by Rob Williams on February 7, 2020 in Processors
AMD’s newest Ryzen Threadripper processor is an absolute beast, and because of that, it’s not for everyone. If you’ve got an insatiable need for more cores than even the 24- or 32-core Threadrippers can offer, then the 64-core 3990X may be right up your alley. Let’s see how it fares across our usual range of workstation workloads.
We covered a handful of major renderers on the previous page, but we’re not done yet. On this page, we’re going to take a look at a few more, including some industry mainstays and newbies. That includes Corona Renderer, which we recently upgraded to version 5. We’re foregoing Adobe Dimension performance for this review, since we haven’t seen realistic scaling with the new version 3.0, and have not yet been able to investigate (typical Adobe new-release teething problems).
To give you an opportunity to test your own hardware against ours, we’re also including the ever-popular Cinebench standalone benchmark, which represents current R20 performance. This test, along with the latest version of POV-Ray, act as our only single-threaded angles in the article.
Ever since the original Ryzen released, AMD has loved talking about Cinebench. At this past CES, company CEO Lisa Su comically spanned the 3990X’s Cinebench score across three screens, driving the point home that this is one monster of a CPU. At CES, the reported score was around 25,300, whereas we get 24,245. We’ve talked to other reviewers, and one received a score higher than AMD’s reported, so as covered in the intro, our performance seems to be degraded just a bit (despite a lot of troubleshooting to get it up to par with AMD’s reported scores).
We’d ordinarily include Cinema 4D here to compare against, but our license ran out in the middle of testing, so we’ll tackle that another time.
Whereas the advantages with the 3990X were a bit tepid with Chaos Group’s V-Ray, Corona fares a lot better, especially in our livingroom render. Not all projects are built alike, so scaling strengths will change from project to project, but overall, it’s safe to say the 3990X will be heavily utilized during a render. As these many-core CPUs surge the market, this should only get better over time. Unlike many of the renderers in our collection, Corona is one of the rare ones that remain CPU-only.
As is probably obvious from the get-go here, LuxMark is not taking full advantage of the 3990X. We monitored it and saw that it was using only half of the cores, which is a little interesting since LuxMark uses Intel Embree, which we found in our Linux testing can definitely go above 64 threads no problem. Yet again more proof of some software needing to catch up more than others.
The version of POV-Ray you can go and download right now does not utilize more than 64 threads, something that is not even improved with the 3.8 beta. In order for us to see improved scaling, AMD had to recompile the software itself with the fix that allows more than 64 threads to be used. AMD said that its code was contributed to the project, so we hope to see the next release include the patch.
That all said, we can see why AMD decided to put the effort into this test, since it shows really well what a massive CPU like the 3990X can do – when utilized effectively.