May 3, 2018 // 4:30 p.m.
UK price (as reviewed): £269.99 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $297.33 (exc. tax)
While 2017 saw AMD return to form and offer a proper mainstream CPU alternative to Intel, 2nd Generation Ryzen CPUs have gone one step further than just an incremental upgrade. The new CPUs have fewer disadvantages in lightly-threaded tasks, and AMD has also built on the leads it already enjoyed when you engage all cores and threads.
We've already looked at the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 flagships - the Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X - which sport higher TDPs and frequencies compared to other CPUs in the range and are arguably the best choices if you'll be running your CPU at stock speed, as they benefit from higher boosting frequencies. However, the X-edition CPUs were rarely the best value with the original Ryzen CPUs, especially if you were up for a bit of overclocking; for this reason, the likes of the Ryzen 5 1600 and Ryzen 7 1700, while fairly paltry at stock speed, could usually be overclocked to the point that they were just as fast or even faster than stock speed X-edition models.
Enter the Ryzen 7 2700 and Ryzen 5 2600 - the former we're looking at today and the latter we'll be putting through its paces very soon. As you can see below, the Ryzen 7 2700 sports the same cache amounts as the X-edition CPU but has a significantly lower TDP and, on a related note, clock speeds.
|Ryzen 5 2600||Ryzen 5 2600X||Ryzen 7 2700||Ryzen 7 2700X|
|Cores/Threads||6 / 12||6 / 12||8 / 16||8 / 16|
|Max Boost Freq||3.9GHz||4.2GHz||4.1GHz||4.3GHz|
The maximum boost frequency of 4.1GHz is a sizeable 200MHz drop compared to the Ryzen 7 2700X, and with a big drop from 3.7GHz to 3.2GHz for the base frequency, the all-core boost is going to be significantly lower too. Indeed, the Ryzen 7 2700 mostly topped out at 3.4GHz in our tests, while the power-hungry Ryzen 7 2700X would usually be found well over 4GHz across all cores. However, the Ryzen 7 2700 is worth considering for two reasons. Firstly, if you want a good all-round CPU with some significant multi-threaded grunt but with a low TDP, the 65W rating makes it suitable for plenty of low-profile air coolers that can be squeezed into a tiny mini-ITX case, for example. Then, of course, you have the fact its multiplier is unlocked, meaning that if you do intend to overclock it, you could save some cash compared to the Ryzen 7 2700X.
However, things are very different to 2017. The clock speeds here mean that the Ryzen 7 2700 is in a different league to the Ryzen 7 1700. Pricing is also completely different. We're seeing lower prices for both Intel and AMD as the competition heats up, which is great. Amazingly, the Ryzen 7 2700 is £80 cheaper than the Ryzen 7 1700's launch price of £329, but AMD is being particularly aggressive with the Ryzen 7 2700X too, which retails for just £30 more (on average) than this lower-power part. The price difference is tiny compared to the original £170 gap between the Ryzen 7 1700 and 1800X, which means that the Ryzen 7 2700 is potentially a very niche product, especially if it lacks prowess compared to the Ryzen 7 2700X when overclocking. Remember, the Ryzen 7 2700X also features a more advanced stock cooler (the Wraith Prism, whereas it's the Wraith Spire here), so the strategy very much seems to be to push customers towards the X-edition part.