AMD’s second-generation Ryzen CPUs are almost here. It’s a significant step forward for AMD and its new(ish) Zen architecture. Last year’s launch established that AMD could once again take the fight to Intel, after six years languishing in the wilderness with Bulldozer and Bulldozer-derived processors. AMD took a strong market position against Intel’s 7th-generation Core CPUs with Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 in 2017, though Intel blunted some of that impact later in the year with the launch of the Core i7-8700K and its other 8th Generation CPUs.
One important point we want to call out here. While these chips are classified as second-generation Ryzen processors, they are not a “Ryzen 2” architecture. That comes next year with 7nm. These CPUs are built on a refined 14nm process dubbed 12nm, but architecturally they’re similar to the CPUs AMD has already launched.
What the new CPUs do deliver is substantially increased clocks and, in one case, a somewhat higher TDP. The new Ryzen 7 2700X is a 3.7GHz base, 4.3GHz boost clock CPU, compared with the 3.6GHz base clock, 4GHz boost on the Ryzen 7 1800X. At first glance, that might not look like much, but looks can be deceiving. We’re not allowed to say much about what’s changed here yet, but we can tell you that AMD has done some fine-tuning on its XFR and Precision Boost implementations. These new Ryzen CPUs are expected to hold higher clocks than their predecessors, delivering substantially more performance. The TDP bump on the Ryzen 7 2700X reflects this.
AMD has also adjusted its overall core pricing strategy. The Ryzen 7 1800X debuted at $500, while the 2700X is just $329, with the eight-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 2700 dropping to $299 with a 3.2 – 4.1GHz split, compared with 3.0 – 3.7GHz for the Ryzen 7 1700 (launch price: $329). The Ryzen 5 2600X and 2600 also get their own suite of clock bumps. The company is also releasing a new X470 motherboard design, though these boards aren’t much different than the current lineup of X370 hardware, apart from some more robust power circuitry that may improve overclocking performance. Expect full backwards compatibility between the new CPUs and X370 boards released last year, save for the UEFI updates that will likely be required.
AMD is also shipping a new, upgraded Wraith Prism cooler with all of these CPUs. Performance is expected to be higher than the previous Wraith Spire, which is still the default cooler option for the Ryzen 7 2700 and Ryzen 5 2600X. The Ryzen 7 2700X is a 105W TDP part, the Ryzen 5 2600X draws 95W, and the Ryzen 7 2700 and Ryzen 5 2600 are both 65W chips. The new CPUs are up for pre-0rder now (See on Amazon); they’ll launch next week.
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