ProsExcellent multi-threaded performance; good cooler included; very efficient; lots of overclocking headroom
ConsOverpriced versus the 2700X, which is much faster, includes a better cooler, and costs just $30 more
One of the features touted in the launch of the 2000-series CPUs was AMD's StoreMI. It's a software approach to what Intel offers through Optane hardware, or perhaps even more accurately, what Apple offers with its Fusion drive. In short, it's a drive "tiering" (don't call it caching!) solution that AMD is licensing from Enmotus. All owners of X400-series motherboards can download StoreMI for free from AMD. As it turns out, the software package being offered to AMD users is pretty generous, especially given the price, but it's not the full Enmotus suite, and has some fairly signficant limations that ultimately stopped us from performing any benchmarking tests on it, as we'll explain in a moment.
Here's what StoreMI can in theory do: it allows you to combine two drives in a tiered structure such that the software monitors your activity and physically moves often-used data to the faster of the two drives in the tier. So, for example, if you combine a hard drive with a PCIe-based SSD, over time StoreMI will move your operating system and exectuables to the SSD, and perhaps some of the less-used data to the hard drive.
But here's the catch: the free version of the Enmotus software being offered as AMD's StoreMI is very limited. First, it can only tier two drives, so dreams of combining a hard drive with a moderate-sized SATA SSD and a small PCIe SSD just won't come true. Additionally, it requires a 400-series AMD chipset (likely only for licensing reasons, not for any physical capability on the chipset itself). That's reasonable enough - AMD wants the consumer to make the investment (i.e., spend some money) to justify providing free software. The biggest problem is that StoreMI just isn't a complete enough implementation of the Enmotus software suite. You can only use up to 256GB of SSD space (additional space will simply appear as a separate drive partition), and even worse, if you already have your OS on a drive that's larger than 256GB, it cannot be used at all. So, for example, if you build a PC with a 500GB solid-state drive and then want to add a 4TB hard drive into a tiered system, you can't unless you move the OS to the hard drive and then tier the drives, which is simply ridiculous. In other words, you'll need to license the more complete software package from Enmotus.
Because TBG's suite of SSDs consists entirely of 500GB-class and larger SSDs, we simply couldn't test StoreMI for you. Our impression is that it's going to be most useful to shoppers who buy a PC off the shelf with a Ryzen 2000-series processor (and 400-series chipset), and come to realize that the hard drive that HP, Acer, Dell, etc. has loaded the OS on is complete garbage. At that point, rather than suffering from an acute case of buyer's remorse, these users can go out and buy a 250GB solid-state drive, load up StoreMI for free, and take full advantage of drive tiering with very little effort (read: no OS cloning or re-installation). In fact, AMD takes pains to mention that if you follow this approach, StoreMI will migrate the bulk of the user's OS installation to the SSD, without any intervention from the user at all, other than installing StoreMI and "flipping on" the switch (yet, it is that simple). While you could clone an OS installation on an OEM machine, it's not a fool-proof option, and typical OEM buyers just don't have the ability or patience to deal with it. That's who we think StoreMI is for, and we commend AMD for offering this free alternative to Intel's added-cost Optane solution. We believe, however, that most TBG readers won't find it all that compelling.
In our initial review, we confirmed that AMD was able to vastly improve Ryzen's compatibility with ultra-high-speed memory sticks, particularly those that used single-ranked designs. We successfully ran our systems using a 2x8GB DDR4-3400 kit from G.Skill that utilized a single-rank design. We only had two of those sticks on hand, however, and we really wanted to know whether Ryzen could properly support a 32GB setup. Unfortunately, we found that Ryzen's compatibility with dual-ranked RAM modules hadn't improved at all when running with four sticks, meaning our Corsair 4x8GB Vengeance RGB DDR4-3000 kit simply wouldn't run at anything over 2133MHz. These dual-ranked sticks, which worked perfectly when run as a complete 4-stick kit in every Intel system we tested, and even worked throughout our AMD Ryzen 2000 series testing when just two sticks were used, were therefore not a viable solution as a four-stick set on Ryzen.
We had a hunch that there was more to the story, given how well the single-ranked modules worked. So we did a bit more digging through out parts box to find another couple of modules that we could run with our G.Skill DDR4-3400 RAM just to see if we could get four sticks to boot at over 2133MHz. Lo and behold, we had one other single-ranked kit, which was a Geil 2x8GB DDR4-3000 kit. While we knew that running this kit at 3400MHz wasn't going to work, that wasn't a major concern. We just wanted to run four sticks of RAM on our Ryzen 7 2700 at over 2133MHz! And sure enough, when we inserted our two Geil 3000MHz sticks alongside our two G.Skill DDR4-3400 sticks, the system booted right up, displayed the Geil's XMP DDR4-3000 profile (which translates to 2933MHz on Ryzen), and allowed us to select it for all four sticks without issue. We successfully ran our full suite of benchmarks with four modules running at 2933MHz, so we feel comfortable stating that yes, indeed, Ryzen 2000-series processors and the X470 chipset actually allow you to use all four slots on your motherboard with high-speed RAM! Just make sure you get single-ranked modules. The best way to dig up this specification is by looking at your motherboard's memory support list, which will always specify whether the RAM is single- or dual-ranked. As an example, here's the memory support list for our MSI X470 M7 AC.
The highest stable overclock we could achieve was 4.05GHz at 1.35V, compared to the 4.2GHz we hit on our Ryzen 7 2700X at the same voltage. Whether this is binning in effect or just the silicon lottery is impossible for us to say, but we wouldn't be surprised if the 2700X can hit slightly higher overclocks on average. That being said, enthusiasts who like to see big OC gains will want to go with the 2700, not the 2700X, as our 2700 was 17.5% faster in multi-threaded operations once overclocked (it ran at 3.45GHz on all eight cores at stock, and 4.05GHz is, you guessed it, 17.5% higher!). That's compared to the anemic 3.5% boost our 2700X gained, since it's already so close to its maximum. But take note: because of Ryzen's sophisticated SenseMI boost algorithm, manual overclocking can sometimes hurt performance. Our Ryzen 7 2700 boosted up to 4.1GHz in some single-core benchmarks (thanks in part to the liquid cooler we used), so our manual overclocking to 4.05GHz was actually an underclock in these situations. The situation was even worse with our 2700X, as it boosts to 4.3GHz on a single core, but our manual OC limited it to 4.2GHz.
Throughout our testing on the following pages, we'll provide benchmarks for both the stock Ryzen 7 2700 and the overclocked Ryzen 7 2700, as well as the stock Ryzen 7 2700X.
Windows 10 Power Profiles
Something we picked up on in our initial Ryzen 2000-series review was that the AMD Ryzen Balanced power profile in Windows 10, originally developed to improve performance of the Ryzen 1000-series, might not work properly with the new processors. And that's a problem, because it comes up as the default power profile for Ryzen 2000-series CPUs. We therefore ran our entire suite of tests with both profiles, and while the results were identical for nearly all of our tests, a handful stood out as demonstrating that the Ryzen Balanced profile isn't ideal for the new Ryzen processors, as shown below:
Based on these findings, in the benchmarks that follow we used the standard Balanced profile, not the Ryzen Balanced profile, in order to ensure maximum performance!