AMD R7 2700 & 2700X Review: Streaming Benchmarks, Memory Scaling, & Volt-Frequency Performance

By Published April 19, 2018 at 9:00 am
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Additional Info

  • Component: CPU
  • Manufacturer: AMD

Reviewing the AMD R7 2700X was done outside of normal review provisions, as AMD didn’t sample us. We’ve had the parts for a month now, and that has meant following development, EFI updates, and more as they’ve been pushed. We have multiple chips of every variety, and have been able to cross-validate as the pre-launch cycle has iterated. Because of the density of data, we’re splitting our content into multiple videos and articles.

Today’s focus will be the AMD R7 2700X and R7 2700 reviews, especially for live streaming performance versus the i7-8700K, gaming performance, and production (Blender) performance. Most importantly, however, we dedicate time to talk about the significant improvements that AMD has made in the volt-frequency department. At a given frequency, e.g. 4.0GHz, Ryzen 2000 operates at a heavily reduced voltage versus Ryzen 1. We’ll dig into this further in this review, but check back later for our R5 2600X and 2600 reviews (combined in one piece), including 2600X vs. 8600K streaming benchmarks. We’re also looking at VRM thermals, motherboard PCBs and their VRM quality, memory overclocking and scalability (in this content), and more.

There is a lot of confusion about AMD’s branding – Zen 2 vs. Ryzen 2 vs. Zen+. We’re calling these CPUs “Ryzen 2,” because they’re literally called “Ryzen 2X00” CPUs. This is not the same as the Zen 2 architecture, which is not out yet.

Note: For overclocking, we only OC one CPU of each core count – so just the R7 2700X or R7 2700, but beyond validation of maximum frequency, there’s no need to OC both and run each through 20 hours of testing.

 

Test Platform (Sponsored by Corsair)

     

Motherboard

Gigabyte X470 Gaming 7
ASUS C7H
ASUS C6H
(See list below for details)

GN’s side channels
Also, ASUS for C6H

CPU

This is what we’re testing

-

Memory

Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200 16-18-18-36
GSkill Trident Z 3600

Corsair

Cooler

NZXT Kraken X62

NZXT

Power Supply

Corsair AX1600i
EVGA G2L 750

Corsair
EVGA

Video Card

EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3

EVGA

For AMD, we primarily tested on these platforms:

  • Gigabyte X470 Gaming 7, EFI revision F4B
  • ASUS Crosshair VII, EFI revision 0505
  • ASUS Crosshair VI, EFI revision 6008

Note that our initial Gigabyte X470 BIOS revision did not support disablement or tuning of XFR2. We ended up scrapping initial (internal) test data and replacing it once we received more consumer-ready BIOS revisions.

Wherever “X370” is mentioned, that’s the Crosshair VI. When X470 is mentioned, in gaming and production benchmarks, that’s the Gigabyte X470 Gaming 7. For overclocking, memory scaling, and game streaming tests, that’d be the ASUS Crosshair VII motherboard.

For Intel, we’re primarily using the ASUS Maximus X motherboard. Synthetic and Blender results, along with power results, are using the Gigabyte Ultra Gaming. We tested with the latest BIOS and with new Windows versions.

Ryzen 2 Minimum Stable Voltage to Hold a Frequency

Our review begins by discussing the most immediate improvement in the new Ryzen CPUs, which is the lowest stable voltage at a given frequency. The frequency curve for Ryzen is somewhat exponential, in that a 4.2GHz clock might take 1.38V to 1.4V to sustain, but a 4.3GHz clock takes beyond acceptable safe voltages in our testing.

Blender V-F | R7 2700X vs. 1700

EFI Input VCore

1.175V (LLC lvl 4) 2700X

1.425 (LLC lvl 5) 1700

HWINFO VCore SV12 TFN

1.162v

1.425v

Motherboard VCore

1.145v

1.406v

Tdie at 15 minutes

57.8*C

79.4*C

Current Clamp Amperage

10.5A

16.3A

Clamp Calculated Wattage

129.15

200.49

CPU Core Current SV12 TFN

78A

101-108A

Ambient @ 15 mins

25.4*C

27.8*C

To this end, we found that, at a given frequency of 4.0GHz, our R7 2700X held stable at 1.175V input at LLC level 4, which equated to 1.162V VCore at SVI2 TFN. The result was stability in Blender and Prime95 with torturous FFTs, while measuring at about 129W power consumption in Blender. For this same test, our 1700 at 4.0GHz required a 1.425V input at LLC level 5, yielding a 1.425VCore, a 201W power draw – so 70W higher – and pushed thermals to 79 degrees Tdie. That’s up from 57.8 degrees Tdie at the same ambient.

P95 29.4b 8x8FFT V-F | R7 2700X vs. 1700

EFI Input VCore

1.175V (LLC lvl 4) 2700X

1.425 (LLC lvl 4) 1700

HWINFO VCore SV12 TFN

1.162v

1.406v

Motherboard VCore

1.145v

1.395v

Tdie at 15 minutes

60.6*C

74.8*C

Current Clamp Amperage

11.4A

14.4A

Clamp Calculated Wattage

140.22

177.12

CPU Core Current SV12 TFN

80-84A

96-99A

Ambient @ 15 mins

25.9*C

27.1*C

Prime95 produced similar results, but you can find those in the article below.

Lower voltage for a given frequency also means lower power consumption for the same frequency. To some extent, this is binning – but most of that large delta is from improvement of the product’s clock efficiency at the “old” high clocks of 4.0GHz. To get to 4.2GHz and beyond, granted, does take over 1.42V on our chip. It’s a significant, nearly exponential curve to increase frequency by a couple hundred megahertz. We found 4.3 to be impossible to sustain on 3 of our CPUs that we’ve tested.

AMD Ryzen 2 (R7 2700X) Memory Overclocking

Memory overclocking hasn’t changed much with Ryzen+ and the X470 platforms. Initial reports suggested that 4000MHz would be achievable and somewhat standard on X470, including some off-record statements we received many months ago, but that’s not the case. Memory overclocking has hardly changed.

We found that both of our platforms were capable of handling 3600MHz XMP for our GSkill Trident Z kit on cold boot. Versus Ryzen’s launch, this is an incredible improvement; versus a month ago, it’s really not any different. Overclocking to 3666MHz, not that this is much of an OC, was also possible – but it required training. We could cold boot 3600, but we had to train to 3666MHz. Anything beyond that was unachievable on our board, CPU, and memory. Note that our memory was the kit used to take a top 5 world record recently, so we know it hits at least 4000MHz.

As for memory scalability, we did some testing on that as well:

3 memory scaling timespy ryzen2

This test was conducted with completely controlled memory timings, meaning we controlled every single timing presented in UEFI. That includes subtimings and tertiary timings.

When you control timings 100% and change only the memory frequency, plus whatever unpresented timings are being modified, the result for TimeSpy is what you see on the screen now. TimeSpy is highly memory sensitive, and we end up with 3666MHz plotting 9465 points, an uplift of 0.6% over 3600MHz, which is 0.4% over 3466MHz. You get the idea. There is absolutely scaling here, but it’s incremental. At 3600MHz versus 3200MHz, we observed a 3.5% difference. Given the price difference in some regions, you may as well stick with 3200MHz.

The difference between 3200MHz and 2400MHz is tremendous, though, marked at 12.5%. That’s with TimeSpy, which is memory sensitive.

4 memory scaling timespy ryzen2 auto

Here’s where it gets interesting: With the Crosshair VII Hero, tuning the frequency down will result in an automatic tightening of subtimings, which results in increased performance overall. If you were to manually enforce 16-18-18-36 timings and allow all other timings to be auto, which most users do, and then set the memory frequency, you’d end up with this chart.

The result is much tighter. We suddenly have a range of a couple hundred points, rather than 1400 points. Instead of 8070 to 9465, we’re at 9100 to 9300. That’s because the timings automatically tighten to a point of improving beyond the frequency improvement.

Basically, if you are really serious about performance, you’ve got a lot of work to do on auto-tuning timings. ASUS does an exceptional job at this automatically on their Crosshair VII Hero, and this is where you see the value of good motherboards emerge. This also illustrates how testing can be completely invalidated if you don’t pay close attention to those lower-level, buried timings, but more importantly, it shows that buying 3200MHz kits with tighter timings can perform every bit as well as higher frequencies and looser timings. That said, it’s best to go faster and with tighter timings, and not everything responds the same as TimeSpy did.

5 memory scaling firestrike ryzen2

Here’s an example. In Firestrike, which doesn’t use the same API as TimeSpy, we observed nearly 0 scaling between memory frequencies, even when controlled for timings.

6 memory scaling cinebench ryzen2

Cinebench also demonstrated nearly zero scaling difference; at least, not until 2400MHz.

Continue to Page 2 for AMD R7 2700X vs. i7-8700K game streaming.


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Last modified on April 19, 2018 at 9:00 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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