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.

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

A raw multithreaded test, the eight thread CPUs here score above the quad cores without SMT. The 2500X with four cores and eight threads is on par with a six-core Intel CPU here.

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

Bender is a variable threaded test, tackling lots of parts of the system. The move from a 4C/4T AMD chip to the 4C/8T AMD chip gets a good speedup, with the jump up in threads really helping. Our results are very clearly delineated on core count then thread count.

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

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

For POV-Ray, the better AVX2 performance of the Core i3 shows as it almost matches the 2500X.

CPU Performance: System Tests CPU Performance: Office Tests
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  • Daeros - Monday, February 11, 2019 - link

    Your Intel bias is showing again, Ian. You've pitted a very nice selection of midrange processors from AMD against some very nice, almost double the price chips from Intel. If you're going to include the i5-8400 and i5-8600k, why not the R7 2600x or 2700? They're price-point competitors. But then, Intel wouldn't be at the top of the charts in almost any of the tests, would they? Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, February 11, 2019 - link

    All the data is in Bench for those parts. I mention repeatedly (as I did in our buyer's guide) that Intel doesn't really have anything competitive from 8th/9th Gen in the $120-$200 range. I put some parts in that are at least offer thread parity, as explained on page one of this review, if you read that far. But then again, Intel's 8th gen chips are priced well above the usual price right now.

    Subsequently, your data bias is showing. It's not about being at the absolute top of the graph. It never has. It's about competing with what's around you and some context either side from major competitors. If you want to compare higher priced parts against higher priced parts, then there's either a benchmark database to look at, or the corresponding reviews for those chips.

    All quite apart from which, most of my analysis is comparing the AMD parts to other AMD parts because they're not sold at retail and where they would fit in if they did. That's one of the major points of this review.
    Reply
  • c4v3man - Monday, February 11, 2019 - link

    Is Anandtech trying to acquire an Intel i3-8100 processor for testing? This would seem to be a fairly natural comparison point to these processors at it's $117 customer pricing level. Granted you can approximate the results off the i3-8350K, and assume it's roughly 10% slower, but having actual numbers would be preferred over manual re-calculations. Reply
  • HStewart - Monday, February 11, 2019 - link

    What about i5-8400T - according to ARC it price at $179 which will be in price range you stated

    https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/p...

    Big difference is that it does not have Hyperthreading, been 6 cores without hyperthreading it could be serious competitor to Ryzen 5 2500X - it does have lesser max frequency than normal 8400
    Reply
  • Korguz - Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - link

    HStewart...
    that price.. could be an intel suggested price, or the tray price....
    Reply
  • HStewart - Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - link

    It is the price on Amazon, and selling out

    https://www.amazon.com/Intel-CM8068403358913-Core-...
    Reply
  • MattMe - Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - link

    @Ian - Whilst not quite as militant as some other forum users, I do agree that the testing and comparisons you have used here are not the most appropriate or useful. A similarly priced Intel CPU like the i3 would demonstrate competitive value in the marketplace. If we are including the more expensive Intel CPUs (because of their similar thread count, which I understand) then the graphs should have the equivalently priced AMD alternatives, again to help consumers understand the value proposition from both sides.

    Regarding the games/GPU options, I feel the testing you have carried out is useful, and although it's unlikely these CPUs would be paired with such a high-end GPU, we are at least ruling out the GPU being the limiting factor until reaching 4k, where your graphs demonstrate that the CPU is no longer the bottleneck. Without doubling the number of tests and data presented in the articles, I feel you've presented the most useful benchmarks and information. You'll never please everyone, I suppose.

    Overall I think this is another fantastic write-up and appreciate the effort you put into the research and testing, but I can understand some people's frustrations when it comes to the comparisons you have chosen to demonstrate.
    Reply
  • mikato - Thursday, April 4, 2019 - link

    Well said
    "If we are including the more expensive Intel CPUs (because of their similar thread count, which I understand) then the graphs should have the equivalently priced AMD alternatives, again to help consumers understand the value proposition from both sides."
    Reply
  • Phynaz - Monday, February 11, 2019 - link

    Typical AMD - Hot and Slow Reply
  • formulaLS - Monday, February 11, 2019 - link

    Typical Phynaz, quit the forums and said he won't be coming back and ended up flat out lying about it. Grow up dude. Reply

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