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AMD Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2600X Reviewed - Next Gen Zen

By Christopher Coke on May 02, 2018 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2600X Reviewed - Next Gen Zen

The launch of Zen in 2017 shook the PC building world. After massive anticipation, AMD’s latest CPU platform redefined expectation for core count and performance per dollar, reigniting progress in a processing space that had begun to stagnate. This year, they hope to do the same with launch of the R5 2600X and R7 2700X. Did they succeed? We’re here with the answer in our official review. Read on to see just how Zen+ stacks up.

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Specifications

Ryzen 7 2700X

  • MSRP: $329.99
  • # of CPU Cores: 8
  • # of Threads: 16
  • Base Clock: 3.7GHz
  • Max Boost Clock: 4.3GHz
  • Cache: Total L1: 768KB, Total L2: 4MB, Total L3: 16MB
  • Unlocked: Yes
  • CMOS: 12nm FinFET
  • Socket: AM4
  • System Memory Type: DDR4
  • Max System Memory Speed: 2933MHz
  • Memory Channels: 2
  • PCI Express Version: PCIe 3.0 x16
  • PCI-e Lanes: 24
  • Thermal Solution: Included Wraith Prism with RGB LED
  • Default TDP / TDP: 105W
  • Max Temps: 85C
  • Supported Technologies: AMD StoreMI Technology, AMD SenseMI Technology, AMD Ryzen™ Master Utility

Ryzen 5 2600X

  • MSRP: $229.99
  • # of CPU Cores: 6
  • # of Threads: 12
  • Base Clock: 3.6GHz
  • Max Boost Clock: 4.2GHz
  • Cache: Total L1: 576KB, Total L2: 3MB, Total L3: 16MB
  • Unlocked: Yes
  • CMOS: 12nm FinFET
  • Socket: AM4
  • System Memory Type: DDR4
  • Max System Memory Speed: 2933MHz
  • Memory Channels: 2
  • PCI Express Version: PCIe 3.0 x16
  • PCI-e Lanes: 24
  • Thermal Solution: Included Wraith Spire
  • Default TDP / TDP: 95W
  • Max Temps: 95°C
  • Supported Technologies: AMD StoreMI Technology, AMD SenseMI Technology, AMD Ryzen™ Master Utility

New Generation, New Improvements

As with any new generation, performance boosting is the name of the game. With the Zen+ platform, AMD aims to push the limits in several core areas and, without spoiling too much of the performance testing coming up shortly, they’ve done a good job of achieving these goals. The production process has shifted over to a 12nm LP, which increases the circuit density from last year’s 14nm chips, though keeps the actual size of the chip the same. The real benefit here is that AMD is able to pull more performance from each bit of voltage taken in by the chip. Conversely, we could also say that the new Zen+ chips use less power to achieve the same frequencies as Gen 1.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a new generation without a boost to clock speeds. While the Ryzen 5 2600X features the same base frequency as the 1600X at 3.6GHz, it now turbos 200MHz faster at 4.2GHz. The Ryzen 7 2700x is all-around more rapid than its counterpart, the R7 1700X, coming in at 3.7GHz and 4.3GHz, 300 and 500MHz increases respectively. In fact, our 2700X is more aptly compared to last year’s flagship, the 1800X, whose clocks are ever so slightly higher, 3.6GHz and 4.0GHz, but still fall short of AMD’s new premiere 2700X.

Value for the Dollar

Though we can appreciate much about these chips, their greatest impact may just be in how we define value for the dollar. While last year’s 1800X hit the market at $499, the Ryzen 7 2700X is a clear champion in performance and comes in at only $329. That’s a whopping $170 savings - though it’s unclear if a 2800X will be coming to market in the future. The Ryzen 5 2600X, on the other hand, releases for only $229 versus the 1600X’s $249.

This pricing also positions each processor favorably alongside Intel’s current offerings in the i7-8700K and i5-8600K. Both Zen+ R5 and R7 CPUs come in up to $20 cheaper (as of this writing) while offering improved core counts, if slightly slower clock speeds. While both Intel chips offer six cores, only the Core i7 features hyperthreading.  The R7 2700X, on the other hand, features two more cores for a full 8 core/16 threads performance boost. The R5 2600X features the same six cores as the i5-8600K but opens up hyperthreading for 12 active threads.

For users whose apps make use of those extra threads, AMD’s Zen+ line is the clear value leader.

Precision Boost 2

Zen+ also brings with is a much improved Precision Boost 2 system. The original, featured on the 1000 series line, would assess the running conditions of the chip to offer heightened boost speeds. The problem, however, was that the system was limited to a maximum of two cores, leaving much of those higher-ended chips at their base clock speeds.

Precision Boost 2 works similarly but applies its boost consistently to all cores and threads so long as voltage and temperature permit it to do so. Thermal management is a limiting factor, so users running better coolers should see greater improvements for a longer period of time. In my testing at stock speeds with both pack-in Wraith coolers, I was quite impressed. For normal gaming - for us, normal use - I didn’t notice any significant drops in my clock speeds.

Improved Latency

Another area that’s seen improvement is the latency timing’s of the CPU’s cache stores. Looking back at generation one, it’s clear that, for gaming at least, there were some margins that could stand to be tightened. AMD has tweaked the utilization of the L1-L3 cache to improve overall latency, theoretically closing those margins in gaming benchmarks. They promise a 13-percent improvement in L1 latency, 34-percent for L2, 16-percent for L3, and 11-percent for DRAM latency. Moving more data faster through the chip results in an all around faster CPU in instructions per cycle, or IPC.

Improved Memory Compatibility

If there was one thorn in the side of first-gen Ryzen, it was the memory compatibility issues that plagued the platform. This was especially true for higher clocked memory - something that I found quite disappointing in my own testing as Ryzen’s Infinity Fabric benefits from faster clocked DRAM. It seems that this problem has largely been solved. Our reviewer’s kit included 16GB of G.Skill Sniper X memory clocked at 3400MHz. As expected, this kit booted up with no issues whatsoever. What about other kits?

As it happens, I had several DDR4 kits available from assorted builds and reviews. I tested 16GB 3200MHz kits from G.Skill (RipJaws V) and Patriot (Viper) and both worked fine by simply enabling the XMP profile in the motherboard’s BIOS. Cue a sigh of relief.

Improved Wraith Coolers

All of this does result in higher overall TDP on the 2700X, which necessitates a better cooler. AMD has delivered with their improved Wraith coolers included with the chip packages we received. Temperatures stayed manageable. The Wraith Prism is the more effective cooler - fitting for the more premium CPU - keeping us at a peak of 72C under load. The Wraith Spire on the 2600X hovered about 9-degrees higher, peaking at 81C.

If you’re a fan of the RGB trend, the Wraith Prism also receives the full RGB treatment and looks just gorgeous.

Click through to Page 2 to see how they held up in our performance testing and overclocking!

2 pages