After the successful launch of the Ryzen lineup last year, AMD has taken the critical feedback left by their devoted community of users to heart and have further evolved their platform to create an amazing processor for players and creators alike. The second generation Ryzen 7 2700X is AMD’s new flagship CPU for 2018, dethroning the previous Ryzen 7 1800X in both price and performance due to its enhanced technology and higher clock speeds. However, the question most curious readers want answered is whether or no Team Red has finally built a CPU that can play games better than Intel’s long legacy of impressive processors.
Retailing for $329 USD, the Ryzen 7 2700X sports 8 fully unlocked cores and 16 threads running at a TDP value of 105w and a base clock speed of 3.7GHz out of the box. User’s looking to overclock their new processor will also be able to stretch the performance even further than before to a new max boost clock of 4.3GHz. Considering these 2nd generation Ryzen processors are only incremental upgrades of the previous 1000 series’ Zen architecture, I’m impressed at how AMD was able to match the specs of their previous Ryzen flagship and slash 35% of the launch retail price tag. Another nice inclusion to all X variant processors this generation is that every Ryzen 7 CPU now comes with AMD’s new Wraith Prism RGB cooler, meaning consumers no longer have to spend more money to acquire a third-party cooling solution for their builds.
Before I break into the benchmarks and overall performance, let’s address the build. At the heart of the system is the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X CPU, paired with a new X470 chipset AM4+ motherboard, Wraith Prism cooler, 16GB of GDDR4 RAM running at 2800MHz, and an 8GB Radeon Vega 56 GPU. Besides the new CPU, the motherboard is also something that users need to take note of. The new X400 series motherboards are designed as the perfect partner for any of AMD’s second-generation Ryzen processors. Because of their updated power infrastructure, lower TDP value and new form of storage acceleration, it is recommended users pick up one of these boards to get the full performance out of these new processors. However, AMD has made the consumer-friendly decision to allow for any Ryzen CPU to be compatible in any AM4+ motherboard if the user only plans to upgrade the processor in their system. This also doesn’t lock these consumers out of vital second generation Ryzen features, including XFR 2.0.
Moving onto productivity benchmarks, the Ryzen 7 2700X continues to cement the fact that AMD’s lineup of CPUs are better than Intel’s when handling intensive workloads. Starting with Cinebench R15, the new flagship processor was able to score 1693cb in the programs CPU focused benchmark. The single core performance of the system was also impressive at 168. Compared to the other Ryzen members I’ve reviewed, including the 1800X (1573cb) and 1600X (1229cb), the 2700X is the new record holder in my books and by a sizeable margin. While the single-core performance still remains in Intel’s corner, Ryzen’s greatest strength comes from its versatility in other applications besides just gaming. To round out the productivity benchmarks I threw the system at GeekBench 4, resulting in a single core score of 4799 and a multi-core score of 24,517.
Time to see how this machine games. As expected from the nature of how CPUs work when gaming, the majority of the framerates listed below are thanks to the Vega 56 GPU rather than the 8 unlocked cores of the Ryzen 7 2700X. However, we do see some minor improvements of 4-8 FPS across all titles. The only other notable score to add to the mix is Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition for its stellar benchmark tool. After its in-depth three-minute test, the Ryzen system was able to achieve a score of 5298 on high quality at 1080p. Compared to my previous system, which housed the Ryzen 5 1600X, this new system has a lot more CPU room to spare for users to do a variety of tasks in the background, whether that be rendering video, running a Twitch stream, or handling a second monitor full of tabs while playing a game. The only real disadvantage to this CPU in the graphics department is that unlike a majority of Intel CPUs, this processor doesn’t feature any onboard graphics solution, meaning the only way users will be able to game with the 2700X is if they invest in a proper graphics card.
The last thing I want to touch on is AMD’s new storage acceleration solution, called StoreMI. Only usable on the X400 series platform of motherboards, users are now allowed to combine the large storage of an HDD with the speed of an SSD by creating a hybrid virtual drive. This is great for users like myself, who primarily store their games on an HDD instead of the boot drive SSD, because it allows the user to quickly launch any type of application. After creating the drive using my 2TB WD Blue and my Samsung EVO SSD I saw my applications launch and load nearly 3X quicker than my standard mechanical drive alone. Thankfully, this isn’t a permanent virtual drive. If the user were to ever experience a hard drive failure, then only the affected drive would risk losing its data. StoreMI is compatible with nearly every type of storage solution so users who purchase this type of motherboard should definitely take the time to experiment with it.
AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X is a fantastic flagship for AMD in 2018. While it’s still strange that a 2800X wasn’t developed to mirror the 1800X, the 2700X is the CPU that I believe AMD needs to win over more consumers to their platform of products. Not only does the 2700X carry the same powerful specs as its predecessor, but it beats it outright in terms of price and performance even when the 1800X is on sale. Intel still holds its title as king of gaming performance for now, but users who are looking for a superior machine in multitasking and applications should look no further than AMD’s second generation Ryzen lineup for their next build.