AMD  Ryzen 7 2700 3.2 GHz Review 24

AMD Ryzen 7 2700 3.2 GHz Review

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Introduction

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AMD's Ryzen 7 2700 is the "affordable" eight-core option from AMD in its second-generation Ryzen processor family. It succeeds the Ryzen 7 1700, which was the most successful Ryzen 7 SKU from a commercial standpoint due to its price and the fact that it includes a cooler. The first-generation Ryzen 7 series had one SKU too many, with the Ryzen 7 1700 occupying a $329 (at launch) price point, the 1700X at $399, and the top-dog 1800X at $499. The company condensed the lineup for its second generation to just two SKUs, the Ryzen 7 2700X at the performance-end and the Ryzen 7 2700 (non-X) at the "efficiency" end.

The Ryzen 7 2700 we review today is based on AMD's new 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon, which, for all intents and purposes, is AMD's answer to Intel's 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" processor family. This silicon implements the company's "Zen+" architecture, which is an incremental update to "Zen" rather than a major architectural revision. The 12 nanometer process allows AMD to lower voltages, and use it to crank up clock speeds. It also presents the company with an opportunity to improve the on-die "SenseMI" logic with updates to Precision Boost and XFR that more efficiently increase clock speeds of the processor in response to multi-threaded workloads.



There is a huge TDP gap between the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 7 2700. While the 2700X is rated at 105 W, the 2700 has its TDP rated at "just" 65 W despite their clock speeds not being all that far apart. The nominal clock of this chip is 3.20 GHz, which is 200 MHz faster than the 1700, and 500 MHz slower on paper than the 3.70 GHz of the 2700X. The boost frequencies aren't that far apart - 4.10 GHz of the 2700 as compared to the 4.30 GHz of the 2700X. What this processor lacks is XFR 2.0 in the form the 2700X has. Some of that feature remains, but it only adds a marginal amount of clock speed over the boost frequency, if your cooling is up to the job.



Interestingly, the clock speeds of the AMD Ryzen 7 2700 are lower than those of the performance-segment Ryzen 5 2600X with two fewer cores - 3.60 GHz nominal, with 4.20 GHz boost and full-fledged XFR 2.0 - which means less-parallelized software, such as games, could benefit from the higher clock speeds of the 2600X right off the bat. This leads us to wonder what the target market of the 2700 may be given its $299 price, which makes it $30 cheaper than the 2700X and $70 pricier than the 2600X. Perhaps, it's creative professionals looking for a well-priced machine capable of running multi-threaded productivity software, or (and this is a big OR) PC enthusiasts who want to take advantage of its unlocked multiplier to push it to the performance levels of the 2700X or beyond, while saving $30.

In this review, we are taking a close look at the $299 Ryzen 7 2700, at both its natural clock speeds and with it manually overclocked to 4.00 GHz. This 8-core/16-thread chip has nearly half the TDP rating of the 2700X because of reduced nominal clock speeds of 3.20 GHz and a boost of 4.10 GHz. It features 512 KB of dedicated L2 cache per core and 16 MB of shared L3 cache. The processor box includes AMD's 95 W-capable Wraith Spire cooling solution.

This review uses our updated test suite for processors in 2018, which includes the latest BIOS updates with microcode fixes for recent security issues, Windows 10 Fall Creators Update with all updates, and new software tests and games, which are all using the latest versions, too.

AMD Ryzen 2700 Market Segment Analysis
 PriceCores /
Threads
Base
Clock
Max.
Boost
L3
Cache
TDPArchitectureProcessSocket
Core i5-8600$2306 / 63.1 GHz4.3 GHz9 MB65 WCoffee Lake14 nmLGA 1151
Ryzen 5 1600X$2006 / 123.6 GHz4.0 GHz16 MB95 WZen14 nmAM4
Core i5-8600K$2506 / 63.6 GHz4.3 GHz9 MB95 WCoffee Lake14 nmLGA 1151
Ryzen 5 2600$2006 / 123.4 GHz3.9 GHz16 MB65 WZen12 nmAM4
Ryzen 7 1700$2908 / 163.0 GHz3.7 GHz16 MB65 WZen14 nmAM4
Core i7-6700K$3504 / 84.0 GHz4.2 GHz8 MB91 WSkylake14 nmLGA 1151
Core i7-7700K$3404 / 84.2 GHz4.5 GHz8 MB91 WKaby Lake14 nmLGA 1151
Core i7-8700$3006 / 123.2 GHz4.6 GHz12 MB65 WCoffee Lake14 nmLGA 1151
Ryzen 5 2600X$2306 / 123.6 GHz4.2 GHz16 MB95 WZen12 nmAM4
Ryzen 7 1700X$2908 / 163.4 GHz3.8 GHz16 MB95 WZen14 nmAM4
Ryzen 7 2700$3008 / 163.2 GHz4.1 GHz16 MB65 WZen12 nmAM4
Core i7-8700K$3506 / 123.7 GHz4.7 GHz12 MB95 WCoffee Lake14 nmLGA 1151
Core i7-7800X$3806 / 123.5 GHz4.0 GHz8.25 MB140 WSkylake14 nmLGA 2066
Ryzen 7 2700X$3308 / 163.7 GHz4.3 GHz16 MB105 WZen12 nmAM4
Ryzen 7 1800X$3208 / 163.6 GHz4.0 GHz16 MB95 WZen14 nmAM4

A Closer Look


The Ryzen 7 2700 ships in a fairly big cubical box that's slightly smaller than that of the 2700X because it includes a smaller Wraith Spire cooling solution. The box has stylized art of the cooler it includes.


Unlike the $30 pricier 2700X, which includes AMD's top-grade Wraith Prism RGB cooler that's rated for 140 W TDP and has three independent RGB LED zones, the 2700 includes the 95 W TDP capable Wraith Spire. This isn't the same variant of the Wraith Spire you'd find inside a Ryzen 7 1700 box as it lacks all lighting. There's no RGB LED-illuminated ring along the fan frame or the AMD logo. The underlying heatsink is the same, and so is the fan itself, so cooling performance isn't affected. The heatsink features a copper core welded to a hunk of aluminium with somewhat radially-projecting fins, and all of this is ventilated by a large 80 mm fan that's optimized for low noise.


The Ryzen 7 2700X package looks just like any other Ryzen socket AM4 processor. It comes with a soldered IHS (like 1st gen Ryzen, but unlike Raven Ridge APUs and Intel). AMD claims to be using a high-grade indium-alloy solder which works to lower temperatures by as much as 10°C. Enthusiasts generally prefer a soldered IHS, and gamers don't care as long as their machines run quietly enough.


AMD continues to use the AM4 socket, which means all existing Ryzen motherboards will be compatible with the new Ryzen 2000 series (after a BIOS update, which most recent boards already have). The company also plans to stick to AM4 for the rest of this decade, so there's a pretty long upgrade path ahead for this platform.

AM4 still has a rectangular cooler-mount-hole layout (as opposed to the square ones on Intel LGA platforms). AMD should have switched to a square layout to make it easier to orient tower-type coolers to blow hot air out the rear of the case. Current AM4-ready tower coolers have elaborate retention module kits that let you do so. Most popular cooler vendors are either already including AM4 retention kits with their latest coolers or will send you a mounting kit for free if you want to continue using a cooler you have. You often also have to remove the plastic retention module motherboards ship with to install certain kinds of coolers.

Architecture


At the heart of the Ryzen 7 2700 is the new 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon by AMD. This chip is based on the new "Zen+" micro-architecture in which the "+" denotes refinement rather than a major architectural change.


AMD summarizes the "+" in "Zen+" as the coming together of the new 12 nm process that enables higher clock speeds, an updated SenseMI feature-set, the updated Precision Boost algorithm that sustains boost clocks better under stress, and physical improvements to the cache and memory sub-systems, which add up to an IPC uplift of 3 percent (clock-for-clock) over the first-generation "Zen."


The biggest change of "Pinnacle Ridge" remains its process node. The switch to 12 nm resulted in a 50 mV reduction in Vcore voltage at any given clock speed, enabling AMD to increase clocks by around 0.25 GHz across the board. The switch also enables all-core overclocks well above the 4 GHz mark, to around 4.20 GHz.

AMD also deployed faster cache SRAM and refined the memory controllers to bring down latencies significantly. L3 cache latency is 16 percent lower, L2 cache latency is a staggering 34 percent lower, L1 latencies are reduced by 13 percent, and DRAM (memory) latencies by 11 percent. This is where almost all of the IPC uplift comes from. AMD also increased the maximum memory clocks. The processor now supports up to DDR4-2933 (JEDEC) and is capable of DDR4-3400.


Updates to the chip's on-die SenseMI logic include Precision Boost 2 and Extended Frequency Range (XFR) 2. Precision Boost 2 now switches from arbitrary 2-core and all-core boost targets to a perpetual all-core boosting algorithm that elevates the most stressed cores to the highest boost states in a linear fashion (i.e. boost frequency increases with load). Every core is running above nominal clock when the processor isn't idling, which contributes to a multi-core performance uplift. Besides load, the algorithm takes into account temperature, current, and Vcore. Granularity is 0.25X base clock (25 MHz).


Extended Frequency Range 2 (XFR 2) builds on the success of XFR with a new all-core uplift beyond the maximum boost clock. If your cooling is good enough (60°C), XFR will now elevate all cores beyond the boost state as opposed to just the best few cores. Unlike the 2700X, the 2700 isn't advertised as featuring XFR 2.0. There's still a rudiment of the feature which increases the clock by 50 MHz beyond the maximum Precision Boost frequency, however.

The AM4 Platform and New X470 Chipset

What sets "Pinnacle Ridge" apart from Intel dies, such as "Coffee Lake," is that it is a full-fledged SoC (system-on-chip). It integrates both the northbridge and southbridge. In addition to memory and PCIe, socket AM4 processors also put out USB 3.0 and two SATA 6 Gb/s ports. The platform still has something called a "chipset," but it only serves to increase connectivity options, such as adding more SATA ports, USB 3.1 ports, and a few more general-purpose PCIe lanes (which are PCIe Gen 2). On Intel's platforms, the PCH (platform controller hub) serves the functions of the southbridge, while the northbridge is fully integrated with the processor.


The new AMD X470 chipset, which was launched alongside the Ryzen 2000 "Pinnacle Ridge" series, succeeds the X370 chipset. It has the same exact feature-set as the X370, but with lower power draw. Although not directly related to the chipset, X470 specifications prescribe higher CPU VRM standards for motherboards.


The X470 also comes with AMD StoreMI technology out of the box (something even X370 has, but through a BIOS update). The only reason X470 probably exists is to clear the compatibility confusion for first-time buyers. You're assured that an X470 motherboard will support AMD "Pinnacle Ridge" chips out of the box. Regardless, every AM4 motherboard ever launched is capable of running "Pinnacle Ridge," and most motherboard vendors have started rolling out BIOS updates.
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