup. The 1700 and 1600 were indeed a good value compared to their "X" counterparts, but that's mainly because those higher-end models were arguably overpriced for what you got. There was little reason for AMD not to include a stock cooler with the 1600X, 1700X and 1800X, especially when the 1600 and 1700 could offer similar overclocked performance on their stock coolers.

    This review seems overly negative for a CPU that offers stock performance in the vicinity of an 1800X, bundled with the same cooler as the 1700, and having additional room for overclocking when provided with adequate cooling, all at a price below $300. For strictly gaming performance, you would probably be just as well off with a 6-core processor in today's games, but for those looking for heavily-multithreaded performance and wanting to use another cooler anyway, the 2700 arguably offers a decent value.
  • mossberg
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    @Ninjawithagun: Its not surprising really, it just confirms certain bias that's painfully obvious at times.


    People seem to forget that Intel has a big hand in Toms....


    Yet they gave the 2700x the best overall CPU label, for best CPU's. Also gave the 2400g the budget pick, and the 2200g the entry level pick. You fanboys really need to give it a rest already. :pfff:
    https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-cpus,3986.html
  • Rogue Leader
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    @Ninjawithagun: Its not surprising really, it just confirms certain bias that's painfully obvious at times.


    People seem to forget that Intel has a big hand in Toms....


    Really? Where did you get this info?!

    Man I am getting screwed I have never gotten my Intel Paycheck!

    Boss, Boss! I want my Intel Hush money, they are figuring us out! :sarcastic: