CPU Performance: 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.

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

For our graphs, some of them have two values: a regular value in orange, and one in red called 'Intel Spec'. ASUS offers the option to 'open up' the power and current limits of the chip, so the CPU is still running at the same frequency but is not throttled. Despite Intel saying that they recommend 'Intel Spec', the system they sent to us to test was actually set up with the power limits opened up, and the results they provided for us to compare to internally also correlated with that setting. As a result, we're providing both sets results for our CPU tests.

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


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


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++


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



CPU Performance: System Tests CPU Performance: Office Tests


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  • johngardner58 - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    Again it depends on the need. If you need speed, there is no alternative. You can't get it by just running blades because not everything can be broken apart into independent parallel processes. Our company once ran an analysis that took a very long time. When time is money this is the only thing that will fill the bill for certain workloads. Having shared high speed resources (memory and cache) make the difference. That is why 255 Raspberry PIs clustered will not outperform most home desktops unless they are doing highly independent parallel processes. Actually the MIPS per watt on such a processor is probably lower than having individual processors because of the combined inefficiencies of duplicate support circuitry. Reply
  • SanX - Friday, February 1, 2019 - link

    Every second home has few running space heaters 1500W at winter time Reply
  • johngardner58 - Monday, February 24, 2020 - link

    Server side: depends on workload, usually yes a bladed or multiprocessor setup is usually better for massively parallel (independent) tasks, but cores can talk to each other much much much faster than blades, as they share caches, memory. So for less parallel work loads (single process multiple threads: e.g. rendering, numerics & analytics) this can provide far more performance and reduced costs. Probably the best example of the need for core count is GPU based processing. Intel also had specialized high core count XEON based accelerator cards with 96 cores at one point. There is a need even if limited. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, January 31, 2019 - link

    The problem is in the vast majority of the applications an $1800 CPU from AMD running on a $300 motherboard (that's an overall platform savings of $2400!) the AMD CPU either matches or beats the Intel Xeon. You have to cherry-pick the benchmarks Intel leads in, and yes, it leads by a healthy margin, but they basically come down to 7-zip, random rendering tasks, and Corona.

    Disaster strikes when you consider there is ZERO headroom for overclocking the Intel Xeon, where the AMD Threadripper has some headroom to probably narrow the gap on these few and far between defeats.

    I love Intel but wow what the hell has been going on over there lately...
  • Jimbo2K7 - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    Baby's on fire? Better throw her in the water!

    Love the Eno reference!
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    Nah, I figure Ian for more of a Die Antwoord fan. Intel’s gone zef style to compete with AMD’s Zen style. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    ^ repoman gets it. I actually listen mostly to melodic/death metal and industrial. Something fast paced to help overclock my brain Reply
  • WasHopingForAnHonestReview - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    My man Reply
  • IGTrading - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    Was testing done with mediation regarding the specific windows BUG that affects AMD's CPUs with more than 16 cores? Or was it done with no attempt to ensure normal processing conditions for ThreadRipper, despite the known bug? Reply
  • eva02langley - Thursday, January 31, 2019 - link

    Insomnium, Kalmah, Hypocrisy, Dark Tranquility, Ne Obliviscaris...

    By the way, Saor and Rotting Christ are releasing their albums in two weeks.

    You might want to check out Carpenter Brut - Leether Teeths and Rivers of Nihil - Where Owls Know My Name.

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