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
AMD has touted the efficiency of its new 12nm Pinnacle Ridge architecture as one of its best features, but in our testing, we found that our X-series 2nd-gen Ryzen chips didn't exhibit particularly efficient behavior. Based on testing two motherboards, we know that part of this does come down to decisions made by motherboard manufacturers (for example, our Asus X470 CrossHair VII Hero used less power than our MSI X470 M7 AC). Clearly, however, AMD was pushing its chips pretty hard to come up with boost levels over 4GHz.
We were therefore very curious to see if a non-X processor could legitimately be called efficient. The TDP of the Ryzen 7 2700 is just 65W, a full 40W lower than the Ryzen 7 2700X that we previously tested. How does that translate to reality? See for yourself below!
Yes, indeed, the Ryzen 7 2700 uses a whole lot less power than the 2700X (on the same motherboard, mind you). This is a true win for AMD. In fact, in all of our previous benchmarks, you saw the Ryzen 7 2700 beating the Core i7-6900K, which is Intel's previous-gen eight-core processor, which happens to use a bit more power. In terms of productivity use, the Ryzen 7 2700 soundly beats its stablemate the Ryzen 5 2600X, a six-core processor that runs at higher clocks, but has far less multi-tasking capability.
With that said, once we overclocked the Ryzen 7 2700 to run faster than our Ryzen 7 2700X, it operates a whole lot like a Ryzen 7 2700X, in fact drawing a bit more power.
The Cooler/Pricing Situation
We tested our Ryzen 7 2700 with a third-party liquid cooler in order to achieve the best overclocks, but we wanted to say a few words about the coolers AMD is shpping with its processors. First, we want to commend AMD for choosing to include coolers with all its CPUs this time around, as its decision to ship all of its 1000-series X-series chips without coolers when Ryzen first hit the market was a big mistake. Sure, Intel had already gone down that path with its "K-series" overclockable processors, but there was a huge installed base of Intel-compatible coolers. Out of the gate, you couldn't buy any coolers for the 1700X and 1800X last year, which was a disaster.
AMD clearly learned from its mistakes, as all Ryzen CPUs now come with coolers. But this leads to a marketing problem for AMD: the 2700X is now a much better value than the 2700. Last year, the Ryzen 7 1700 arrived at $330 with a cooler, and the Ryzen 7 1700X arrived at $400 without a cooler. Because both could reach similar overclocks, the 1700 was a great value proposition, which in turn hurt 1700X sales (not to mention sales of the overpriced $500 Ryzen 7 1800X). Below you can see the three cooler styles AMD is offering up this time around, along with heights and weights that we measured ourselves.
So, to recap, the Ryzen 7 2700 launched at $300 with the Wraith Spire RGB Cooler, and the Ryzen 7 2700X launched at $330 with the superior Wraith Prism RGB Cooler. In fact, in what we'd consider market segmentation run amok, each of the Ryzen 2000-series processors comes with a different cooler: the Ryzen 5 2600 arrives with the Wraith Stealth, the Ryzen 5 2600X gets the Wraith Spire, the Ryzen 7 2700 gets the Wraith Spire with RGB, and the 2700X gets the Wraith Prism RGB. This can't be cost-effective for AMD's production lines (or for bulk pricing from wherever it sources these coolers). We understand that AMD probably didn't want to tarnish the image of its high-end offering as it did with the previous generation, but with just $30 separating the 2700 and 2700X, and given that the 2700X is far faster and includes a better cooler, the 2700 is a very hard sell. And even if you're building a small form factor PC, the Ryzen 7 2700 offers little benefit, as its cooler still sits at 72mm tall according to our measurements, which puts it over the limit for most slimline cases.
With that being said, the Wraith Prism included with the 2700X is by far the most impressive box cooler we've ever seen. Too bad it's not included with the 2700, whose users would be more likely to actually install it. With a big copper baseplate, four copper heatpipes, and a big fin array, it's immensely capable, and its lighting effects are very cool. It offers both an addressable ring and a user-selectable fan light, as shown below, versus the somewhat boring Spire RGB:
It's a shame, then, than the 2700X really is too much CPU for a downdraft cooler like the Prism, which ran a little loud in our previous testing of the 2700X (and limited boost somewhat), making a custom cooler the best approach for the 2700X, and one we suspect most enthusiasts would use. But that brings us to another reason we think most users should go with the 2700X: out of the box, it operates at very close to its maximum overclock. That's actually a good thing in the sense that it limits the amount of tinkering you have to do to get the most out of it. Yes, you can overclock the 2700, but not beyond what the 2700X can do (our sample barely matched a stock 2700X in fact). The thrill of overclocking loses some of its shine when you're paying nearly as much to achieve the same performance. Honestly, if it had been up to us, we would have marketed the 2700 with the Prism cooler at $330, and the 2700X without a cooler at the identical price. That would have given users the option of an attractive out-of-the-box solution in the 2700, or a solution intended for maximum-performance in custom builds with the 2700X.
We like what AMD has done with the Ryzen 7 2700, and think it's a great pick for a certain usage scenario. At stock settings, it's massively-efficient, besting even Intel's latest in terms of performance per Watt in heavily-threaded operations. That also makes it a great pick for compact systems, which we can't say for the 2700X, as it draws a bit too much power to use a small cooler. The 2700 also offers users the flexibility of stepping up to 2700X-class performance by overclocking, as long as they equip it with sufficient cooling.
The AMD Ryzen 7 2700 retails for $299.99, and is discounted to $289.99 shipped free from Amazon as of our publication date, offering a nice upgrade from the previous-gen Ryzen 7 1700 for around the same price. With that said, we think most enthusiasts are better served by the Ryzen 7 2700X. It hits much higher clocks out of the box, potentially overclocks even higher, and comes with a better cooler.
If you're ready to put together a Ryzen-based system of your own, check out our monthly PC Buyer's Guides, which have already been updated with a number of systems featuring AMD's new Pinnacle Ridge platform!