When AMD launched their Ryzen processors in 2017, the company gave consumers a worthy alternative to Intel’s dominance. Their competitor had little answer to Ryzen’s incredible multicore performance and aggressive pricing. Now, the second generation of Ryzen processors has arrived. They’re technically more of a refresh than a full-blown sequel – that’s estimated for 2019 – but the increase in efficiency and clock speeds make this the best time to jump onto the platform if you haven’t already.
We’ll be looking at the Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X, the latter being AMD’s current flagship processor. Both processors offer the same high core/thread counts as last year’s models. However, AMD has given each a substantial boost to clock speeds, and improved features ensure they stay operating at those frequencies much longer.
|Ryzen 2600X||Ryzen 2700X|
|CPU Cores: 6||CPU Cores: 8|
|Threads: 12||Threads: 16|
|Base Clock: 3.6 GHz||Base Clock: 3.7 GHz|
|Boost Clock: 4.2 GHz||Boost Clock: 4.3 GHz|
|Default TDP: 95W||Default TDP: 105W|
Thankfully, a new motherboard isn’t necessary to take advantage of the latest Ryzen hardware. The processors continue to use AMD’s AM4 socket, which AMD has confirmed will support until 2020. Older motherboards simply require a BIOS update.
That said, the first-generation of Ryzen motherboards had some issues reaching higher or advertised memory frequencies. We couldn’t get to 3200 MHz on our Ryzen 7 1700 system without blue screens and exhausting trial-and-error loosening of memory timings. It was an issue we were eager to test for with the new X470 chipset. To our relief, the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC and ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero motherboards gave us no trouble setting XMP profiles to their maximum.
We were also pleased to see AMD include fans with the 2600X and 2700X, as well. They typically weren’t bundled with the previous generation of unlocked or higher-end Ryzen processors. The 2600X comes with the standard-looking Wraith Spire heatsink and cooler. But if you want to turn heads, the 2700X’s Wraith Prism will certainly do the job. It’s a large cooler featuring a square top and a mesmerizing ring of RGB lighting. In terms of stock coolers, the Wraith Prism is the coolest we’ve seen (pun absolutely intended). All that being true, we still recommend investing in a good third-party solution for a stronger balance between noise and temperature. They included fans aren’t terribly loud by any means, but they are audible.
Speaking of reaching maximums, the Ryzen 2000-lineup can get closer to its boosted clock rate more often further without user intervention. Precision Boost 2 technology allows all the cores to be running higher, whether they’re being stressed or not. And eXtended Range Frequency 2 (XFR 2) can automatically push the processor 100 MHz past its maximum clock rate if temperatures permit. Together these features remove make sure Ryzen+ is consistently running at its best.
The result of those technologies was made known in our multicore tests. Both the 2600X and 2700X saw respectable gains in CINEBENCH, RealBench, and 7Zip benchmarks.
2600X System Build: Nvidia GTX 1060, G.Skill TridentZ RGB 16GB (2x8GB) 2933 MHz, ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero motherboard
2700X System Build: Nvidia GTX 1080, Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3200MHz, MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC motherboard
The 2600X saw a CINEBENCH multicore gain of 20.77 percent. The 2700X’s score rose an impressive 24.55 percent. Decent gains were seen with the single core tests, as well, despite single core performance not being a Ryzen strength.
Better multicore results mean faster performance when it comes to heavy multitasking, streaming, encoding, editing, and so forth. For example, the 1700’s RealBench H.264 video encoding time averaged 40.35 seconds. The 2700X finished the same test in 34.12 seconds, more than six seconds faster, and sometimes took only 32 seconds to complete.
7-Zip offers another good performance metric for evaluating a processor’s ability to handle instructions. The results are presented as a comparative MIPS (million instructions per second) value. Similar to our CINEBENCH tests, we saw strong increases between each generation of Ryzen processor.
Game benchmarks, however, were consistent with the previous generation. Results at a resolution of 2560x1440p were practically the same. The 2700X actually lost by a frame during Fortnite’s benchmarks, but that’s likely due to the random nature of the game. It’s difficult to perform uniform tests in such a chaotic environment.
At 1920×1080, the Ryzen+ processors did see some improvement. The 2600X pulled ahead of the 1600 by anywhere from two to five frames. Meanwhile, the 2700X performed 7.3% better in Rise of the Tomb Raider and a 15% better in Fortnite.
The above results didn’t come as too much of a surprise. Most games are GPU dependent and/or don’t fully utilize all the cores of a CPU. Despite that, Ryzen is special precisely because of its versatility. Games still run great on Ryzen, nipping at the heels or – depending on resolution and game – matching Intel. But you also get incredible multicore performance for editing videos, streaming games, or running a lot of programs or browser tabs. AMD leapfrogs the competition in that regard, showing better numbers at a lower price.
AMD Ryzen’s processors are a great value for consumers who want to do a bit of everything. And now is as good at time as any to jump in. Memory concerns have seemingly been ironed out and Ryzen+ has received a solid boost to frequency control. The first generation of Ryzen put AMD back on the map, and Ryzen+ maintains the company’s position as a performance and value leader.