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TL;DR: AMD Ryzen 7000 Series performance in V-Ray
The new AMD Ryzen 7000 Series processors do extremely well in V-Ray, showing a solid 32-44% performance gain versus the previous generation Ryzen 5000 Series. At the top end, this means the Ryzen 9 7950X outperforms the Intel 12900KS by 52%, while the 7900X bests the Intel 12900K by 24%. This makes Ryzen an easy choice.
Lower down the stack, the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X and Ryzen 5 7600X fall just short of the Intel Core i7 12700K and i5 12600K. The performance difference is only 3-4%, making either chose acceptable.
Earlier this month, AMD announced their new Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors along with the LGA socket AM5 platform. These processors are marketed as having substantially better performance for content creation applications in part due to their "Zen 4" architecture, as well as support for new technologies like DDR5 memory.
CPU rendering in V-Ray is dominated by large CPUs such as AMD’s Threadripper. However, users are more and more turning to GPU, or hybrid GPU/CPU rendering due to the speed modern GPUs can provide. Many of these users may want to choose a CPU with few cores but a higher clock speed for modeling and animation tasks, but still want to know how much assistance their CPU can give the GPU in rendering.
In this article, we will be using V-Ray 5.02 from Chaos Group to examine the performance of the new AMD Ryzen 7000 CPUs and compare them to Intel’s 12th generation CPUs, as well as the previous generation Ryzen 5000 series. While we are including most of the primary models from each of these product lines, note that we are skipping the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D which features AMD's 3D V-Cache Technology. We have looked at this model in past articles, and found that for content creation, it is either on par or slower than the normal Ryzen 7 5800X model.
If you want to read more about the new AMD Ryzen 7000 Series and what sets them apart from the previous generation, we recommend checking out our main AMD Ryzen 7000 Series Processors Content Creation Review article. That post includes more detailed information on the CPU specifications, testing results for a range of other applications including Lightroom Classic, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Unreal Engine; as well as all the test setup details for both the hardware and software used in our testing.
AMD Ryzen 7000 vs Intel Core 12th Gen for V-Ray
To start off our analysis, we wanted to look at how the new Ryzen 7000 series compares to the Intel Core 12th Gen processors. The MSRP pricing for Intel and AMD don't exactly match, but in most cases, the comparisons we are making in the chart above are looking at CPUs that have an MSRP within $40 of each other. We have a full breakdown of the MSRP of each of these CPUs in our main AMD Ryzen 7000 Series Processors Content Creation Review article if you want to get into the specifics.
The top tier Ryzen 7950X takes a commanding 49% lead over the Intel 12900KS. Keep in mind that while the Intel 12900KS and AMD 7950X have the same number of CPU cores, they are not built the same. Intel is using a hybrid architecture where 8 performance cores have hyperthreading, while the remaining 8 efficiency cores do not. This means that while it has 16 cores, it only has 24 threads, while the Ryzen 7950X has 32. This difference counts for much of the 52% lead the 7950X possesses.
The Ryzen 7900X has 12 cores and 24 threads, the same number of threads as the Intel 12900K, yet is 24% faster. This highlights the differences in the CPU architecture, as well as general IPC and clock speed improvements in the new Ryzen CPUs.
Moving on to the lower-end parts, the story changes and Intel takes in the lead. This says a lot about the performance of Intel’s parts and the amazing value they provide. The new Ryzen 7700X is 4% slower than the Intel 12700K, while the 7600K is 3% slower than the 12600K. Intel really gives a great value proposition on the lower end.
AMD Ryzen 7000 vs AMD Ryzen 5000 for V-Ray
In the previous section, we saw that the new AMD Ryzen 7000 Series processors are either on par or slightly faster than the Intel Core 12th Gen models, but what it doesn't show is just how much of an improvement that is for AMD over the previous generation.
As we can see from the chart, there is a 30-40% improvement across the board. The core counts have not changed, so the increases we are seeing are due to the increase in IPC, clock speeds, DDR5, and other core changes.
This is a fantastic gain over the previous generation. AMD already had a lead with higher core count CPUs, and this just extended that.
How well do the AMD Ryzen 7000 Series CPUs perform in V-Ray?
AMD’s new Ryzen 7000 series CPUs show great improvements in CPU rendering performance. Multi-core performance grew by anywhere from 30 to 40%. AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series already had a lead in rendering performance over Intel, and this furthered that. On the top end, the Ryzen 7950X is 52% faster than Intel’s 12900KS, while the Ryzen 7900X is 24% faster than the Intel 12900K.
On the lower end, Intel manages to retain a lead, even though the gap is much smaller. Only 4% for the 12700K and 3% for the 12600K. Neither of these are CPUs you would specifically buy for CPU rendering, but it's good to know where they stand if you want a lower-cost 3d modeling/animation system to use with a GPU renderer.
However, it is worth pointing out that Intel is expected to launch their new Core 13th Gen processors sometime later this year, with some sites like Tom's Hardware speculating that they could launch as early as October. We won't know how those upcoming Intel processors will perform until they are released, but given the short timeframe we are likely dealing with, it may be worth holding off on purchasing a Ryzen 7000 (or an Intel Core 12th Gen) processor for a little bit if you can. While AMD has a firm lead when it comes to V-Ray performance on their higher end CPUs, it may be worth waiting to see if Intel is able to pull off comeback with their 13th gen processors.
Update 9/27/2022: Intel has officially announced that the 13th Gen CPUs will be available in October.
Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for V-Ray and that performance will vary widely in different applications. If your workflow includes other software packages, we highly recommend checking out our AMD Ryzen 7000 Series Processors Content Creation Review article which includes results and links to in-depth testing for a range of other applications including Premiere Pro, After Effects, Lightroom Classic, DaVinci Resolve, and Unreal Engine.