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Ryzen XT and Intel i9 10850K for 3ds Max: Are They Worth It?

Written on July 27, 2020 by Kelly Shipman


AMD’s Ryzen 3600XT/3800XT/3900XT are a bit faster on paper, but in real-world performance in 3ds Max they are essentially identical to the existing Ryzen “X” models. Often the improvement is less than 1-2%, which would be within the margin of error for these tests.

Intel’s new Core i9 10850k is 1-4% slower than the existing i9 10900k depending on the task. Again, close enough to be within the margin of error.

Ultimately, these new CPUs could be considered interchangeable with their existing counterparts. Neither worth seeking out nor worth avoiding.


The release of new hardware is always an exciting time around Puget Systems. However, the latest releases from AMD and Intel have us scratching our heads rather than jumping for joy.

AMD recently released the “XT” versions of their Ryzen 3600X, 3800X, and 3900X. The Ryzen XT line has the same number of cores as the Ryzen “X” line, but with slightly faster clock speed, about 100-200MHz on paper.

Intel took the opposite tactic with the release of the i9 10850K. It shares the same core count as the i9 10900K but has a 100MHz lower clock speed. This appears to be an attempt to help with supply as the 10900K is difficult to find in stock.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6 3.8 4.4
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT 6 3.8 4.5
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X 8 3.9 4.5
AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT 8 3.9 4.7
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12 3.8 4.6
AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT 12 3.8 4.7
Intel Core i9 10900K 10 3.7 5.3
Intel Core i9 10850K 10 3.6 5.2

There are some differences in price amongst all of these CPUs, about $40 between the Intel CPUs. Pricing on the AMD side is a bit more complicated. Technically the X and XT have the same MSRP, but you can often find sale prices on the older CPUs, and the XT line does not come with a stock cooler, while the X series does.

That said, you are probably here to see how they actually perform. For this article, I’m also taking the opportunity to include a few lower-end Intel CPUs that I did not include in my previous article (see here for that article)

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Test Setup

Listed below are the specifications of the systems we will be using for our testing:

AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen Test Platform

AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT ($499)
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X ($499)
AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT ($399)
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X ($399)
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT ($249)
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 ($199)

CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA
RAM 4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
Intel 10th Gen Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 10900K ($488)
Intel Core i9 10850K ($459)
Intel Core i7 10700K ($374)
Intel Core i5 10600K ($262)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z490 Vision D
RAM 4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
(Set to 2666MHz for 10600K testing)
Shared PC Hardware/Software
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
Hard Drive Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 2004)
Autodesk 3ds Max 2021

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of July 20th, 2020

Please note we didn’t have a Ryzen 5 3600X for testing as it's not a part we sell. We did have a 3600, so you will notice a bigger difference between that and the XT version than you will see with the 3800X/XT and 3900X/XT. I wanted to include them for any budget-minded shoppers looking for data.

Benchmark Results

As in my previous CPU article, I’ll present a score for 3 different categories: General Tasks, Simulations, and Rendering. Within each of those categories, I’ve included slides showing actual times for each test for anyone that wants to dig into the details.

General Tasks

General tasks include modeling functions such as Turbosmooth, Extrude, and MeshSmooth, as well as saving and loading large scenes. As you can see from the results, these tasks prefer clock speed over anything else. That has always been Intel’s strong suit. The new 10850K goes toe-to-toe with the 10900K. This really isn’t too surprising as there is very little difference in their speeds. Likewise, the Ryzen XT series came in at 1-2 points higher than the X series. All of the Ryzen scores were so close that they are all within the margin of error of each other.

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Simulation in 3ds Max is not as advanced as what you can find in other comparable programs such as Maya, or as what is available through 3rd party plug-ins. Depending on what type of simulation is being run, it may prefer clock speed, or lots of cores, or a mix. Again the 10850K is really close to the 10900K, as are the Ryzen XT CPUs and their X counterparts.

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Arnold is default renderer in 3ds Max now, and it loves CPUs with lots of cores. Clock speed doesn’t play a big role here. We also tested ART and Scanline renderers. Both also prefer lots of cores, but the gaps aren’t as extreme as we see in Arnold. As we saw in other tests, the new CPUs are nearly identical to their existing counterparts. If you are looking for a rendering CPU, you’d still be better served by stepping up to the 3950X or a Threadripper.

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AMD Ryzen 3800XT/3900XT vs 3800X/3900X for 3ds Max

In all practicality, you probably wouldn’t be able to notice a difference between the new “XT” models and the existing “X” models. If you are a build-it-yourself shopper, you can find the “X” models on sale fairly easily and it comes with a pretty capable air cooler. For these, go with whatever the best deal is you can find.

Intel Core i9 10850K vs Core i9 10900K for 3ds Max

While there is an MSRP difference, around $40 US, the big selling point here is availability. A quick search on the usual online retailers shows the 10900K is out of stock. That is subject to change at a moment's notice of course, and we have yet to see how supply pans out on the 10850K, but if you are in the market for this level of Intel, go with whatever is in stock.

Closing Thoughts

This is a bit of an odd release on both AMD and Intel’s part. AMD releasing new SKUs mid product cycle with a small bump to clock speed isn’t completely unheard of, but in this case, the real-world performance difference is negligible. While the new CPUs have the same MSRP as the existing line, retailers are offering some sales that could make the older chips more appealing. Pricing aside, the performance is so close that there isn’t a reason to choose one over the other.

Intel seems to be doing a different tactic by releasing a CPU with a lower clock speed. One can assume these are lower binned 10900K, as that is what they perform like. And that is not necessarily a bad thing and quite common in the CPU world. If Intel isn’t able to supply enough 10900k, but can offer something with 99% of the performance for a few bucks less, that is better than not having anything to fill the space.

In summary, neither the Ryzen XT line or the 10850k will improve or decrease your productivity in 3ds Max. In either case, they can be viewed as interchangeable depending on availability and price.

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Labs technician talking with customer

Labs Consultation Service

Our Labs team is available to provide in-depth hardware recommendations based on your workflow.

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Tags: AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, Intel X-10000, Apple Mac Pro, Intel 10th Gen, i9 10900K, i7 10700K, i5 10600K, Premiere Pro, i9 10850K, Ryzen 5 3600, Ryzen 5 3600XT, Ryzen 7 3800X, Ryzen 7 3800XT, Ryzen 9 3900X, Ryzen 9 3900XT