HEDT Benchmarks: Rendering Tests

Rendering is often a key target for processor workloads, lending itself to a professional environment. It comes in different formats as well, from 3D rendering through rasterization, such as games, or by ray tracing, and invokes the ability of the software to manage meshes, textures, collisions, aliasing, physics (in animations), and discarding unnecessary work. Most renderers offer CPU code paths, while a few use GPUs and select environments use FPGAs or dedicated ASICs. For big studios however, CPUs are still the hardware of choice.

Corona 1.3: Performance Render

An advanced performance based renderer for software such as 3ds Max and Cinema 4D, the Corona benchmark renders a generated scene as a standard under its 1.3 software version. Normally the GUI implementation of the benchmark shows the scene being built, and allows the user to upload the result as a ‘time to complete’.

We got in contact with the developer who gave us a command line version of the benchmark that does a direct output of results. Rather than reporting time, we report the average number of rays per second across six runs, as the performance scaling of a result per unit time is typically visually easier to understand.

The Corona benchmark website can be found at https://corona-renderer.com/benchmark

Corona 1.3 Benchmark

So this is where AMD broke our graphing engine. Because we report Corona in rays per second, having 12 million of them puts eight digits into our engine, which it then tries to interpret as a scientific number (1.2 x 10^7), which it can’t process in a graph. We had to convert this graph into millions of rays per second to get it to work.

The 2990WX hits out in front with 32 cores, with its higher frequency being the main reason it is so far ahead of the EPYC processor. The EPYC and Core i9 are close together, however the TR2950X at half the cost comes reasonably close.

Blender 2.79b: 3D Creation Suite

A high profile rendering tool, Blender is open-source allowing for massive amounts of configurability, and is used by a number of high-profile animation studios worldwide. The organization recently released a Blender benchmark package, a couple of weeks after we had narrowed our Blender test for our new suite, however their test can take over an hour. For our results, we run one of the sub-tests in that suite through the command line - a standard ‘bmw27’ scene in CPU only mode, and measure the time to complete the render.

Blender can be downloaded at https://www.blender.org/download/

Blender 2.79b bmw27_cpu Benchmark

The additional cores on the 2990WX puts it out ahead of the EPYC and Core i9, with the 2990WX having an extra 58% throughput over the Core i9. That is very substantial indeed.

LuxMark v3.1: LuxRender via Different Code Paths

As stated at the top, there are many different ways to process rendering data: CPU, GPU, Accelerator, and others. On top of that, there are many frameworks and APIs in which to program, depending on how the software will be used. LuxMark, a benchmark developed using the LuxRender engine, offers several different scenes and APIs.


Taken from the Linux Version of LuxMark

In our test, we run the simple ‘Ball’ scene on both the C++ and OpenCL code paths, but in CPU mode. This scene starts with a rough render and slowly improves the quality over two minutes, giving a final result in what is essentially an average ‘kilorays per second’.

LuxMark v3.1 C++LuxMark v3.1 OpenCL

Intel’s Skylake-X processors seem to fail our OpenCL test for some reason, but in the C++ test the extra memory controllers on EPYC sets it ahead of both TR2 and Core i9. The 2990WX and Core i9 are almost equal here.

POV-Ray 3.7.1: Ray Tracing

The Persistence of Vision ray tracing engine is another well-known benchmarking tool, which was in a state of relative hibernation until AMD released its Zen processors, to which suddenly both Intel and AMD were submitting code to the main branch of the open source project. For our test, we use the built-in benchmark for all-cores, called from the command line.

POV-Ray can be downloaded from http://www.povray.org/

POV-Ray 3.7.1 Benchmark

This test is another that loves the cores and frequency of the 2990WX, finishing the benchmark in almost 20 seconds. It might be time for a bigger built-in benchmark.

HEDT Benchmarks: System Tests HEDT Benchmarks: Office Tests
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  • 3DVagabond - Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - link

    When did you switch to this new benchmark suite? Reply
  • Lord of the Bored - Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - link

    Still writing... Reply
  • mukiex - Friday, August 17, 2018 - link

    Looks like it's no longer a problem! They deleted all those pages. Reply
  • GreenReaper - Saturday, August 18, 2018 - link

    They're back again now. Reply
  • abufrejoval - Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - link

    Separating CPU (and GPU) cores from their memory clearly doesn't seem sustainable going forward.

    That's why I find the custom chip did for the chinese console so interesting: If they did an HBM variant, perhaps another with 16 or even 32GB per SoC, they'd use the IF mostly for IPC/non-local memory access and the chance of using GPGPU compute for truly parallel algorithms would be much bigger as the latency of context switches between CPU and GPU code would be minimal with both using the same physical memory space.

    They might still put ordinary RAM or NV-RAM somewhere to the side as secondary storage, so it looks a little like Knights Landing.

    IF interconnects might be a little longer, really long when you scale beyond what you can fit on a single board and probably something where optical interconnects would be better (once you got them...)

    I keep having visions of plenty of such 4x boards swimming immersed in a tank of this "mineral oil" stuff that evidently has little to do with oil but allows so much more density and could run around those chips 'naked'.
    Reply
  • Alaa - Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - link

    I do not think that testing only a single tool at a time is a good benchmark for such high core count architecture. These cores need concurrent workloads to showcase their real power. Reply
  • csell - Thursday, August 16, 2018 - link

    Can somebody please tell me the difference between the ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme motherboard rev 2 used here and the old ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme motherboard. I can't find any information about the rev 2 somewhere else? Reply
  • UnNameless - Friday, August 17, 2018 - link

    I also want to know that. I have the "rev 1" Asus rog zenith extreme and can't find any difference. Reply
  • spikespiegal - Friday, August 17, 2018 - link

    Companies buy PC's to run applications and don't care about memory timing, CPU's, clock speed or any other MB architecture. They only care about the box on the desk to run applications and ROI, as they should. AMD has historically only made a dent in the low end desktop market because Intel has this funny habit of not letting chip prices depreciate much below $200. AMD does, so they occupy the discount desktop market because when you buy 10,000 general purpose workstations saving $120 per box is a big chunk of change.
    I'm looking at the benchmark tests and all I'm seeing is the AMD chips doing well in mindless rendering and other synthetic desktop tasks no one outside multimedia would care about. The i7 holds it's own in too many complex application tests, which proves that once again per core efficacy is all that matters and AMD can't alter the reality of this. Where is the VMware host / mixed guest application benchmark consisting of Exchange, SQL, RDS, file services, AD and other? You know, those things that run corporate commerce and favor high core efficacy? Nobody runs bare metal servers anymore, and nobody reputable builds their own servers.
    Reply
  • Dragonrider - Friday, August 17, 2018 - link

    Ian, are you going to test PBO performance with these processors (I know, it was probably not practical while you were on the road)? Some questions popped up in my mind. Can PBO be activated when the processor in partial mode (i.e. 1/2 mode or game mode in the case of the 2990)? Also What does the power consumption and performance look like in those partial modes for different application sets with and without PBO? I know that represents a lot of testing, but on the surface, the 2990 looks like it could be a really nice all-round processor if one were willing to do some mode switching. It seems like it should perform pretty close to the 2950 in game mode and 1/2 mode and you have already established that it is a rendering beast in full mode. Bottom line, I think the testing that has been published so far only scratches the surface of what this processor may be capable of. Reply

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