Benchmarking Performance: CPU Rendering Tests

Rendering tests are a long-time favorite of reviewers and benchmarkers, as the code used by rendering packages is usually highly optimized to squeeze every little bit of performance out. Sometimes rendering programs end up being heavily memory dependent as well - when you have that many threads flying about with a ton of data, having low latency memory can be key to everything. Here we take a few of the usual rendering packages under Windows 10, as well as a few new interesting benchmarks.

Corona 1.3

Corona is a standalone package designed to assist software like 3ds Max and Maya with photorealism via ray tracing. It's simple - shoot rays, get pixels. OK, it's more complicated than that, but the benchmark renders a fixed scene six times and offers results in terms of time and rays per second. The official benchmark tables list user submitted results in terms of time, however I feel rays per second is a better metric (in general, scores where higher is better seem to be easier to explain anyway). Corona likes to pile on the threads, so the results end up being very staggered based on thread count.

Rendering: Corona Photorealism

Blender 2.78

For a render that has been around for what seems like ages, Blender is still a highly popular tool. We managed to wrap up a standard workload into the February 5 nightly build of Blender and measure the time it takes to render the first frame of the scene. Being one of the bigger open source tools out there, it means both AMD and Intel work actively to help improve the codebase, for better or for worse on their own/each other's microarchitecture.

Rendering: Blender 2.78

LuxMark

As a synthetic, LuxMark might come across as somewhat arbitrary as a renderer, given that it's mainly used to test GPUs, but it does offer both an OpenCL and a standard C++ mode. In this instance, aside from seeing the comparison in each coding mode for cores and IPC, we also get to see the difference in performance moving from a C++ based code-stack to an OpenCL one with a CPU as the main host.

Rendering: LuxMark CPU C++

POV-Ray 3.7b3

Another regular benchmark in most suites, POV-Ray is another ray-tracer but has been around for many years. It just so happens that during the run up to AMD's Ryzen launch, the code base started to get active again with developers making changes to the code and pushing out updates. Our version and benchmarking started just before that was happening, but given time we will see where the POV-Ray code ends up and adjust in due course.

Rendering: POV-Ray 3.7

Cinebench R15

The latest version of CineBench has also become one of those 'used everywhere' benchmarks, particularly as an indicator of single thread performance. High IPC and high frequency gives performance in ST, whereas having good scaling and many cores is where the MT test wins out.

Rendering: CineBench 15 MultiThreaded

Rendering: CineBench 15 SingleThreaded

 

Benchmarking Performance: CPU System Tests Benchmarking Performance: CPU Web Tests
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  • FreckledTrout - Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - link

    If the 16 core Threadripper ends up being higher perfomant, cheaper, and using less power then it this argument wont matter. Im not sure it will win all three but it could. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - link

    <$1000 for 16 core Zen, spent your money there, worth the extra over the 8 core Ryzen. Reply
  • Flunk - Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - link

    No, it isn't. In a professional setting it's better to have more, less expensive systems rendering/serving/anything that just needs more processor time. For an additional $1000, I can double my performance rather than getting 20-30% more. Reply
  • FMinus - Thursday, June 22, 2017 - link

    Frankly I was looking at an upcoming 12 core CPU from either AMD or Intel for my render machine, with the EPYC prices announced, I could see myself going with two AMD Threadrippers 12 cores if they keep them under $800. I got most parts, just need motherboards and the chips, and if they really do keep the price under $800 for 12 core TR, I will get two systems for a bit more as just the 12 core CPU from Intel will cost. Granted since I got most other parts I spent that ahead, but still, two systems easily. And of course the power consumption will be higher, but still. Reply
  • someonesomewherelse - Saturday, October 14, 2017 - link

    What about a single processor 24 core (or even 32 core) epyc? Slightly lower clocks but the 32 core's extra cores should make up for it and it's cheaper than 2 12 core threadrippers especially once you factor in the motherboards/ram/... and ease of use. Reply
  • someonesomewherelse - Saturday, October 14, 2017 - link

    With TR being so cheaper you can have two computers rendering which will be almost twice as fast. Reply
  • barleyguy - Saturday, June 24, 2017 - link

    The 1600x has a 4.1 GHz XFR frequency, which requires good cooling but seems to kick in more than other Ryzen processors, likely because of two less cores. So on lightly threaded tasks without manual overclocking, the 1600x is a great choice.

    Manual overclocking changes the picture a bit though. In that case the 1600 and 1700 move up in bang for the buck, as does the i7 7700k.
    Reply
  • chrysrobyn - Monday, June 19, 2017 - link

    Zen isn't winning anything here, but they're showing up to the party. It's hard to ignore their prices, which are always lower than the Intel chips in the neighborhood (summed up in the conclusion with "Play it cheaper but competitive"), and their power -- 1/3rd less power than the Intel chips nearby -- which I didn't even see addressed? Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, June 19, 2017 - link

    I made the graph, forgot to write about it. Doing so now...

    (I always end up writing through the launch time :D)
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, June 19, 2017 - link

    OK sorry, done. I'm currently in another briefing for something else... Reply

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