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TL;DR: Intel Core 10th Gen vs AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen for V-Ray Rendering
For CPU-based rendering within V-Ray, AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen chips match or outpace the new 10th Gen Intel Core processors thanks to having as many or more cores and nearly the same per-core performance. If rendering speed is paramount to you, though, there are even faster options in the form of AMD's Threadripper series or migrating to GPU-accelerated rendering pipelines.
Intel has just launched its next generation of consumer desktop processor: the 10th Gen Intel Core family. Historically, this product line from Intel has offered fantastic clock speeds with moderate core counts, but recently Intel has been steadily increasing the number of cores included in these CPUs. There are quite a number of chips launching today, but to gauge what potential this series have we are going to look at the very top-end Core i9 10900K, Core i7 10700K, and Core i5 10600K models.
For this article, we are focusing on how the new Intel 10th Gen Core processors compare to other currently-available models and the preceding 9th-gen Core series. The focus is on CPU-based rendering performance in V-Ray, so we are using Chaos Group's free V-Ray and V-Ray Next benchmarks. More info about these tools and how we use them are available in the Benchmark Details.
If you would prefer to skip over our test setup and various benchmark results, feel free to jump straight to the Conclusion.
We also took a look at Cinema 4D in another article, for those who use the native C4D renderer or care about modeling too.
Listed below are the specifications of the systems we will be using for our testing:
|AMD Ryzen Test Platform|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 3950X ($749)
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X ($499)
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X ($399)
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X ($329)
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA|
|RAM||4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)|
|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-U14S TR4-SP3|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS PRO WIFI|
|RAM||4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)|
A Note about Power Limits
One thing that our product development team found in their testing, prior to this round of benchmarks in our lab, was that the pre-launch motherboards we received from Gigabyte (and some other manufacturers) were not defaulting to Intel's specified power limits in the BIOS settings. This is something we've seen in past launches as well, but now that Intel is being more aggressive about adding cores and pushing clock speeds higher we are seeing much higher power draw (and therefore temperatures) than we expect from a processor rated at 125W. In this generation, it has gotten to the point that temps can spike quickly – often getting as high as 100C in a matter of seconds under heavy loads. Because of this, we decided to manually set the PL1 and PL2 power limits in the BIOS. Following Intel's specifications, we used a value of 125W for the PL1 (long term) setting on all three Intel 10th Gen Core CPUs we tested, along with the following PL2 (short term) limits:
Core i9 10900K: 250W
Core i7 10700K: 229W
Core i5 10600K: 182W
Setting these power limits ensures that our Noctua NH-U12S is more than enough to keep these CPUs properly cooled and lines up with our philosophy about prioritizing stability and reliability over raw performance in our workstations. Please note, however, that not all reviewers share this perspective – and some may not even be aware of the issues at all! If you see variances between our benchmark results and those on other websites, different BIOS settings and default behaviors may well be the reason.
The V-Ray Next Benchmark measures system performance using both the CPU and GPU rendering pipelines. We aren't concerned with GPU performance in this article, so results depending exclusively on video cards have been omitted. However, in V-Ray Next the CPU can contribute to performance even in the GPU-based renderer – so to judge how these processors compare in that situation, we have included the CPU's contribution to that score (after removing the GPU's portion). We also still use the previous version of V-Ray Benchmark as an additional comparison point, but again exclude the GPU side of things.
Each of these tests was run twice, to help detect abnormal results, and the faster of the two scores is used in the charts below.
There are a lot of processors in this round-up, so we are color-coding the results to make them easier to sift through:
- Light blue with glow = New 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs
- Light blue = Previous-generation Intel consumer CPUs (9th Gen Core)
- Dark blue = Intel HEDT CPUs (Core X 10th Gen)
- Light red = AMD consumer CPUs (Ryzen 3rd Gen)
- Dark red = AMD HEDT CPUs (Threadripper 3rd Gen)
On the V-Ray Next GPU Mode chart, a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is also included (in green) as a reference point to show how these CPUs compare to a video card in that rendering pipeline.
Analysis & Conclusion
Intel has measurably improved rendering performance compared to their previous generation, with the Core i9 10900K coming in about 20% faster in V-Ray than the i9 9900K it is replacing – and even rivaling or beating the Core X series i9 10900X. Similarly, the new Core i7 10700K roundly beats the i7 9700K and matches the performance of the i9 9900K at a lower price point.
However, AMD's Ryzen processors pack as many or more cores at a similar price – along with far higher core counts in their high-end desktop Threadripper line. With how well threaded CPU-based rendering is, that leaves AMD in the lead at most price points… except for ~$400, where the Core i7 10700K and Ryzen 7 3800X appear to be on pretty equal footing.
Is the Intel Core 10th Gen or AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen better for V-Ray rendering?
When it comes to CPU-based rendering in V-Ray, the core count in processors is a huge factor – and AMD offers more cores for your money at most price points. A great example of this is how AMD's Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core beats the new Intel Core i9 10900K 10-core for roughly the same price. However, there is a spot where AMD and Intel are on equal footing: the Ryzen 7 3800X and Core i7 10700K are both 8-core models and are effectively tied in V-Ray.
In the grand scheme of things, though, these are all fairly slow processors for V-Ray. Most folks with workflows that involve a lot of rendering will want to spend more to get up to the level of the Ryzen 9 3950X or, better yet, any of AMD's 3rd Gen Threadripper CPUs. Using a GPU-accelerated engine can also improve render speeds, and we have many articles looking at performance in them as well.