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Pix4D 4.4 CPU Performance: Intel Core X-10000 vs AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen

Written on November 25, 2019 by William George
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Introduction

For years, choosing between Intel and AMD processors has been relatively straight forward. Intel held a strong lead in per-core performance, and combined with a moderate number of cores that gave their processors an edge in lightly to moderately threaded applications. AMD excelled in pure core count, making them great for heavily threaded workloads, but with lower per-core performance and architectural design limitations that led to poor results in some situations. This changed quite a bit on the consumer side when AMD launched their 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs, but still held true when it came to the HEDT (High End Desktop) processors from both brands.

Now, both Intel and AMD are launching new HEDT processors that have the potential to shake things up dramatically!

On Intel's side, the new Core X-10000 series processors are only slightly faster than the previous generation - but Intel has cut their prices nearly in half. For example, while the MSRP of the Core i9 9980XE was $1,979 the new Core i9 10980XE is just $979.

On AMD's side, the new Threadripper 3rd Gen CPUs are actually a little more expensive than earlier models (by $100-200) but their raw performance is expected to be quite a bit better. The gains are not in core count, though, but rather in clock speed, performance per core, and architectural improvements which eliminate some bottlenecks that the first and second generation Threadripper CPUs had.

Intel Core X-1000 series vs AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen in Pix4D

For this article we are taking a look at how these new processors compare against each other, the previous generation they are replacing, and their mainstream desktop counterparts. 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.

Looking for a Pix4D Workstation?

Puget Systems offers a range of workstations that are tailor-made for your unique workflow. Our goal is to provide the most effective and reliable system possible so you can concentrate on your work and not worry about your computer.

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Test Hardware

Here are the specifications of the different platforms we used for our testing:

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)
Intel 9th Gen Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 9900K ($499)
Intel Core i7 9700K ($385)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z390 Designare
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Threadripper 2nd Gen Test Platform
CPU AMD TR 2990WX - DLM on ($1,799)
AMD TR 2970WX - DLM on ($1,299)
AMD TR 2950X ($899)
CPU Cooler Corsair Hydro Series H80i v2
Motherboard Gigabyte X399 AORUS Xtreme
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
Intel X-9000 Series Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 9980XE ($1,979)
Intel Core i9 9960X ($1,684)​​​​​​​
Intel Core i9 9940X ($1,387)​​​​​​​
Intel Core i9 9920X ($1,189)​​​​​​​
Intel Core i9 9900X ($989)​​​​​​​
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12DX i4
Motherboard Gigabyte X299 Designare EX
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen Test Platform
CPU AMD TR 3970X ($1,999)
AMD TR 3960X ($1,399)
CPU Cooler Corsair Hydro Series H80i v2
Motherboard Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS Xtreme
RAM 4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
Intel X-10000 Series Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 10980XE ($979)
Intel Core i9 10940X ($784)
Intel Core i9 10920X ($689)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Intel Core i9 10900X ($590)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12DX i4
Motherboard Gigabyte X299 Designare EX
RAM 4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
Shared Hardware/Software
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
Puget Systems Pix4D Benchmark

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.

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

Benchmark Results

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-9000 series)
  • Dark blue with glow - NEW Intel HEDT CPUs (X-10000 series)
  • Light red = AMD consumer CPUs (Ryzen 3rd Gen)
  • Dark red = AMD HEDT CPUs (Threadripper 2nd Gen)
  • Dark red with glow - NEW AMD HEDT CPUs (Threadripper 3rd Gen)

Analysis

Intel's new Core X processors are pretty much on par with their predecesors in Pix4D, possibly a little faster, but for half the price. That is a great increase in value, if not in raw performance, but it isn't enough to beat AMD. The new Threadripper 3rd Gen CPUs are far faster than the previous generation, processing projects in 25-30% less time. There isn't much difference between the 3960X and 3970X in Pix4D, though, with the 32-core model coming in only 3-5% faster for a $700 increase in cost.

Is Intel X-10000 Series or AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen CPUs better for Pix4D?

AMD's new 3rd Gen Threadripper processors are the clear performance choice for Pix4D. Intel's Core X series costs a lot less now, thanks to aggressive pricing cuts, but at that lower price point AMD's more mainstream Ryzen 9 3950X takes the lead. Against Intel's Core i9 9900K the Ryzen 9 3900X wins. No matter your budget, right now AMD has the best CPU for Pix4D.

Looking for a Photogrammetry Workstation?

Puget Systems offers a range of workstations that are tailor-made for your unique workflow. Our goal is to provide the most effective and reliable system possible so you can concentrate on your work and not worry about your computer.

Configure a System!

Tags: Intel 9th Gen, Intel X-series, Intel vs AMD, AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, AMD Threadripper 2nd Gen, Intel X-10000, AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen, Threadripper, CPU, Pix4D, photogrammetry
Andrew Milanes

Thanks William. Will you update this when the 64-core Threadripper is released?

Posted on 2019-12-02 18:06:21

I probably won't go back and update this article (we don't often edit existing articles, since that isn't something easy for readers to notice) - but if / when we get our hands on something like that I would most certainly test it in Pix4D and publish performance data in some form :)

I'm actually running a couple of dual Xeon systems through their paces in Pix4D right now as well, in preparation for writing a "What CPU is best for Photogrammetry" article in the next week or two. I don't expect them to dethrone Threadripper, but I wanted to do my due diligence. I'd love to test a dual (or even single) Epyc as well, but AMD hasn't provided us samples of those and we don't have any motherboards that would work with them either :/

Posted on 2019-12-02 18:23:45
Andrew Milanes

Thanks, I can't wait to see those results! I just ordered a dual Epyc 7302 server for my office. I may load Pix4D to see how it performs. I process some very large projects (~2,000 42mp images), so I'm interested in every bit of performance I can get. I plan on purchasing a dedicated photogrammetry workstation within the next few months.

Posted on 2019-12-03 14:20:04

I suspect that particular Epyc CPU won't be amazing for Pix4D, given the low clock speeds (3.3GHz max turbo speed)... but I'd still be very curious to hear how it does. Feel free to download our benchmark and try it out, and then post your results here (or in the discussion threads on the benchmark page):

https://www.pugetsystems.co...

For a dedicated workstation, so far the new Threadrippers look to be the best option. There isn't a huge difference between the 24- and 32-core models either, so I'm not sure if waiting for the 64-core version (ETA unknown) will be worthwhile. I think a lot of it will come down to whether AMD is able to maintain high clock speeds with that many cores or if physics dictates a reduction in clock speed to keep power and heat in check. I do very much look forward to finding out, though :)

Posted on 2019-12-03 17:06:31