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.

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