Ryzen 7 2700X review: AMD's 2nd-gen CPUs nail the sequel

The Ryzen 7 2700X puts the squeeze on Intel's 8th-gen Coffee Lake CPUs.

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Application performance benchmarks

For our tests, we built three PCs and performed clean installs of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update on each. We then installed the latest security patches and available BIOS updates for each motherboard.

This last point is particularly critical as we now live in a post-Meltdown/Spectre world which hurts Intel’s performance more than AMD’s. Any proper judgement of how well the second coming of Ryzen truly is would thus require us to account for any performance hair cut that the Core i7-8700K has taken since our original review. To ensure the patches were applied correctly, we also checked each platform with GRC’s InSpectre utility.

All three systems were tested with matching Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition cards and Kingston HyperX SSDs. Each were outfitted with 16GB of DDR4 set to 3200MHz and a CAS latency of 14. For the Intel system we used a Z370 Aorus Gaming 7. For the Ryzen 7 2700X, we used an MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC. For the Ryzen 7 1700X, we used an Asus X370 Crosshair VI Hero motherboard.

Yes, 1700X. Although AMD compares the new chip against the previous $500 Ryzen 7 1800X flagship, we think it’s valid to compare the Ryzen 7 2700X against the model it  replaces. All three of the tested chips currently sell in the $320 to $360 price range.

Cinebench R15 performance 

Our first test uses Maxon’s popular 3D rendering benchmark, which is based on the same engine sold with its Cinema4D product. Most 3D rendering applications are heavily multi-threaded and it’s no surprise that both 8-core Ryzens leave the 6-core Core i7-8700K sucking dust. The Coffee Lake chip does fairly well though when you consider that it has two fewer cores than the older Ryzen 7 1700X chip. The higher clock speed and its better efficiency or IPC put scant 10 percent between the two, though the Ryzen 7 2700X takes the clear win here.

2g ryzen 7 2700x cinebench nt IDG

The Ryzen 7 2700X simply eats the Core i7-8700K’s lunch, dinner and the next day’s brunch too in the multi-threaded Cinebench R15 test.

As much as people want to pretend multi-threading is common, it’s not. So we also run Cinebench R15 using just a single-thread to measure performance that you might see in such things as Microsoft Word or Google Chrome. The result? Intel’s clock speed advantage (it ranges from 3.7GHz to 4.7GHz) and IPC lands it firmly in front of Ryzen 7 2700X by 14 percent. That gap opens up to a 29 percent maw when compared to Ryzen 7 1700X.

2g ryzen 7 2700x cinebench 1t IDG

With a maximum boost of 4.7GHz on light loads, the Core i7-8700K is no slouch in performance.

Since we’re in Cinebench, let’s see if AMD’s claims about holding higher boost clocks over previous generations holds any water. To test that, we used Cinebench R15 and increased the workload from one thread to 16 threads. 

2g ryzen 7 2700x vs ryzen 7 1700x IDG

We used Cinebench R15 to measure performance per thread on the new 2nd gen Ryzen 7 2700X and an older Ryzen 7 1700X.

For the most part, yes, the 2nd-gen Ryzen is well ahead of its older sibling. But one problem with the above chart is a sense of proportion. It doesn’t actually indicate just how much faster the Ryzen 7 2700X is over the Ryzen 7 1700X for each thread. The next chart does though—and it’s impressive as hell. At one thread, the 2nd-gen chip leads by 17 percent; at two threads, 23 percent; and 19 percent at four threads.

2g ryzen 7 2700x vs ryzen 7 1700x percent IDG

The new 2nd Gen Ryzen 7 2700X is from 15 to 19 percent faster in most loads than the model it replaces.

What this tells us is that the 2nd-gen Ryzen is indeed holding far higher clock speeds than its 1st-gen predecessor could ever dream of, especially from two to six threads

POV-Ray performance

Our second test uses the Persistence of Vision Ray tracer benchmark. It’s a program that goes back to the Amiga days but has been updated for more modern hardware. Like Cinebench, it favors more cores, and again and there’s no surprise here: more cores win. In the case of the Ryzen 7 2700X, they win by a lot.

2g ryzen 7 2700x pov ray IDG

No surprise: POV-Ray puts the Ryzen 7 2700X far in front of the Core i7-8700K.

Blender performance

While free, POV-Ray is somewhat esoteric. So, for a more popular open-source opinion of how 2nd-gen Ryzen runs, we turn to Blender. It’s open source, well maintained and has been used to create the effects for numerous small indie movies. In fact, NASA even uses it now for modelling. For our test, we used Mike Pan’s popular BMW benchmark. 

The winner? Ryzen 7 2700X. There is a surprise though: the performance of the 8-core Ryzen 7 1700X. It actually loses to the 6-core Core i7-8700K by a few seconds.

2g ryzen 7 2700x blender IDG

The higher clock speed of the 2nd gen Ryzen puts it well ahead of the Core i7 but what’s up with that Ryzen 7 1700X?

Corona performance

In the photorealistic Corona renderer (which is available as a plugin for for Cinema4D and 3ds Max) we see the Ryzen 7 2700X again lead the pack which is good. We had originally transposed one of our scores which placed the Core i7-8700K in front. While that may not make sense when you consider that this is a multi-threaded test,  it actually initially looked correct to us us because the score tracked with the Ryzen 7 1700X which doesn't outperform the Core i7-8700K

2g ryzen 7 2700x corona IDG

Corona 1.3 agrees with the rest of the tests too.

V-Ray performance

Our last professional benchmark is the Chaos Group’s V-Ray benchmark. It’s a ray tracer that’s gaining some traction in Hollywood. “If you are not familiar with V-Ray, it is one of the leading raytracers in the world that is used in many different industries including architecture and automotive design," Chaos Group explains. "It has also been used in over 150 motion pictures and numerous episodic television series. It also won a Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement in 2017.”

The Chaos Groups said its own tests have shown 1st-gen Ryzen to be very potent in this test so how does the 2nd-gen Ryzen 7 2700X stand up? It’s a clear win over Core i7, but again, that pesky 6-core Intel chip hangs right there with the 8-core Ryzen 7 1700X.

2g ryzen 7 2700x vray IDG

The Chaos Group’s V-Ray was used for special effects on West World and Game of Thrones, so what else do you need to know?

Compression performance

Moving on to compression tests, we tapped the internal benchmarks of two popular applications to gauge 2nd-gen Ryzen's performance.

Our first result is courtesy of RARLab’s WinRAR 5.20. With Intel’s Skylake-X and AMD’s Threadripper, we found that WinRAR appears to dislike chips that use mesh architectures to connect their cores. And no surprise, WinRAR still doesn’t like either Ryzen chip. 

2g ryzen 7 2700x winrar IDG

WinRAR doesn’t appear to have changed its opinion of Ryzen which we suspect may be related to its Infinity Fabric design.

The good news: If you want a solid free utility to decompress and compress files, just download 7-Zip. The performance simply sings with 8-cores and the Ryzen 7 2700X's clock speed improvements. Even the Ryzen 7 1700X crushes the Core i7-8700K here.

2g ryzen 7 2700x 7 zip IDG

The basic lesson is to skip WinRAR for 7-Zip if you own a Ryzen CPU.

Veracrypt performance

We’re not going to get too far down the encryption performance rabbit hole but using Veracrypt’s internal benchmark (based on the now-dead but once popular TrueCrypt), the 8-core AMD chips have a nice advantage over the 6-core Intel chip. This particular task doesn’t seem too clock dependent though, as the Ryzen 7 2700X is in a dead heat with the Ryzen 7 1700X.

2g ryzen 7 2700x veracrypt aes IDG

Veracrypt says more cores = more encryption performance.

Handbrake performance

Our last workload test uses the popular Handbrake application (albeit a slightly older version) to convert a 30GB 1080P MKV file using the Android Tablet preset. Our workload and preset is heavily multi-threaded; more cores usually means big wins. It does here too. The Ryzen 7 2700X comes up with victory over the Core i7-8700K once again. The troubling part for AMD fans is the performance of the Ryzen 7 1700X, which doesn’t really outrun the Core i7-8700K by much.

2g ryzen 7 2700x handbrake IDG

2nd-gen Ryzen wins, again. 

Next page: Gaming performance and conclusion

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