Test System 1: Intel Core i7-8700K at 3.7GHz, ASUS z370 Maximus X Hero motherboard, Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti Founder’s Edition, 32GB Ballistix Elite DDR4-3200 DRAM, Samsung 960 EVO system drive, 10TB Western Digital Gold mass storage, Corsair HX-1050 1050-watt PSU, Noctua NH-D14 dual fan CPU cooler.
Test System 2: Intel Core i7-7700K at 4.2GHz, MSI z270 Gaming M7 motherboard, Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti Founder’s Edition, 32GB Ballistix Elite DDR4-3200 DRAM, Samsung 960 EVO system drive, 10TB Western Digital Gold mass storage, Corsair HX-1050 1050-watt PSU, Noctua NH-D14 dual fan CPU cooler.
Test System 3/4: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X at 3.7GHz/AMD Ryzen 5 2600X at 3.7GHz, ASUS Crosshair VII WiFi motherboard, Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti Founder’s Edition, 16GB G.Skill Sniper X DDR4-3400 DRAM, Samsung 960 EVO system drive, 10TB Western Digital Gold mass storage, Corsair HX-1050 1050-watt PSU, Wraith Prism/Wraith Spire air coolers (included with CPU SKUs).
To conduct our performance assessments, we used a total of four systems, keeping as many components the same as we reasonably could. For our Ryzen build, we used the ASUS Crosshair VII WiFi and 16GB G.Skill Sniper X DDR4-3400 set included in the reviewer’s kit. Since this motherboard supports both the R5 2600X and the R7 2700X, swapping out each chip following its round of tests was all that was necessary. On the Intel side of things, we did have to pull parts and reassemble to keep things as consistent as possible across the board.
Our tests include 7-Zip for compression, Cinebench R15 for rendering, 3D Mark Time Spy and Fire Strike for synthetic gaming assessments (with an emphasis on CPU stress in Time Spy), and finally some real world frame rate tests.
Here are the results:
Both Zen+ chips perform admirably here. On single-threaded performance, they fall expectedly short of the higher clocked Intel chips but on multi-threaded performance, perform excellently.
When it comes to rendering, the R7 2700X rules the roost. Here we really see the benefit of those extra cores. The R5 2600X falls slightly short but remains extremely competitive for the comparatively much cheaper price.
Moving into the gaming world, we begin with the 3DMark Time Spy synthetic benchmark. Again, the 2700X just dominates thanks to its increased core count. We also see the R5 2600X also outperforms the Core i7-7700K here.
When it comes to Fire Strike, we ran out test at 1080p to keep the pressure on the CPU versus the GPU. Again, we see both Zen+ chips beat out the i7-7700K but do fall slightly short of the 8700K, though keeps a close margin.
Finally, we come to the real world frame rate tests. Even though Zen+ does close the gaps from gen 1, it still falls slightly short of Team Blue. That said, both chips over-deliver for 1080p gaming. At higher resolutions, the bottleneck shifts over to the GPU and we see frame rates disparities narrow. If you’re running a 1440p or 4K display, either the 2600X or 2700X will perform admirably depending on the GPU its paired with.
I admit to not being a master overclocker and especially not on the AMD platform. That said, I was able to achieve a stable overclock on both processors. Tweaking was fairly minimal, though it’s always advisable to ensure you know what each setting does before inputting values through your BIOS.
For the Ryzen 5 2600X, I locked in 4.1GHz on all cores with a voltage of 1.41v. Note that it’s also possible to allow the motherboard to regulate voltage; however, doing so typically results in over-volting which causes additional heat build up and faster degradation of the chip.
For the Ryzen 7 2700X, I was able to achieve an all-core overclock of 4.3GHz at 1.44v. Should you choose this route, I would recommend upgrading to a liquid cooling option as running consistently at this this frequency did cause out chip to inch up into the 80s under load.
The question is, is it worth it? As with any overclocking, that’s going to depend on your goals and cooling solutions. For me, I don’t think so. With Precision Boost 2, tweaking these chips feels unnecessary. Since both overclocks approximate the boost speeds, “locking them in” only means added heat. Allowing Precision Boost to intelligently ramp up when it’s needed seems like the easier, softer way. If you have a quality AIO or custom loop, by all means. Have fun and share how it goes!
With Zen+, AMD has delivered an incremental but meaningful update to the Ryzen platform. The value for dollar can’t be beat, and with this launch, AMD is poised once more to shake up the CPU market. Pure frame rates still fall slightly short, but less so than the past, and for the cost savings it should make any gamer building a PC think twice. If you’re streaming, creating content, or just plain gaming at a higher resolution, the Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X stand ready to deliver.
- Excellent price to performance ratio
- Solid improvement over original Zen
- For apps that make use of multiple cores, Zen+ just delivers
- Gaming at higher resolutions drastically narrows FPS gaps, leaving you with the benefits of a higher core count without an overwhelming investment
- Wraith Prism is a very good cooler; no need to replace it for gaming at stock speeds
- Precision Boost 2 now applies to all cores!
- Intel still has the edge in 1080p gaming
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.