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Cinema 4D CPU Roundup: AMD Ryzen 3, AMD Threadripper 2, Intel 9th Gen, Intel X-series

Written on July 22, 2019 by William George
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Introduction

AMD's new Ryzen 3rd generation processors feature both an increase in core count and per-core performance, both of which directly improve rendering speeds in Cinema 4D. In this article we will take a look at how they stack up to other AMD and Intel processors in this application, focusing exclusively on rendering performance (not modeling, animation, or simulation at this time) in Cinebench R20.

We also took a look at rendering in V-Ray Next in another article, for those who use that engine instead of the native C4D renderer.

Cinebench R20 Screenshot

Cinebench R20 in the process of testing on a Core i9 9980XE

Test Hardware

For this roundup we have several models in the new Ryzen 3rd Gen family - along with a couple of older 2nd Gen models, AMD's Threadripper 2nd Gen lineup, and Intel's mainstream 9th Gen Core and high performance Core X processors. The main results are all using the same memory: 16GB DDR4 modules running at 2666MHz (4 of them on the Ryzen and Core, 8 on Threadripper and Core X). This was selected to ensure a fair comparison, but because Ryzen also officially supports higher speed memory in certain configurations we tested the new 3rd Gen chips at 3200MHz as well. Those results are included here too, but in a separate set of charts near the end.

AMD Ryzen Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
CPU Cooler AMD Wraith PRISM
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 Aorus Ultra
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
Hard Drive Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 1903)
Cinebench R20
Intel Core Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 9900K
Intel Core i7 9700K
Intel Core i5 9600K
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z390 Designare
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
Hard Drive Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 1903)
Cinebench R20

Benchmark Details

We used the latest version of Cinebench, from Maxon, for this comparison. The primary test it conducts looks at how quickly the CPU is able to render one full frame, and it benefits greatly from both core count and clock speed / per-core performance. Other operations in Cinema 4D are not nearly as well threaded, so do not look at the data here as a guide for the best 3D modeling or animation system.

Results

A note about the color coding used here: AMD Threadripper chips are shown in orange, Ryzen is red, and all Intel processors are blue.

Cinebench R20 CPU Comparison Chart with AMD Ryzen 3, AMD Threadripper 2, Intel 9th Gen, and Intel X-series

Analysis

AMD processors excel at rendering, with Threadripper chips taking the top two spots on our chart and the new Ryzen 9 3900X effectively matching the performance of the TR 2950X despite having fewer cores. It also beat out Intel's 12-core i9 9920X, a great testament to how much of a per-core speed boost these new Ryzen 3rd Gen chips have received. Although it wasn't something we tested in this roundup, that per-core performance should mean that the 3900X will do well in less-threaded parts of the Cinema 4D workflow too.

Ryzen 3rd Gen Memory Comparison

Most CPUs are rated by manufacturers to support specific speeds of memory, and AMD's new Ryzen 3rd Gen chips are no exception. In this case, the official memory support varies depending on how many modules you have installed and whether they are single- or dual-rank. Tom's Hardware conveniently published these details, which likely came from AMD's reviewer guide (which we do not have):

AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen Processor Memory Support Chart (courtesy of Tom's Hardware)

AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen Processor Memory Support Chart (courtesy of Tom's Hardware)

The normal memory we used in this test fits the bottom category on that chart: four sticks of dual-rank memory. As such, testing at 2666MHz was the correct speed according to AMD's official support documents. To get the other end of the spectrum, we tested with 3200MHz memory modules as well - which is at the top of the chart, though we still used four 16GB modules in order to keep the total amount of RAM the same. That means this configuration is actually outside of their official support specs, but should still show whether there is anything to gain by going with faster memory on this platform (and in this specific application). Red is 3200MHz, orange is 2666.

AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen Memory Speed Comparison in Cinebench R20

In Cinebench, there is effectively no difference in performance between the two memory speeds we tested at. For each CPU there was less than 1% variance, which is well within the margin of error - so it is probably best to stick with the official AMD supported RAM speed.

Conclusion

It is no surprise that rendering benefits from high core count - as well as clock speed / per-core performance - and AMD has excelled here. The Ryzen 9 3900X is clearly the fastest CPU for rendering in its price range, and with such a small difference between it and the lower core count 3800X and 3700X I don't see any reason to consider those. A $100-200 difference, in the context of a full system build that is probably $2000-5000, is nothing compared to the 40-50% increase in performance gain compared to those models.

With that said, though, there are even faster CPUs available for pure rendering workloads... so if you have the money to spend, a top-end AMD Threadripper will render frames more quickly. Those CPUs also support more PCI-Express lanes and additional slots for memory, allowing for a more robust build all around. However, if modeling and animation are also important to you, the Ryzen 9 3900X and Core i9 9900K provide the best lightly-threaded performance... and the 3900X has the best combination of both.

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Tags: Cinema4D, Cinebench, CPU, Rendering, Performance, AMD Threadripper 2nd Gen, AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, AMD Ryzen 2nd Gen, Core X, Intel, Intel 9th Gen, Intel vs AMD, Intel X-series, AMD
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