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Pix4D 4.4 CPU Performance: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Written on November 14, 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, allowing them to rival and sometimes beat Intel's mainstream Core processors in professional applications. Since AMD has finally released the top model in this series, the Ryzen 9 3950X, we decided to take a look at how it and some other competing CPUs handle Pix4D - which benefits from both core count and clock speed at various points throughout its workflow.

Pix4D Logo

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)
Pix4Dmapper 4.4.12
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)
Pix4Dmapper 4.4.12
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)
Pix4Dmapper 4.4.12
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)
Pix4Dmappter 4.4.12

Benchmark Details

For benchmarking photogrammetry applications we now have four image sets that we own the rights to, covering both smaller and larger size Model and Map projects. The smaller image sets are included in our public Pix4D benchmark, which you can download and run if you want to compare your system's performance to what we measured in our testing.

  • Rock Model - 82 photos at 20 megapixels each
  • School Map - 51 photos at 18 megapixels each
  • School Model - 278 photos at 18 megapixels each
  • Park Map - 810 photos at 18 megapixels each

Each image set was processed 3 times on each CPU, and the fastest overall result was used for the comparisons below.

Results

Here is a gallery of charts for each of the four image sets, showing the total time (in seconds) they took to process on each CPU.

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.

For those who want to dig further into the differences in how each CPU performed, here is a table showing the times for each step within Pix4D on each of the image sets:

Pix4D 4.4.12 Processor Performance Table

Analysis

AMD has pulled out a massive win here, taking a substantial lead over Intel's processors in Pix4D! The new Ryzen 9 3950X is at least 10% faster than any of the Intel processors we tested - both those with higher clock speeds (the Core i9 9900K) and with the same core count (the Core i9 9960X). Even the 3900X fared very well, usually coming in around the same range as one of the Intel processors but often for a much lower price.

Looking at memory speed on the Ryzen platform, there is about a 3% difference in overall performance when using 3200MHz memory versus 2666MHz. Unfortunately, sticking to AMD's official supported memory specs means that you could only get 32GB with the higher speed - since 3200MHz is only supported with just two memory modules - but this small performance delta means that you can get more RAM (which is often important for photogrammetry) without taking a big hit on processing time.

Conclusion

With very strong performance results across all of our Pix4D tests, it is easy to make a single processor recommendation: AMD's Ryzen 9 3950X is currently the fastest processor for Pix4D. More CPUs are coming soon, from both Intel and AMD, so that may change - but for now it is the clear winner in this application. We plan to offer it in our systems when AMD releases it for sale on November 25th.

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Tags: CPU, Performance, photogrammetry, Intel vs AMD, Intel 9th Gen, Intel, AMD, AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, Pix4D, Core X, Ryzen, Ryzen 9 3950X, Threadripper