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Cinema 4D R20 CPU Rendering Performance: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Written on November 14, 2019 by William George
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Introduction

AMD's Ryzen 3rd generation processors launched a few months ago, with both more cores and higher per-core performance than previous models in that series. Now AMD has released the top-end chip in this family, the Ryzen 9 3950X, with even more cores! In this article we will take a look at how it stacks up to a few other AMD and Intel processors in this application, focusing exclusively on rendering performance measured via Cinebench R20.

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

Cinebench R20 Screenshot

Cinebench R20 in the process of testing on a Core i9 9980XE (for a previous article)

Test Hardware

Since this article is focusing on the new Ryzen 9 3950X, which is the top-end of AMD's mainstream processor family, we wanted to let it face off against a few of AMD and Intel's similarly positioned CPUs along with some other 16-core chips from higher-tier product lines.

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

A complicating factor is memory speed support, though: most processors on the market today officially support up to 2666MHz memory, while these 3rd gen Ryzen chips are rated for different maximum memory speeds depending on how many RAM modules are installed. The spread goes from 2666MHz up to 3200MHz (if only using two modules) - but that limit would mean less total memory capacity, which could impact some of our benchmarks. Because of that, I decided to test the Ryzen processors at both ends: with a full set of four 16GB modules at both 2666 and 3200MHz, even though that is technically outside the supported range. We can't sell systems configured that way, because we need to stick to AMD's supported specs, but by having the performance data from both ends of the spectrum we can give our customers a good idea of the rough range they'll end up in. All other CPUs were also tested with 64GB.

AMD Ryzen Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
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
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
AMD Threadripper Test Platform
CPU AMD TR 2950X
CPU Cooler Corsair Hydro Series H80i v2
Motherboard Gigabyte X399 AORUS Xtreme
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
Intel Core X Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 9960X
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12DX i4
Motherboard Gigabyte X299 Designare EX
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 can 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 processors are shown in orange with 2666MHz memory and red with 3200MHz - which is out of AMD's official supported specs at this capacity and speed combination - while all Intel processors are shown in blue.

Cinebench R20 CPU Comparison Chart with AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Analysis

AMD's new Ryzen 9 3950X processors top this chart for rendering performance, surpassing both Intel's competing mainstream Core processors (which have far fewer cores, and end up at the bottom of the chart) as well as both AMD and Intel's other 16-core chips!

RAM speed seems to matter very little here, with less than 1% difference between 2666 and 3200MHz, and both results are over 14% faster than Intel's Core i9 9960X despite it costing several hundred dollars more (usually $1200-1700 versus the $750 MSRP on 3950X).

Compared to the next step down in the Ryzen product line, the 3900X, this new 3950X is about 30% faster - right in line with it having 33% more cores. If you look at it against the older AMD Threadripper 2950X, which had the same number of cores, there is a similar increase in Cinebench rendering speed - but this time due to increased performance per core and overall architectural improvements.

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 3950X is clearly the fastest CPU for rendering in its price range, and with a relatively small price difference between it and the lower core count 3900X, I would strongly recommend this model. A $200-400 difference, in the context of a full system build that is probably $2000-4000, is only around 5-20% more money... which is far outweighed by the ~30% faster rendering speed.

Although it wasn't something we tested in this roundup, other benchmarks indicate that the 3950X's per-core performance is quite good as well, which should mean that it will do well in less-threaded parts of the Cinema 4D workflow too (modeling, animation, physics, etc).

With that said, though, there are even faster CPUs available for pure rendering workloads. If you have the money to spend, a top-end AMD Threadripper (like the 2990WX) will render frames more quickly. That class of 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, or you are on a more limited budget, the Ryzen 9 3950X will provide a fantastic combination of both.

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Tags: Cinema4D, Cinebench, CPU, Rendering, Performance, AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, Core X, Intel, Intel 9th Gen, Intel vs AMD, AMD, Ryzen, Ryzen 9 3950X, Threadripper