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V-Ray: 11th Gen Intel Core vs AMD Ryzen 5000 Series

Written on March 30, 2021 by Kelly Shipman
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TL;DR: 11th Gen Intel Core vs AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Processors for V-Ray

For CPU-based rendering, the number of cores is the primary concern. Intel’s decision to cut two cores from the i9 11900K really hurt it with this generation. It barely manages to match the performance of the much less expensive AMD Ryzen 9 5800X. Only slightly more expensive than the 11900k is the 5900X which boasts 40% faster-rendering performance.

The lower tier 11700K and 11600k do show significant performance improvements over the last generation but are just playing catchup with the similar offering from AMD. Then there is the upgrade path. If you did want to buy a workstation now, with the intent of upgrading the CPU later to improve rendering performance, Intel’s top offering barely matches the middle of the pack from AMD. When it comes to CPU rendering, AMD is the only clear choice.

Introduction

Intel has just released their new 11th Gen Core desktop processors (codenamed “Rocket Lake”). These new processors promise higher per-core performance over their previous 10th gen equivalents. One notable change to the CPU lineup is the top end 11900k features two fewer cores than the 10900k, now 8-cores instead of 10-cores. This means the 11900k and 11700k now have the same number of cores, just different clock speeds.

Rendering in V-Ray can either be CPU or GPU-based. For this article, we’ll be focusing on the CPU rendering side. Like all CPU-based renderers, the more cores available, the better. While the number of cores is highly important, how fast each of those cores can make a difference. Typically users don’t look for CPUs of this caliber for their rendering performance, but are likely looking for a less expensive modeling workstation and want to see how quickly they may be able to get some preview renders before sending the final project to render overnight or off to a dedicated server.

If you want to read about what sets these CPUs apart in more detail, we recommend checking out our landing page for the 11th Gen Intel Core Processors.

11th Gen Intel Core Processors for V-Ray

For this article, we’ll be investigating the CPU performance of these new 11th Gen CPUs versus the previous generation as well as AMD’s Ryzen line. We’ve left out the AMD Treadripper CPUs as they are in a league of their own.

Also, while not covered in this testing, the new motherboard chipset, Z590, also offers some nice features, such as PCIe Gen4. This puts Intel on par with what AMD’s Ryzen line has been offering. We will have a specific Z490 vs Z590 article up later once we have some time with the new motherboards.

If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion.

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Test Setup

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

11th Gen Intel Core Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 11900K ($513)
Intel Core i7 11700K ($399)
Intel Core i5 11600K ($262)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z490 Vision D
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
10th Gen Intel Core Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 10900K ($488)
Intel Core i7 10700K ($374)
Intel Core i5 10600K ($262)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z490 Vision D
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5950X ($799)
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X ($549)
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X ($449)
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X ($299)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
Shared Hardware & Software
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB
Storage Samsung 970 Pro 1TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (2009)
V-Ray 5

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of March 15, 2021

As for the setup of our testing, there is a number of things we want to point out:

First, you will note is that we are using a Z490 motherboard for both the 10th and 11th Gen Intel CPUs. There is a newer Z590 chipset that is launching alongside the 11th Gen CPUs, but we, unfortunately, did not have access to a board early enough to make it into this article. We don't expect the chipset to make much of a performance difference, but we do plan on doing a set of Z490 vs Z590 tests in the near future to make sure our assumptions are correct.

Second, the power limit settings that the motherboard and CPU are using to determine what frequency to run the CPU at under load is extremely muddy with the 11th Gen CPUs. There are the Intel "stock" settings, but also what are essentially overclocked settings that allow the CPU to maintain higher turbo limits for longer periods of time in exchange for dramatically increased CPU power draw and temperatures. The idea is that these power limits allow systems that have sufficient cooling to run the CPU at faster speeds, but we still have a lot of work to do to determine exactly what power limits we feel are safe for our workstations. For now, we opted to stick with the default on the Gigabyte Z490 board we are using, which is to run with the higher power limits. This will give Intel a bit of a boost in terms of performance, however, which is worth keeping in mind when examining the results.

On the flip side, some of the 11th Gen CPUs also support a new technology called "Intel Thermal Velocity Boost" which allows the CPUs to run at a slightly higher clock speed than Turbo Boost 2.0 or Turbo Boost 3.0 (and yes, those are independent) based on the CPU temperature and power draw. This feature is still in beta, however, so we did not opt to use it in this round of testing. Just like Z590, we will be doing follow-up testing in the future to see if it will have any measurable impact on performance.

Benchmark Results

Analysis & Conclusion

We can clearly see the per-core performance improvements in these charts. In multi-core rendering, the i5 11600K has a remarkable 28% improvement while the i7 11700k shows a 21% improvement. That is even higher than Intel’s marketing claims. The i9 11900k was roughly 8.5% slower than the 10900k, however, keeping in mind it now has two fewer cores. Considering that difference, it is a pretty impressive result.

Compared to Ryzen, the 11600k manages to edge out the AMD Ryzen 5600X by 2.5%, while the 5800X just beats both of Intel’s 8 core chips. The margins here are very small, only slightly over 2% faster than the 11900k and 5% faster than the 11700k. That may seem like a tie for the 11900K, but keep in mind, this new CPU is priced much closer to the Ryzen 5900X, which holds a 42% lead in performance over the new CPU. Intel’s decision to remove two cores from this CPU has really hurt it.

Are the 11th Gen Intel Core Processors Good for V-Ray?

For CPU-based rendering, the number of cores is the primary concern. Intel’s decision to cut two cores from the i9 11900K really hurt it with this generation. It barely manages to match the performance of the much less expensive AMD Ryzen 9 5800X. Only slightly more expensive than the 11900k is the 5900X which boasts 40% faster-rendering performance.

The lower tier 11700K and 11600k do show significant performance improvements over the last generation but are just playing catchup with the similar offering from AMD. Then there is the upgrade path. If you did want to buy a workstation now, with the intent of upgrading the CPU later to improve rendering performance, Intel’s top offering barely matches the middle offering from AMD. When it comes to CPU rendering, AMD is the only clear choice.

Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for Cinema 4D and that performance will vary widely in different applications. If your workflow includes other software packages (we have similar articles for Unreal Engine, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, and more), you need to consider how the system will perform in those applications as well. Be sure to check our list of Hardware Articles to keep up to date on how all of these software packages - and more - perform with the latest CPUs.

Looking for a V-Ray Workstation?

Puget Systems offers a range of poweful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

Configure a System!

Labs Consultation Service

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

Find Out More!
Tags: i9 10900K, i7 10700K, i5 10600K, AMD Ryzen 5000-series, 5600X, 5800X, 5900X, 5950X, Intel 11th Gen, i9 11900K, i7 11700K, i5 11600K, Intel 10th Gen, V-Ray