AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen Review: 2700X And 2600X Deliver More Performance Per Dollar

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AMD Second Generation Ryzen Processor Features

The primary characteristics that differentiate AMD’s 2nd Generation Ryzen processors from the originals are its new Zen+ architecture, the new 12nm manufacturing process, tweaks to the feature set like Precision Boost 2, and some underlying changes that reduce cache and memory latency.

Though details of how AMD achieved it are scarce, the company claims 2nd Gen Ryzen processors based on Zen+ offer reductions in L1, L2, and L3 cache latencies of approximately 13%, 34%, and 16%, respectively. Memory latency is reportedly reduced by about 11% and all of those improvements result in an approximate 3% increase in IPC (instructions per clock). On top of this, the processors now have official support for faster JEDEC DDR4-2933 memory.
2ng gen ryzen angle 3
The move to a new stepping in these processors, which incorporates optimizations AMD identified when analyzing cache and memory performance on the originals, along with updated firmware, is where the latency improvements and support for faster memory come from, but we’re not clear on exactly what’s been changed in Zen+ versus Zen in this regard. We’ve sent some questions in to AMD, but as of this article’s publication we haven’t gotten any firm answers.

AMD’s 2nd Generation Ryzen processors are also manufactured using Global Foundaries’ 12nm LP “leading performance” process. The new 12nm LP process improves transistor performance and switching rate, and also allows AMD to boost frequencies and reduce voltages at a given frequency step by about .5mW, but it does so without affecting density or area. GloFlo’s 12nm LP process doesn’t actually use smaller lithography, hence the die size for 2nd Generation Ryzen processors is the same as the originals.
precision boost 2
Architectural and process improvements allow AMD to run 2nd Generation Ryzen processors at higher clocks than the originals, but there is also additional performance to be gained by the new Precision Boost 2 algorithm. First-generation Ryzen 1000 series processors with Precision Boost essentially offered two discrete states – All-Core Boost and Precision Boost. All-Core boost kicked in when three or more cores were being utilized, while Precision Boost, which offered higher clocks, kicked in when one or two cores were taxed.

Precision Boost 2 is somewhat similar in that it boosts frequencies in 25MHz increments like the original, but PB2’s more intelligent algorithm will shoot for the highest possible frequency until a thermal or electrical limit is reached or the rated frequency of the particular processor is met (whichever comes first), regardless of the number of threads in flight. Instead of a sharp drop-off in frequency past two cores like the original Precision Boost, PB2 will gradually alter clocks using a more linear model. The end result is that more cores on 2nd Generation Ryzen processors will remain at higher clocks, for longer periods of time, which improves overall performance.

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XFR (Extended Frequency Range) also gets an update to XFR2, but its behavior is somewhat different now. Whereas XFR was restricted to a small number of cores with the original Ryzen processors, XFR2 now operates across any number of cores and threads, like Precision Boost 2. As a result, there isn’t a higher clock ceiling for lightly threaded workloads with XFR2 – the max clock is the max clock. However, because Precision Boost 2 is opportunistic now, additional cooling can theoretically result in better performance. AMD is claiming XFR2 can enable up to a 7% performance uplift even when every core and thread is loaded, if the processor is adequately cooled.

wrait cooler lit

Speaking cooling, all of AMD’s 2nd Gen Ryzen 2000 series processors will include a cooler moving forward and they all feature soldered integrated heat spreaders, utilizing Indium Alloy Solder, to further reduce temperatures. AMD's Ryzen 7 2700X, however, gets special treatment and includes the new Wraith Prism.
amd wraith prism
The Wraith Prism features direct-contact copper heat-pipes, a dense array of aluminum heatsink fins, switchable “high / low” fan profiles, and independent RGB ring, fan blade, and AMD logo lighting. The lighting can also be switched off if you so choose. We used the Wraith Prism for all of our testing, and while we think it’s a great additional to the line-up and an absolutely awesome solution to be included with a processor in the box, it can get somewhat loud under load.

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