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

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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

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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++

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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

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CPU Performance: System Tests CPU Performance: Office Tests
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  • mapesdhs - Saturday, February 2, 2019 - link

    Is that the same issue as the one referring to running on core zero? I watched a video about it recently but I can't recall if it was L1T or elsewhere. Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Sunday, February 3, 2019 - link

    it is that issue yes. blocking use of core is a work-around that kind'a works. Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Sunday, February 3, 2019 - link

    (in some workloads, not all) Reply
  • Coolmike980 - Monday, February 4, 2019 - link

    So here's my thing: Why can't we have good benchmarks? Nothing here on Linux, and nothing in a VM. I'd be willing to be good money I could take a 2990, run Linux, run 5 VM's of 6 cores each, run these benchmarks (the non-gpu dependent ones), and collectively beat the pants off of this CPU under any condition you want to run it. Also, this Civ 6 thing - the only benchmark that would be of any value would be the CPU one, and they've been claiming to want to make this work for 2 years now. Either get it working, or drop it altogether. Rant over. Thanks. Reply
  • FlanK3r - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    where is CinebenchR15 results? In testing methology is it, but in results I can not find it :) Reply
  • MattsMechanicalSSI - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    der8auer did a delid video, and a number of CB runs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD9B-uu8At8 Also, Steve at GN has had a good look at it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N29jTOjBZrw Reply
  • MattZN - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    @MattsMechanicalSSI Yup... both are very telling.

    I give the 3175X a pass on DDR connectivity (from the DerBauer video) since he's constantly having to socket and unsocket the chip, but I agree with him that there should be a carrier for a chip that large. Depending on the user to guess the proper pressure is a bad idea.

    But, particularly the GN review around 16:00 or so where we see the 3175X pulling 672W at the wall (OC) for a tiny improvement in time over the 2990WX. Both AMD and Intel goose these CPUs, even at stock, but the Intel numbers are horrendous. They aren't even trying to keep wattages under control.

    The game tests are more likely an issue with the windows scheduler (ala Wendel's work). And the fact that nobody in their right mind runs games on these CPUs.

    The Xeon is certainly a faster CPU, but the price and the wattage cost kinda make it a non-starter. There's really no point to it, not even for professional work. Steve (GN) kinda thinks that there might be a use-case with Premier but... I don't really. At least not for the ~5 months or so before we get the next node on AMD (and ~11 months for Intel).

    -Matt
    Reply
  • mapesdhs - Saturday, February 2, 2019 - link

    Cinebench is badly broken at this level of cores, it's not scaling properly anymore. See:

    https://www.servethehome.com/cinebench-r15-is-now-...
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    For $3000 USD, a 28 core unlocked Xeon chip isn't terribly bad. The real issue is its incredibly low volume nature and that in effect only two motherboards are going to be supporting it. LGA 3647 is a wide spread platform but the high 255W TDP keeps it isolated.

    Oddly I think Intel would have had better success if they also simultaneously launched an unlocked 18 core part with even higher base/turbo clocks. This would have threaded the needle better in terms of per thread performance and overall throughput. The six channel memory configuration would have assisted in performance to distinguish itself from the highend Core i9 Extreme chips.

    The other aspect is that there is no clear upgrade path from the current chips: pretty much one chip to board ratio for the life time of the product. There is a lot on the Xeon side Intel has planned like on package FGPAs, Omnipath fabric and Nervana accelerators which could stretch their wings with a 255 W TDP. The Xeon Gold 6138P is an example of this as it comes with an Arria 10 FPGA inside but a slightly reduced clock 6138 die as well at a 195 W TDP. At 255 W, that chip wouldn't have needed to compromise the CPU side. For the niche market Intel is targeting, a FPGA solution would be interesting if they pushed ideas like OpenCL and DirectCompute to run on the FPGA alongside the CPU. Doing something really bold like accelerating PhysX on the FPGA would have been an interesting demo of what that technology could do. Or leverage the FGPA for DSP audio effects in a full 3D environment. That'd give something for these users to look forward to.

    Well there is the opportunity to put in other LGA 3647 parts into these boards but starting off with a 28 core unlocked chip means that other offering are a downgrade. With luck, Ice Lake-SP would be an upgrade but Intel hasn't committed to it on LGA 3647.

    Ultimately this looks like AMD's old 4x4/QuadFX efforts that'll be quickly forgotten by history.

    Speaking of AMD, Intel missing the launch window by a few months places it closer to the eminent launch of new Threader designs leveraging Zen 2 and AMD's chiplet strategy. I wouldn't expect AMD to go beyond 32 cores for Threadripper but the common IO die should improve performance overall on top of the Zen 2 improvements. Intel has some serious competition coming.
    Reply
  • twtech - Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - link

    Nobody really upgrades workstation CPUs, but it sounds like getting a replacement in the event of failure.could be difficult if the stock will be so limited.

    If Dell and HP started offering this chip in their workstation lineup - which I don't expect to happen given the low-volume CPU production and needing a custom motherboard - then I think it would have been a popular product.
    Reply

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