With 2017 finished, and Ryzen being very successful for AMD, the inevitable question was due: what happens next? Early in 2018, the plans were laid bare: a second generation Ryzen processor was set to come in mid-year, followed by a second generation Threadripper, using GlobalFoundries’ 12nm process. This is not AMD’s next big microarchitecture, which we know is called  Zen 2 on 7nm, but an opportunity to launch a wave of components with minor improvements and take advantage of a manufacturing process that gives more frequency and more performance. Today AMD is launching four CPUs, and we have tested them all.

Updates

  • (4/21) Some of our results, initially thought due to Spectre/Meltdown patches, were not in line with others. Testing audit was started.
  • (4/25) Our extensive internal audit showed reasons for the differences, as documented in detail in this follow-up article. In short, an issue with a non-standard use timers on Windows was causing the performance of both AMD and Intel processors to dip, particularly impacting the latter.
  • (5/2) Benchmark results have been updated.
  • (5/22) X470 Motherboard. StoreMI, and Power Analysis pages updated.
  • (5/26) Conclusion Updated, Performance Per Dollar graphs added.

Straight To The Scene: The New CPUs

For readers that only want one piece of information, this is it: AMD is launching the Ryzen 7 2700X, the Ryzen 7 2700, the Ryzen 5 2600X, and the Ryzen 5 2600.

AMD Ryzen 2000-Series CPUss
  Ryzen 7 2700X Ryzen 7 2700 Ryzen 5 2600X Ryzen 5 2600
CPU Cores/Threads 8 / 16 8 / 16 6 / 12 6 / 12
Base CPU Frequency 3.7 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.4 GHz
Turbo CPU Frequency 4.3 GHz 4.1 GHz 4.2 GHz 3.9 GHz
TDP @ Base Frequency 105 W 65 W 95 W 65 W
L1 Cache I: 64K. D: 32K I: 64K. D: 32K I: 64K. D: 32K I: 64K. D: 32K
L2 Cache 512 KB/core 512 KB/core 512 KB/core 512 KB/core
L3 Cache 16 MB 16 MB 16 MB 16 MB
DRAM Support DDR4-2933
Dual Channel
DDR4-2933
Dual Channel
DDR4-2933
Dual Channel
DDR4-2933
Dual Channel
PCIe Lanes (CPU) 16 Free + 4 NVMe 16 Free + 4 NVMe 16 Free + 4 NVMe 16 Free + 4 NVMe
Price $329 $299 $229 $199
Bundled Cooler AMD Prism RGB AMD Spire RGB AMD Spire AMD Stealth

The Ryzen 7 2700X takes over the top spot from the Ryzen 7 1800X, and for an extra 10 W in TDP will provide a base frequency of 3.7 GHz and a turbo frequency of 4.3 GHz on its eight cores, with simultaneous multi-threading. This is an extra +100 MHz and +300 MHz respectively, going above the average limits of the 1800X when overclocked.

The 2700X also reduces the top cost for the best AM4 Ryzen processor: when launched, the 1800X was set at $499, without a bundled cooler, and was recently dropped to $349 as a price-competitor to Intel’s most powerful mainstream processor. The 2700X undercuts both, by being listed at a suggested e-tail price of $329, and is bundled with the best stock cooler in the business: AMD’s Wraith Prism RGB. AMD is attempting to hit all the targets: aggressive pricing, top performance, and best value, all in one go.

The Ryzen 5 2600X is the six-core option, also with an aggressive frequency strategy: 3.6 GHz base and 4.2 GHz turbo. At a 95W TDP and a suggested retail price of $229, it comes bundled with AMD’s Wraith Spire cooler, which again is an impressive stock cooler.

The Ryzen 7 2700 and Ryzen 5 2600 are the 65W versions of the X counterparts, offering near-similar frequencies for $30 less. All the CPUs will support dual-channel DDR4-2933 memory, up from the DDR4-2666 memory support of the 2017 Ryzen processors. One of the big changes is that now every processor comes with a bundled stock cooler, ranging from the Silent 65W Stealth models up to the big Prism RGB, all of which are easily sufficient for good turbo performance.

AMD’s intended AM4 Ryzen product line is now going to look like this:

AMD Ryzen Product Stacks & Launch Prices
Ryzen 1000 (2017) Ryzen 2000 (2018)
Ryzen 7 1800X $499 Ryzen 7 2700X $329
Ryzen 7 1700X $399
Ryzen 7 1700 $329 Ryzen 7 2700 $299
Ryzen 5 1600X $249 Ryzen 5 2600X $229
Ryzen 5 1600 $219 Ryzen 5 2600 $199
Ryzen 5 1500X $189 Ryzen 5 1500X $159
Ryzen 5 1400 $169 Ryzen 5 2400G $169
Ryzen 3 1300X $129 Ryzen 3 1300X $114
Ryzen 3 1200 $109 Ryzen 3 2200G $99

At the top, the 2700X takes over from both the 1700X and 1800X. Rather than having three Ryzen 7 CPUs in the market for this generation, AMD examined its product line and opted on two, perhaps based on sales figures. As seen in this review, the 2700X is already pushing the silicon process to the limit, so there is not much headroom to go above this product for a new model in the future.

The full list ends up being a mix of Ryzen 2000-series CPUs (the new ones), Ryzen 2000-series APUs, and a pair of Ryzen 1000-series. We already examined the APUs in great detail in the past few weeks, showing that they directly replaced some of the original first-generation parts very easily. So far the four new 2000-series will sit at the top of the pile, however AMD’s strategy is often to drip feed its new parts, so we might see some more 2000-series as time goes on.

The Other Information From Today’s Launch

No launch is complete without talking about the features. AMD is using GlobalFoundries’ 12nm manufacturing process which has obvious on-paper benefits, however there are a number of internal firmware adjustments to touch upon, updated features and roles for AMD’s Precision Boost and XFR technologies that can have direct impacts on performance, a new chipset (along with 30+ motherboards) to run alongside the current offerings, and also new/renamed features such StoreMI. We also want to examine how these new products fit into AMD’s longer term plans and whether they are on track.

We’ll cover these in the next few pages, as well as the results from our testing.

  • Talking 12nm: GlobalFoundries and Extra Performance
  • Improvements to the Cache Hierarchy: +3%  IPC and +10% Overall
  • Precision Boost 2: Getting More Hertz Across The Board
  • XFR2: A Dynamic Response to Cooling
  • New X470 Chipset and Motherboards: A Focus on Power
  • StoreMI: The Way To A Faster JBOD
  • Power Analysis
  • Our CPU Benchmarking Results
  • Our Gaming CPU Benchmarking Results
  • Conclusions

AMD’s Ryzen 2000 Competition: Intel’s Coffee Lake

As part of today’s launch, AMD went into extensive benchmarking detail about its new chips. It was abundantly clear from the data provided that these new processors are aimed squarely at Intel’s most recent mainstream processors: Coffee Lake. This is in contrast to when the Ryzen 1000-series was launched last year, when the octo-core Ryzen 7 1800X was compared against an 8-core Broadwell-E: in the interim Intel has updated its mainstream processor line to six-cores with high frequencies.

As a result, AMD is suggesting to compare the Ryzen 7 2700X against the Core i7-8700K and the Ryzen 5 2600X against the Core i5-8500K. This is significant – now both of the main x86 players in the processor market are keen to pit their most recent products against each other in a head to head battle. This hasn’t really happened like this for a number of generations. However, certain metrics will still run true as to the launch last year:

  • Intel is expected to have a frequency and IPC advantage
  • AMD’s counter is to come close on frequency and offer more cores at the same price

It is easy for AMD to wave the multi-threaded crown with its internal testing, however the single thread performance is still a little behind. A number of the new features with the Ryzen 2000-series are designed to help this: slightly higher IPC, higher frequencies, a higher TDP, and a better dynamic frequency boost model. We will cover these over the next few pages.

Comparison: Ryzen 7 2700X vs Core i7-8700K
AMD
Ryzen 7 2700X
Features Intel
Core i7-8700K
8 / 16 Cores/Threads 6 / 12
3.7 / 4.3 GHz Base/Turbo 3.7 / 4.7
16 (Free) + 4 (NVMe) PCIe 3.0 Lanes 16 (Free)
512 KB/core L2 Cache 256 KB/core
16 MB L3 Cache 12 MB
105 W TDP 95 W
$329 Price (List) $349

Frequencies and core counts are one part of the equation, though the way that AMD and Intel have different cache models will also play a significant part. One of the things we will see in this analysis is the comparative cache metrics, as well as the tuning AMD has done to close the gap. For pricing, AMD has put the Ryzen 7 2700X below the i7-8700K, as well as bundling the Wraith Prism RGB stock cooler which easily replaces any $30-40 cooler, saving the user some money.

Comparison: Ryzen 5 2600X vs Core i5-8600K
AMD
Ryzen 5 2600X
Features Intel
Core i5-8600K
6 / 12 Cores/Threads 6 / 6
3.6 / 4.2 GHz Base/Turbo 3.6 / 4.3
16 (Free) + 4 (NVMe) PCIe 3.0 Lanes 16 (Free)
512 KB/core L2 Cache 256 KB/core
16 MB L3 Cache 9 MB
95 W TDP 95 W
$229 Price (List) $239

The Ryzen 5 2600X comparison with the Core i5-8600K is much closer than the higher-end parts. These components share core counts, although the Ryzen 5 has double the threads. For any multithreaded workload that can take advantage of simultaneous multithreading is likely to pull ahead. The Core i5-8600K is slightly ahead in core frequency, and is expected to have an IPC advantage as well. Again, AMD bundles the CPU with a good stock cooler, whereas Intel’s offering is poor-to-nil.

Overall, AMD is claiming that its high-end processors will come in within 1-2% of the competition at 1440p gaming, but give +20% in ‘creative performance’. We’ve got a few ways to test this.

Talking 12nm and Zen+
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  • MDD1963 - Friday, April 20, 2018 - link

    The Gskill 32 GB kit (2 x 16 GB/3200 MHz) I bought 13 months ago for $205 is now $400-ish... Reply
  • andychow - Friday, April 20, 2018 - link

    Ridiculous comment. 7 years ago I bought 4x8 GB of RAM for $110. That same kit, from the same company, seven years later, now sells for $300. 4x16GB kits are around $800. Memory prices aren't at all the way they've always been. There is clear collusion going on. Micron and SK Hynix have both seen their stock price increase 400% in the last two years. 400%!!!!!

    The price of RAM just keeps increasing and increasing, and the 3 manufacturers are in no hurry to increase supply. They are even responsible for the lack of GPUs, because they are the bottleneck.
    Reply
  • spdragoo - Friday, April 20, 2018 - link

    You mean a price history like this?

    https://camelcamelcamel.com/Corsair-Vengeance-4x8G...

    Or perhaps, as mentioned here (https://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/what-ha... how the previous-generation RAM tends to go up in price once the manufacturers switch to the next-gen?

    Since I KNOW you're not going to claim that you bought DDR4 RAM 7 YEARS AGO (when it barely came out 4 years ago)...
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Friday, April 20, 2018 - link

    I love how you ignored everyone that already smushed your talking points to focus on a post which was likely just poorly worded.

    RAM prices have traditionally gone DOWN over time for the same capacity, as density improves. But recently the limited supply has completely blown up the normal price-per-capacity-over-time curve. Profit margins are massive. Saying this is "the same as always" is beyond comprehension. If it wasn't for your reply I would have sworn you were simply trolling.

    Anyway this is what a lack of genuine competition looks like. NAND market isn't nearly as bad but there's supply problems there too.
    Reply
  • vext - Friday, April 20, 2018 - link

    True. When prices double with no explanation, there must be collusion.

    The same thing has happened with videocards. I have great doubts about bitcoin mining as a driver for those price increases. If mining was so profitable, you would think there would be a mad scramble to design cards specifically for mining. Instead the load falls on the DYI consumer.

    Something very odd is happening.
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Friday, April 20, 2018 - link

    They DO design things specifically for mining. It's called an ASIC miner. Unfortunately for us, some currencies are ASIC-resistant, and in some cases they can potentially change the algorithm, which makes such (expensive!) development challenging. Reply
  • Samus - Friday, April 20, 2018 - link

    Yep. I went with 16GB in 2013-2014 just because I was like meh what difference does $50-$60 make when building a $1000+ PC. These days I do a double take when choosing between 8GB and 16GB for PC's I build. Even hardcore gaming PC's don't *NEED* more than 8GB, so it's worth saving $100+

    Memory prices have nearly doubled in the last 5 years. Sure there is cheap ram, there always has been. But a kit of quality Gskill costs twice as much as a comparable kit of quality Gskill cost in 2012.
    Reply
  • FireSnake - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    Awesome, as always. Happy reading! :) Reply
  • Chris113q - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    Your gaming benchmarks results are garbage and every other reviewer got different results than you did. I hope no one takes this review seriously as the data is simply incorrect and misleading. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    Always glad to see you offer links to show the differences.

    We ran our tests on a fresh version of RS3 + April Security Updates + Meltdown/Spectre patches using our standard testing implementation.
    Reply

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