Pix4D 4.4 CPU Performance: AMD Threadripper 3990X 64 CoreWritten on February 7, 2020 by William George
AMD has launched a new top-end CPU in its Threadripper product line, equipped with a whopping 64 cores: the 3990X. We have put this new chip to the test in a wide range of applications, from photography to rendering, but this article is looking specifically at Pix4D. Keep reading to find out how it stacks up to the other Threadripper models as well as Intel and AMD's various other desktop processors.
For this article, we are primarily interested in how this new AMD Threadripper 3990X compares to other current-generation processors. The focus is on photogrammetry processing in Pix4Dmapper, using a benchmark tool we developed here at Puget Systems. More info about this utility is available in the Benchmark Details.
If you would prefer to skip over our test setup and benchmark sections, feel free to jump straight to the Conclusion.
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Here are the specifications of the different platforms we used for our testing:
|AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen Test Platform|
|CPU||AMD TR 3990X ($3,990)
AMD TR 3970X ($1,999)
AMD TR 3960X ($1,399)
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S TR4-SP3|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS Pro WiFi|
|RAM||4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)|
|AMD Ryzen Test Platform|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 3950X ($749)
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X ($499)
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X ($399)
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA|
|RAM||4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)|
A quick note about memory specifications: the latest CPUs from AMD and Intel support varying speeds of RAM depending on how many modules are installed. In past articles, we've sometimes tested at multiple speeds, but to help keep things more uniform going forward we are standardizing on the speed that each processor/platform supports when all memory slots are used (even if we aren't filling them completely for our testing). Along with using the same total RAM capacity, that should help to keep results fair and consistent.
Additionally, it is worth pointing out that the CPU cooler we used for testing the new TR 3990X is somewhat borderline for how much heat this processor can potentially put out. In the systems we build with this chip going forward, we will be utilizing a larger heatsink and fan to ensure maximum performance even under extended loads - but in the open-air testbeds we use here in our lab, we found that the cooler we used did not lead to throttling.
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. All of these image sets are available in our public Pix4D benchmarks, split up to allow quick or extended testing, which you can download and run if you want to compare your system's performance to what we measured for this article.
- 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
A lot is going on in the chart below, so before getting into it here is a reference key for the color scheme:
- Light blue = Intel consumer CPUs (9th Gen Core series)
- Dark blue = Intel HEDT CPUs (X series)
- Light red = AMD consumer CPUs (Ryzen 3rd Gen)
- Dark red = AMD HEDT CPUs (Threadripper)
- Dark red with glow - NEW AMD Threadripper 3990X
For those who want to dig deeper into how each CPU performed in the various processing steps within Pix4D, here is a full results table:
AMD's high core count processors, from the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X up to the 64-core Threadripper 3990X, reliably took the top four performance spots in every data set within our Pix4D benchmark. That alone is quite impressive, considering Intel's performance dominance for most of the last decade. The 32-core 3970X appears to be the sweet spot, as it led the pack (or tied, in one case) across the board... but the less expensive 3960X was not far behind (never more than about 5% slower). Unfortunately, the additional cores in the new 3990X didn't help enough to offset its slower clock speeds, so while it performed just fine it couldn't justify its price tag in Pix4D.
Is AMD's Threadripper 3990X Good for Pix4D?
AMD's new 64-core Threadripper 3990X performs similarly to the lower core count 3960X and 3970X in Pix4D - so it is good in terms of raw speed, but a poor choice from a price/performance standpoint. Going with one of the lower core count models in this family will give you similar results for thousands of dollars less. The Ryzen 9 3950X is also a good choice for those on a more limited budget.
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Puget Systems offers a range of poweful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.