Articles

AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen 2 2700X Zen+ CPU Review

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Thursday , April 19, 2018

AMD has made a huge push back into the CPU market over the last year with its Ryzen CPUs for the desktop market. The Ryzen started the Thread Wars and Intel has tried to answer. We are reviewing the 2nd generation Ryzen today. Did AMD take an already great CPU and make it better?

AMD Ryzen 2 2700X

In the immortal words of Navin R. Johnson, "The new Ryzen's here! The new Ryzen's here!" Maybe it did not go exactly like that, but you get the idea. We know some of you are pretty excited for this new Ryzen. Before we get into the bits and bytes of what is supposed to make this Ryzen better, I thought we would start out with a bit of eye candy.

Our new Ryzen 2700X is seated majestically on an ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi) motherboard. Our CPUs today are going to be cooled with a custom loop from XSPC consisting of a RayStorm Pro waterblock, RX480 V3 Radiator, and D5 Photon Reservoir/Pump Combo V2. We use Prolimatech PK-1 TIM. We are not lacking in the cooling department at all.

Ryzen 2 Slide Deck

This is not the complete slide deck, you can grab that here if you wish. I have grabbed the slides that I think are most likely what you want to see while weeding out most of the marketing and benchmarks.

Pricing on the Ryzen 7 2700X is set at $329. It is a 8-Core 16-Thread CPU with 20MB of cache, just like the 1700X before it. However, the big kicker is now that we are boosting clock speeds up to 4.3GHz with its new 12nm process. Now if you remember, we were very successful in getting both the 1700X and 1700 up to or near 4GHz with good cooling, so we are hoping to see the same with Ryzen 2 in getting close to its high boost speed but across all cores while fully loaded.

The Ryzen 5 2600X 6-C/12T comes in at $229, the 2600 at $199.

So what is Ryzen 2 with its "Zen+" architecture all about. First and foremost, it represents a drop to 12nm process from 14nm, but this however does not change the die size of this CPU. It is all about refining what AMD already had designed. Zen+ is basically about "cleaning up" some of the rough edges that were left on the previous design. To paraphrase from the slides above, Zen+ affords Ryzen 2 11% to 34% better latencies than Zen when it comes to L3, L2, L1 cache, and memory latency.

Don't however expect huge IPC as that is noted as less than 3%. So most of our performance is going to come from clocks and how these clocks are utilized. More on that below.

12nm brings us higher clocks and lower power by about 11% as stated by AMD.

Out of all our slides here, and you do not hand-overclock all your cores, this slide is likely the most important in the deck pertaining to the way Precision Boost has changed, and it changed a LOT. Precision Boost on the Ryzen was OK, but it simply did little for you once you got any kind of load on the CPU, which is one of the reasons we cool and overclock, right? Precision Boost 2 on the Ryzen 2 is a totally different animal, and as you will see in our benchmarks, it really shows. And the better cooling you have, the better Precision Boost 2 works. PB2 is much more dynamic, not that the original Precision Boost was "dynamic" at all. Basically once you broke a 2 core load with PB, the CPU downclocked to its base speed. PB2 waves bye-bye to that and this is a testament to the new 12nm process.

Of course AMD continue the tradition of using a soldered TIM which is very welcome compared to Intel's peanut butter topping it now applies. For those of you that asked for it, the 2700X now comes with a cooler, which has all the Frag Harder Disco Lights you could want. The Wraith Prism is a good cooler for stock clock CPU operation, but it not for overclockers. Also keep in mind that a "lesser" cooler is going to impact your Precision Boost 2 scaling as well.

A new version of Ryzen Master will be coming out. I have not played with the current version much at this time. We will likely do a full article on the new software in the future.

And of course there is a news X470 chipset with new motherboards, many that have made power delivery improvements, but that is for future motherboard reviews. The X470 has some marginal upgrades. Additional chipset lanes in PCIe Gen 3 will allow you to put down more M.2 drives and get the full benefits of the bandwidth. More USB 3.1 is now supported as well.

There are some other differences in how the X470 handles power delivery, but these differences will likely not mean a whole lot to enthusiasts that have bought "good" X370 boards that are likely over-designed from the start. And of course you will be able to use any AM4 CPU in any AM4 socket.

AMD has been very heavy on the marketing of StoreMI technology. I have yet to use this feature, but it looks like something that could be positively utilized for those of you that still rely on a combination of spinning drives and SSD drives and use both of those often. StoreMI basically marries your spinning HD, your SSD and some of your RAM into a disk system that learns what apps you use and makes loading from your HD to be cached and ready to use.