It’s semi-shrunk, but is it truly second gen?
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Review – AMD’s ryzen was a very long time coming. So much so, some industry observers worried whether AMD would survive long enough to bring it to market. But AMD did, and here we are just over a year later. In the meantime, the original Ryzen CPU family inserted a flying nocturnal insectivore up the metaphorical nightdress of the PC processor market. And now we have AMD’s second-generation Ryzen processor in hand. AMD is back, and it’s all for the better, even if you don’t buy an AMD CPU.
It’s arguably a stretch to characterize the Ryzen 7 2700X chip as truly second gen. Architecturally, the narrative involves Zen+ while previous Ryzens were Zen. But there are no changes to the physical design, no new features, no additional cores, no added PCI Express lanes, no increased cache memory, nothing. This chip is all about changes to the production process, plus a few firmware tweaks.
The big upgrade, then, is the shift from manufacturing partner Global Foundries’ existing 14nm technology to its latest 12nm node. At which point we partially enter the realm of difficult-to-confirm claims, short of pulling apart the processor, and putting it under an electron microscope, at least. GloFo says tweaks to its 14nm node make for a partial optical shrink, and in turn a 15 percent increase in feature density.
Arguably more important and something we can assess, albeit indirectly, is GloFo’s claim of a 10 percent performance improvement with 12nm over the old 14nm process. On paper, AMD says that translates into an overall uplift of around 250MHz, to 4.35GHz, with single-threaded workloads, and all-core overclocks of 4.2GHz. More specifically regarding this eight-core, 16-thread 2700X CPU model, that means a base clock of 3.7GHz, and a maximum Turbo of 4.3GHz.
CLAIMS TO FAME
That compares with 3.6GHz and 4.0GHz respectively for the fastest equivalent chip from the first-generation Ryzen family, the 1800X. For the record, there will be no 2800X processor. This is as good as it gets for now, although AMD has not ruled out a 2800X model in future. But how good, exactly, is the new 2700X? Actually, it’s more or less exactly as good as the claims we’ve just laid out.
Take the 2700X, and slap it into exactly the same PC that was just running an older 1800X. Same motherboard, same memory, same cooling. Then run the numbers. The 1800X scores 1,640 points in Cinebench. Multiply that by the 10 percent performance improvement the new process supposedly delivers, and the result is 1,804 points. The reality? 1,814.
That applies pretty much across the board. At least, it does where CPU performance is the deciding factor. The Total War game test is clearly bottlenecked by the GPU, not processor performance.
Indeed, this 10 percent paradigm even applies to overclocking. The 1800X fitted to our test rig maxes out at 3.9GHz on all cores. Add 10 percent, and you should see 4.2GHz from the new 2700X, right? Indeed you do. The downside to that predictability is that it means the new 2700X resembles the old 1800X, in not offering any worthwhile overclockability using conventional components and without significant hand-tuning. At 4.2GHz, the 2700X scores 1,888 points in Cinebench. Barely any faster at all than stock clocks.
All of which means this new second-gen Ryzen CPU is not a radical step forward. It’s not even a slam dunk in terms of being an obviously better choice than a first- gen Ryzen. The carry-over architecture means the choice is a simple matter of bang for buck. If you could find an older model sufficiently cheaply, it would still be a compelling option. However, the 2700X does build upon all of the original Ryzen CPU’s strengths. It delivers slightly more performance for slightly less money. It won’t revolutionize your world, but it’s unambiguously better than what was already a very good CPU.
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
AMD’s second-gen Ryzen slots into the same AM4 socket as before.
- Improves on an already good CPU
- More performance for less money
- Maintains the same socket
- Still no overclocking headroom
- Not super-new design
|Max PCIe Lanes||24(16+4+4)|
|AMD Ryzen 7 2700X||AMD Ryzen 7 1800X|
|Cinebench R15 Single/Multi (Index)||1,814||1,640|
|Tech ARP’s X264 (Avg fps)||31.7||28|
|Fry Render (m:s)||2:14||2:29|
|AIDA64 Latency (ns)||68.4||77.3|
|AIDA64 Memory Bandwidth (MB/s)||46,506||46,544|
|Power Draw Idle/Load (W)||91/221||76/199|
|Total War: Warhammer II (3 1080p (Avg fps)||73||73|
|3DMark Fire Strike Integrated/Dedicated (Index)||17,855||16,836|
|Maximum Overclock (GHz)||4.2 (1888 CB15)||3.9 (1678 CB15)|
|Price to Performance (Index)||5.50||5.13|
|Best scores are in bold. Our test bed consists of an MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC, 16GB (2x 8GB) of Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, and a Samsung 850 Evo 500GB SSD.
All games were tested at 1080p on the highest graphical profile.