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

Intel's HEDT chips are quite good at Corona, but if we compare the 3900X to the 3950X, we still see some good scaling.

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

AMD is taking the lead in our blender test, with the 16-core chips easily going through Intel's latest 18-core hardware.

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.

In our test, we run the simple ‘Ball’ scene on both the C++ code path, 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++

Despite using Intel's Embree engine, again AMD's 16-cores easily win out against Intel's 18-core chips, at under half the cost.

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

POV-Ray ends up with AMD 16-core splitting the two Intel 18-core parts, which means we're likely to see the Intel Core i9-10980XE at the top here. It would have been interesting to see where an Intel 16-core Core-X on Cascade would end up for a direct comparison, but Intel has no new 16-core chip planned.

CPU Performance: System Tests CPU Performance: Encoding Tests


View All Comments

  • zmatt - Thursday, November 14, 2019 - link

    Maybe they should stop using such an old and buggy game as a bench mark then since its trivial to hit more than acceptable frames with modern hardware. Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, November 14, 2019 - link

    Um they are using 1080p, its not GPU bound be any stretch of the imagination on the games they tested. lol Reply
  • Spunjji - Thursday, November 14, 2019 - link

    Boost frequency isn't guaranteed, so it's not false advertising any more than Intel's TDP.

    If the games you're playing are a few years old and your GPU is sufficient to make the CPU the limit, you'll likely see no real-world benefit from anything above the Ryzen 3600X / Core i5 9600. Discussion of high-end CPUs rapidly becomes moot, even for that niche-within-a-niche.
  • shaolin81 - Thursday, November 14, 2019 - link

    Problem isn't the chip, but the fact they tested it with High Performance profile, which nearly never parks idle cores and therefore there's nearly no change to hit max Turbo on single core. If they try Balanced profile, the would reach 4.7 or 4.75 more easily.
    I'm wondering how Anandtech doesn't know this.
  • GlossGhost - Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - link

    Quite a lot of people don't know this. Maybe we, who know, are stupid instead? Reply
  • Targon - Thursday, November 14, 2019 - link

    One thing to consider is motherboard and the VRMs on the motherboard, power supply, and even RAM. There was an issue causing slightly lower CPU performance prior to AGESA, and is supposed to help a bit as well.

    You also don't take into account that the IPC of the new Ryzen chips is actually a bit better than what you see with the i9-9900k and ks. It may not be enough to offset the clock speed difference, but it does come into play.

    Now, the other thing that will come into play is the security problems that keep showing up. Security mitigations are put into place, and Intel chips get another slowdown. In another year or two, Ryzen third generation vs. the 9900ks might actually be completely even with zero advantage to Intel. You may not be worried about security, but if an OS update puts in the security patches, your performance WILL drop.

    We only have another 7 months until the next generation Ryzen chips come out with another 8 percent IPC improvements, will Intel still be on 14nm with a 10900k being the high end from Intel without any IPC improvements?
  • zmatt - Thursday, November 14, 2019 - link

    What's the highest refresh rate you can get on gaming monitors today? 144hz right? When both Intel and AMD's best are exceeding 144fps in these benchmarks is there a real world difference between the two? I don't think so. You can only be as fast as your refresh rate ultimately. Reply
  • brantron - Thursday, November 14, 2019 - link

    There are 240 Hz monitors with FreeSync and/or G-Sync, so you could (hopefully) run games somewhere between there and 144 Hz without stuttering.

    I've only seen comparisons to 60 Hz, though, and that's really going to depend on the game.
  • Winnetou - Thursday, November 14, 2019 - link

    The highest refresh rate is 300hz now, thuogh it's only one monitor now. There are multiple 240hz ones though.

    Even so, your point is actually worthless here. Having a really high framerate does help with responsiveness and input lag. That's why top CS players still play at 720p low, on 600 FPS. For casuals like us it may be worthless, but for them it isn't. And maybe even for us it won't be, just too small of a difference to be quatifiable.
  • RSAUser - Friday, November 15, 2019 - link

    The frame rate that high is to avoid lows. Reply

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