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


View All Comments

  • MattZN - Monday, August 20, 2018 - link

    If its idling at 80-85W that implies you are running the memory fabric at 2800 or 3000MHz or higher. Try running the fabric at 2666MHz.

    Also keep in mind that a 2990WX running all 64 threads with a memory-heavy workload is almost guaranteed to be capped out by available memory bandwidth, so there's no point overclocking the CPU for those sorts of tests. In fact, you could try setting a lower PPT limit for the CPU core along with running the memory at 2666... you can probably chop 50-100W off the power consumption without changing the test results much (beyond the difference between 3000 and 2666).

    It's a bit unclear what you are loading the threads with. A computation-intensive workload will not load down the fabric much, meaning power will shift to the CPU cores and away from the fabric. A memory-intensive workload, on the otherhand, will stall-out the CPU cores (due to hitting the memory bandwidth cap that 4 memory channels gives you), and yet run the fabric at full speed. This is probably why you are seeing the results you are seeing. The CPU cores are likely hitting so many stalls they might as well be running at 2.8GHz instead of 3.4GHz, so they won't be using nearly as much power as you might expect.

  • XEDX - Monday, August 20, 2018 - link

    What happened to the Chromium compile rate for the 7980XE? On it's own review posted on Sep 25th 2017, it achieved 36.35 compiles per day, but in this review it dropped all the way down to 21.1. Reply
  • jcc5169 - Saturday, August 25, 2018 - link

    Intel Will Struggle For Years And AMD Will Reap The Benefits-- SegmentNext https://segmentnext.com/ Reply
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  • Relic74 - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    Regardless of the outcome, I went ahead and bought the 32 Core version. As I run SmartOS, an OS designed to run and manage Virtual Machines, I decided to go this route over the Epyc 24. My setup includes the new MSI MEG X399, 32 Core TR, 128GB DDR4 RAM, 3x Vega Frontier (used, $1000 for all three, no one wants them but I love them), 1 X Nvidia Titan Z (used for only $700, an amazing find from a pawn shop, did not know what he had, had it marked as an XP). Storage is 2 x 1TB Samsung 970 Pro in Raid 0 and 5x 8TB SATA in Raid 5 with 8GB of cache on card.

    The system is amazing and cost me much, much less than the iMac Pro I was about to buy. Now though, I can run any OS in VM, including OSX, with a designated GPU per VM and cores allocated to them. This setup is amazing, SmartOS is amazing, I have stopped running OS's with every application installed, Instead I create single purpose VM's and just install one or maybe two applications per. So for instance when I'm playing a game like DCS, a fantastic flight simulator, only has DCS and Steam installed on the VM. Allowing for the best performance possible, no, the lost of any performance by running things in VM are so minuscule that it's a none issue. DCS with the Titan V runs at over 200 FPS at 4K with everything turned to their max values. I have to actually cap games to my gaming monitors 144Hz refresh rate. Not only that but I can be playing the most demanding game their is, even in VR, while encoding a media file, while rendering something in Blender, while compiling an application, all tasks running under their own VM like a orchestra of perfection.

    Seriously, I will never go back to a one OS at a time machine again, not when SmartOS exists and especially not when 32 Cores are available at your command. In fact, anyone who buys this CPU and just runs one single OS at a time is an idiot as you will never, ever harness it's full intention as no one single application really can at the moment or at least not to the point where it's worth doing it.

    Most games dont need more than 4 cores, most design applications can't even use more than 2 cores, rendering applications use more of the GPU than CPU, in fact the only thing that really tasks my CPU is SmartOS that is controlling everything but even that doesn't need more than 6 cores to function perfectly, heck, I even had it at 12 cores but it didn't utilize it. So I have cores coming out of the yin-yang and more GPU's than I know what to do with. Aaaaahhhh poor, poor me.

    This computer will be with me for at least 10 years without ever feeling that I need an upgrade, which is why I spent the money, get it right the first time and than leave it alone I say.

    Oh and the memory management for SmartOS is incredible, I have set it up where if a VM needs more RAM, it will just grab it from another that isn't using it at the moment, it's all dynamic. Man, I am in love.

  • Phaedra - Sunday, March 3, 2019 - link

    Hi Relic74,

    I enjoyed reading your lengthy post on the technical marvel that is SmartOS and the 32 Core TR.

    I am very much interested in the technical details of how you got SmartOS to work with AMD hardware. Which version of SmartOS, Windows, KVM (or BHYVE) with PCI passthrough etc?

    I am in the process of preparing my own threadripper hyper computer and would love some advice regarding the KVM + PCI passthrough process.

    You mention gaming in a VM so I assume that you used a Windows 10 guest via KVM with PCI passthrough?

    The following says SmartOS doesn't support KVM on AMD hardware: https://wiki.smartos.org/display/DOC/SmartOS+Techn...

    Did you build the special module with amd-kvm support:

    I would appreciate any insight or links to documentation you could provide. I am familiar with Windows/Linux/BSD so you can let me have the nitty-gritty details, thanks
  • gbolcer - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - link

    Curious why virtualization disabled? Reply
  • Ozymankos - Sunday, January 27, 2019 - link

    Your tests are typical for a single core machine which is laughable
    please try to download a game with steam,play some music,watch tv on a tvtuner card,play a game on 6 monitors or 8 or 4 ,do some work like computing something in the background(not virus scanners,something intelligent like life on other planets)
    then you shall see the truth
  • intel352 - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    Old article obviously, but wth, numerous benchmark graphics are excluding 2950x in the results. Pretty bad quality control. Reply
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