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AMD Ryzen 7 2700 Review: The Non-X Factor

Our Verdict

AMD's first-generation "non-X" Ryzen processors were universally hailed as budget champions. That changes with the company's 2000-series CPUs, though. Its Ryzen 7 2700 is only $30 cheaper than the 2700X. Given a choice between them, we'd rather have the flagship's great performance and capable bundled cooler for a few dollars more.

For

  • Faster than previous-gen Ryzen models
  • Bundled cooler adds value
  • Backward compatibility with 300-series motherboards
  • Indium solder improves thermal transfer

Against

  • Needs a better cooler for overclocking
  • No value-oriented 400-series motherboards yet
  • Large performance deficit compared to a stock Ryzen 7 2700X

Go X Or Go Home

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 2700XAMD Ryzen 7 1800XAMD Ryzen 7 2700Ryzen 7 1700AMD Ryzen 5 1600XAMD Ryzen 5 2600XAMD Ryzen 5 2600Intel Core i7-8700KIntel Core i5-8600KIntel Core i5-8400
MSRP$329$349$299$299$219$229$199$359$257$182
Cores/Threads8/168/168/168/166/126/126/126/126/66/6
TDP105W95W65W65W95W95W65W95W95W65W
Base Freq. (GHz)3.73.63.23.03.63.63.43.73.62.8
Precision Boost Freq. (GHz)4.34.14.13.84.04.23.94.74.34.0
Cache (L3)16MB16MB16MB16MB16MB16MB16MB12MB9MB9MB
Unlocked MultiplierYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Cooler105W Wraith Prism (LED)-95W Wraith Spire (LED)95W Wraith Spire-95W Wraith Spire65W 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.


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  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • theyeti87
    20974031 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.
    Reply
  • Combat_Medic
    "...our 4.0V Vcore, 1.2V SoC"

    That's a LOT of vcore right there!
    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    20974322 said:
    "...our 4.0V Vcore, 1.2V SoC"

    That's a LOT of vcore right there!

    Thanks, good eye! fixed. (1.4V)
    Reply
  • 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). ;)
    Reply
  • Garrek99
    The point of this processor is power efficiency not performance.
    Where are the performance per Watt or Temp charts?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply