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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  • jjj - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    I was wondering about gaming, so there is no mistake there as Ryzen 2 seems to top Intel.
    As of right now, I don't seem to find memory specs in the review yet, safe to assume you did as always, highest non-OC so Ryzen is using faster DRAM?
    Also yet to spot memory letency, any chance you have some numbers at 3600MHz vs Intel? Thanks.
    Reply
  • jjj - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    And just between us, would be nice to have some Vega gaming results under DX12. Reply
  • aliquis - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    Would be nice if any reviewer actually benchmarked storage devices maybe even virtualization because then we'd see meltdown and spectre mitigation performance. Then again do AMD have any for spectre v2 yet? If not who knows what that will do. Reply
  • HStewart - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    I notice that that systems had higher memory, but for me I believe single threaded performance is more important that more cores. But it would be bias if one platform is OC more than another. Personally I don't over clock - except for what is provided with CPU like Turbo mode.

    One thing that I foresee in the future is Intel coming out with 8 core Coffee Lake

    But at least it appears one thing is over is this Meltdown/Spectre stuff
    Reply
  • Lolimaster - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    Intel 8 core CL won't stop the bleeding, lose more profits making them "cheap" vs a new Ryzen 7nm with at least 10% more clocks and 10% more IPC, RIP. Reply
  • HStewart - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    I just have to agree to disagree on that statement - especially on "cheap" statement Reply
  • ACE76 - Thursday, April 19, 2018 - link

    CL can't scale to 8 cores...not without done serious changes to it's architecture...Intel is in some trouble with this Ryzen refresh...also worth noting is that 7nm Ryzen 2 will likely bring a considerable performance jump while Intel isn't sitting on anything worthwhile at the moment. Reply
  • Alphasoldier - Friday, April 20, 2018 - link

    All Intel's 8cores in HEDT except SkylakeX are based on their year older architecture with a bigger cache and the quad channel.

    So if Intel have the need, they will simply make a CL 8core. 2700X is pretty hungry when OC'd, so Intel don't have to worry at all about its power consuption.
    Reply
  • moozooh - Sunday, April 22, 2018 - link

    > 2700X is pretty hungry when OC'd
    And Intel chips aren't? If Zen+ is already on Intel's heels for both performance per watt and raw frequency, a 7nm chip with improved IPC and/or cache is very likely going to have them pull ahead by a significant margin. And even if it won't, it's still going to eat into Intel's profit as their next tech is 10nm vs. AMD's 7nm, meaning more optimal wafer estate utilization for the latter.

    AMD has really climbed back at the top of their game; I've been in the Intel camp for the last 12 years or so, but the recent developments throw me way back to K7 and A64 days. Almost makes me sad that I won't have any reason to move to a different mobo in the next 6–8 years or so.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs - Friday, March 29, 2019 - link

    Amusing to look back given how things panned out. So yes, Intel released the 9900K, but it was 100% more expensive than the 2700X. :D A complete joke. And meanwhile tech reviewers raved about a peasly 5 to 5.2 oc, on a chip that already has a 4.7 max turbo (major yawn fest), focusing on specific 1080p gaming tests that gave silly high fps number favoured by a market segment that is a tiny minority. Then what happens, RTX comes out and pushes the PR focus right back down to 60Hz. :D

    I wish people to stop drinking the Intel/NVIDIA coolaid. AMD does it aswell sometimes, but it's bizarre how uncritical tech reviewers often are about these things. The 9900K dragged mainstream CPU pricing up to HEDT levels; epic fail. Some said oh but it's great for poorly optimised apps like Premiere, completely ignoring the "poorly optimised" part (ie. why the lack of pressure to make Adobe write better code? It's weird to justify an overpriced CPU on the back of a pro app that ought to run a lot better on far cheaper products).
    Reply

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