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Cinema 4D: Intel X-series Refresh CPU Performance

Written on November 13, 2018 by William George
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Introduction

Cinema 4D, from Maxon, is widely used for creating advanced 3D graphics. The central processor (CPU) in a computer is of paramount importance in this application - both when drawing and animating various elements as well as when rendering out either still scenes or motion clips. Different aspects of the CPU impact these activities in different ways, though, as we have seen when exploring Cinema 4D performance. Thankfully, Maxon also makes Cinebench: a benchmark tool which measures both the single-threaded speed of a processor - which impacts graphics creation, animation, and simulation - as well as multi-threaded performance for rendering.

Intel just refreshed their Core X Series processors, giving them a small bump in clock speed and increasing the PCI-E lane count on the lowest end model. Since Cinema 4D benefits from both clock speed and core count, in different ways, we are going to compare these new CPUs against their predecessors as well as other processor models from both Intel and AMD.

9th Gen Intel Core X i9 and i7 Processors

Benchmark Results

Cinebench provides three scores when running in advanced mode: CPU (it isn't specified, but this is the multi-core result), CPU (Single Core), and OpenGL. The last of those is somewhat impacted by the CPU, but is more about the video card - so we aren't including it here. We'll start off instead with the overall, multi-threaded CPU scores. This shows how each CPU compares when rendering a still frame with the built-in C4D renderer. AMD's processors are shown in red, with Intel's in blue - and the new models darker, to stand out:

Cinebench CPU Multi Core Performance Comparison: Intel Core X Series Refresh Versus Intel 9th Gen Core, Older Core X, and AMD Ryzen / Threadripper Processors

In addition, we broke out these results into three smaller graphs to make it easier to look at the isolated performance of similar CPUs:

Cinebench CPU Multi Core Performance Comparison of 8-Core Processors

Comparison of 8-core processors

Cinebench CPU Multi Core Performance Comparison of $900 - 1000 Processors

Comparison of processors in the
$900 - 1000 price range

Cinebench CPU Multi Core Performance Comparison of $1800 - 2000 Processors

Comparison of processors in the
$1800 - 2000 price range

We also charted single-core CPU performance, which shows roughly how well these processors handle tasks like modeling and physics simulation within Cinema 4D. This covers general usage and also impacts the time taken between rendering each frame in an animation:

Cinebench CPU Single Core Performance Comparison: Intel Core X Series Refresh Versus Intel 9th Gen Core, Older Core X, and AMD Ryzen / Threadripper Processors

Analysis

In both the high-end and mid-range price brackets, these new Intel processors surpass their predecessors but fall far short of AMD's Threadripper models. Intel will have to do something more substantial in future generations if they want to close that gap or pull ahead.

Interestingly, when looking at the more affordable 8-core processors, neither these new Intel chips nor AMD's Ryzen took the top spot for rendering. Instead, Intel's more mainstream Core i9 9900K took the crown - thanks to much higher clock speeds, while retaining Hyperthreading (which the i7 9700K lacks, hence its lower performance). None of this is very impressive, though, since all of these chips take about two and a half to three times longer to render in V-Ray than AMD's top-end 2990WX. The 9900K also shines in single-core performance, outpacing all the other processors we tested. This is an indication of general performance within Cinema 4D for modeling, animation, and physics simulations - which will all be faster on that chip than any of the higher core count models.

Conclusion

This processor refresh brings small performance improvements over the previous models, but nothing groundbreaking. Fixes for some of the exploits discovered in recent years are also nice, but those were mostly issues that threatened servers rather than workstations.

For CPU rendering, AMD's Threadripper processors are still the best choice for pure speed and in terms of price:performance ratio. Alternatively, for the best modeling, animation, and physics performance in Cinema 4D the Core i9 9900K is the single-core king.

Tags: CPU, Rendering, Cinema, 4D, Maxon, Cinebench, Performance, Processor, AMD, Ryzen, Threadripper, Intel, Core, i7, 9700K, 9800X, i9, 9900K, 9980XE, 9900X, Skylake X, Refresh, Coffee Lake