Intel’s latest processor architecture brings a lot to the table, with the usual suspects dominating the feature’s-list: improved CPU and GPU performance, better power-efficiency, and new instruction sets. We’re taking a look at the desktop line’s highest-end offering here, so let’s see how it stacks up against the last-gen’s champ.
Workstation: Cinebench & POV-Ray
Like Autodesk’s 3ds Max and Maya 3D tools, Maxon’s Cinema 4D is a popular cross-platform 3D design tool that’s used by new users and experts alike. Maxon is well-aware that its users are in need of some rather beefy PC hardware to help speed up rendering times, which is one of the reasons the company itself releases its own benchmark, Cinebench.
There are a couple of reasons we like to use Cinebench in our testing. For one, it’s freely available for anyone to download, unlike our Autodesk-based tests. Second, it has the capability to scale up to 64 threads, which means we’ll easily be able to rely on it until the next version hits. As a faster CPU can also help improve the GPU computational pipeline, we also like that it includes an OpenGL benchmark as well. The fact that the benchmark completes in mere minutes is another perk.
The results here almost perfectly mimic those we saw with SPECapc 3ds Max. The i7-3960X scores highest in overall performance, but falls behind the others in the graphics department. Overall, the i7-4770K sees modest gains in the CPU, but huge gains in the OpenGL tests (the differences were so large, we had to retest each configuration; the results stand).
The “Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer” is a multi-platform ray tracing tool that allows you to take your previously-created environments and models and apply a ray tracing algorithm based on a script you either created yourself or borrowed from others. The tool is free and has become a standard in the ray tracing community, with some of the ‘Hall of Fame’ results able to be found here.
For our testing, we run the built-in benchmark in both single-threaded and multi-threaded mode. The results are presented in “pixels-per-second” – a simple metric, but one that’s easy to understand.
This graph is a little bizarre to look at, as one CPU excelled in the single-thread test, and another, the multi-thread. Do you want to take a guess as to the multi-thread winner? It’s of course the six-core i7-3960X. The single-threaded champ is the i7-4770K – an excellent showing overall, and reassuring given single-threaded operations are more common in regular desktop use than multi-threaded ones.