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.

All of our benchmark results can also be found in our benchmark engine, Bench.

Corona 1.3: link

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: link

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 v3.1: Link

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++Rendering: LuxMark CPU OpenCL

POV-Ray 3.7.1b4: link

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: link

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 SingleThreadedRendering: CineBench 15 MultiThreaded

Benchmarking Performance: CPU System Tests Benchmarking Performance: CPU Web Tests
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  • Gavin Bonshor - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    One of the hardest working men in the industry! :D Reply
  • edlee - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    I dont understand the point of making a $100 cpu without an integrated gpu if you wanted to attract the lower end market, this is really silly mistake. Sort of like intel including an integrated gpu with i7-7700k, it doesnt make sense, 95% of those with a 7700k will buy a gpu, but someone who is looking for a lowend cpu is not going to buy a discrete graphics cards, its just silly Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    It really depends on the use case.

    For example, are there any integrated GPUs that support 3 monitors? I know a lot of them support dual monitors, but haven't come across any that support 3 (although I haven't looked that hard). My work PC is a low-profile desktop running an AMD Athlon-II x4 CPU and an Nvidia 730 GT GPU for tri-monitor setup. Upgrading the CPU/motherboard/RAM to a Ryzen 3 1300X would be a huge upgrade for this system.

    90-odd % of the desktops in the schools here use AMD Athlon-II CPUs (graphics integrated into the chipset), with the rest using Intel Pentium CPUs (graphics integrated into the CPU). And we add Nvidia 210 or 730 GPUs to those that need better multi-monitor support or better 3D performance. Why do we do it that way? Cost. We try to keep the complete desktop system (case, motherboard,
    CPU, at least 2 GB RAM, no storage of any kind) to under $200 CDN (they're diskless Linux stations). We have just shy of 5000 of those in the district right now.

    We've avoided the Bulldozer-based APUs so far as the price/performance just wasn't there compared to the Pentium line (from our suppliers). But the Ryzen 3 looks like a decent upgrade. Will be interesting to see what the prices are like for it from our suppliers this winter/spring. Will also be interesting to see what the GPU side of the Zen-based APUs will be like next year.

    The other important bit is driver support. We are a mostly Linux-using school district, so we tend to use hardware that's at least 2 steps back from the bleeding edge. That way, we get better prices, and better driver support.
    Reply
  • edlee - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    i understand when upgrading from integrated to gpu like you stated in your use case, but from the low end price standpoint, a i3-7100 is cheaper because they dont need to add a gpu like the ryzen 3 needs, so its not competing on a performance standpoint or a price standpoint when you add the price of the cheapest gpu Reply
  • Outlander_04 - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Using an integrated gpu is usually a poor choice. Intels drivers are so dumbed down they are worse than hopeless.
    Factor in that using integrated means less system RAM available as well so performance can be reduced
    Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Tuesday, August 01, 2017 - link

    Many people may be starting out from the position of knowing that the integrated graphics on any of the Intel CPU's in the test are not good enough for them. If you know that from the start then the argument that AMD doesn't have an IGPU is meaningless. I'm also somewhat interested in seeing overclocking tests with the R3 as that is one thing you just don't get with Intel at this level short of the 7350K. I sort of suspect that an OC'd 1200 could but just as fast or faster than a 1300X (though at only a $20 difference I'm not sure how much it matters).
    Also, in more computationally intense tasks, the 1300x really doesn't do badly against the i5 that costs $53 more so once again, if you don't care about integrated graphics it could be a good choice for some people.

    On the other hand, for someone for whom MS Office, email, and web browsing are their main uses, then something like the i3-7100 suddenly looks very attractive - or even the Pentium G.
    In this segment, AMD really needs to get a Ryzen Based APU on the market. If they did a single CCX, 4 core and used the empty space vacated by the second CCX for a decent IGPU they could definitely have an i3 killer.
    Reply
  • renw0rp - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    I had HP Folio 9470m with core i5-3437U and it was driving 3 * 1920x1200 screens without an issue. And it's ~2013 processor...

    3rd gen of Core processors was the first to support 3 displays. The 2nd gen supported just 2.
    Reply
  • stuartlew - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    AMD Kaveri does three monitors Reply
  • serendip - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    Are there motherboards with integrated chipset graphics for Ryzen?

    I understand the good thing about adding a discrete GPU only to PCs that need one but not having an integrated GPU is nuts, for the mass market at least.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    No, but Bristol Ridge launched yesterday, so there are now APUs that use AM4. Reply

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