Articles: CPU

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Application Tests

In Autodesk 3ds max 2014 we benchmark the speed of mental ray rendering of a complex 3D scene.

Final rendering is a type of computing task that can be easily run on multiple CPU cores. That’s why the six-core LGA2011 CPUs take the top positions in the diagram. 3ds max 2014 highlights the benefits of the Ivy Bridge-E design as such CPUs are somewhat faster than their opponents with the same number of cores. As for the quad-core Ivy Bridge-E, it is not satisfactory here, falling 13% behind the Core i7-4770K which belongs to a lower-class platform.

We also benchmark 3D rendering performance with Cinebench R15. Maxon has recently updated it, so it can now measure the speed of computing platforms in the latest versions of the Cinema 4D animation suite.

The diagram shows the same rankings we’ve just seen in 3ds max. The number of CPU cores is the first most important factor for this test, the CPU microarchitecture being the second. The six-core CPUs take top places but the Haswell-based models are better than their opponents with the same number of cores. By the way, AMD’s 8-core CPU is comparable to Intel’s quad-core CPUs since the latter can also execute eight instruction threads concurrently thanks to their Hyper-Threading technology.

In Adobe’s After Effects CC we measure the speed of classic rendering of a 3D video with a set of filters and special effects.

Creating special effects in After Effects turns out to be alike to final rendering. The number of CPU cores is the most important factor again - with one peculiarity. The latest version of After Effects is one of the few applications that can make use of the advantages offered by the quad-channel memory controller of LGA2011 CPUs. As a result, the Core i7-4960X is 50% faster than the Core i7-4770K while the Core i7-4820K also beats the senior quad-core LGA1150 model.

The test scenario for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.2 includes post-processing and exporting into JPEG format of two hundred 12-megapixel RAW images captured with a Nikon D300.

The Ivy Bridge-E CPUs are still ahead but the Core i7-4770K isn’t much slower. AMD’s FX-9370 is quite good at batch processing of photos, too. As for the quad-core LGA2011 processors, they are not good for Lightroom: the Core i7-4770K is 11% ahead of the new Core i7-4820K.

We benchmark CPUs in Adobe Photoshop CS6 using our custom test that is based on the Retouch Artists Photoshop Speed Test and consists of typical processing of four 24-megapixel images captured with a digital camera.

It is a shame we don’t test Haswell-E CPUs today. Although the Haswell microarchitecture didn’t improve performance as much as we had anticipated, it is an improvement anyway. Thanks to that, the quad-core Core i7-4770K is ahead of the new quad-core Ivy Bridge-E processor and is only 4% behind the top-end six-core Ivy Bridge-E. In other words, the Core i7-4770K is faster than the new six-core Core i7-4930K.

The performance in Adobe Premiere Pro CC is measured as the time it takes to render a Blu-ray project with HDV 1080p25 video into H.264 format and apply special effects to it.

Processing video is what the LGA2011 platform, particularly with six-core CPUs, is good at. We can also see that the Ivy Bridge-E models are up to 8% faster than their Sandy Bridge-E predecessors. As for the quad-core CPUs, the Haswell is again ahead of its LGA2011 opponents.

The processors’ performance in cryptographic tasks is measured with the built-in benchmark of the popular TrueCrypt utility that uses AES-Twofish-Serpent encryption. Besides optimizations for multi-core CPUs, it supports the AES instructions.

The new six-core CPUs look good in this test. The Ivy Bridge-E design is 10 to 14% better than the Sandy Bridge-E, yet the top-end Haswell is faster than the quad-core LGA2011 model Core i7-4820K. Unfortunately, the latter is a poor alternative to today’s LGA1150 solutions. We just can’t find any reason to buy a Core i7-4820K.

To test the processors’ performance at data archiving we use WinRAR 5.0. Using maximum compression rate, we archive a 1.7GB folder with multiple files.

The WinRAR developers have optimized their application for multi-core CPUs, so we’ve got only six-core models in the top of the diagram. The Ivy Bridge-E design is 5 to 6% faster than the Sandy Bridge-E due to some improvements in the microarchitecture and higher clock rates. However, the Haswell is superior among the quad-core models. Although data compression requires high memory bandwidth, the Core i7-4770K with its dual-channel DDR3 SDRAM controller is somewhat faster than the new Core i7-4820K with quad-channel controller, even though the latter CPU has a higher clock rate.

In order to measure how fast the tested CPUs can transcode video into H.264 format we used x264 FHD Benchmark 1.0.1 (64 bit). It measures the time it takes the x264 coder to convert an MPEG-4/AVC video recorded in 1920x1080@50fps resolution with 30 Mbps bitrate. The results have high practical value, because the x264 codec is part of popular transcoding utilities, such as HandBrake, MeGUI, VirtualDub, etc. We regularly update the coder used in this performance test. This time around, we use version r2358, which supports all contemporary instruction sets including AVX2.

Encoding video with the x264 codec is an interesting test as it is constantly evolving to support the newest instruction sets. The Haswell shows an impressive result because it is the only CPU to support the AVX2 instructions. On the other hand, six cores are a more important factor, so the Core i7-4960X and Core i7-4930K are even faster, just like their six-core predecessors. The quad-core Ivy Bridge-E model, Core i7-4820K, is rather slow as in most of the previous tests. It is 20% slower than the Core i7-4770K which features a more progressive microarchitecture and supports modern SIMD instruction sets.

Encoding video with a bare coder is hardly a real-life application, so we want to check out the speed of video transcoding with the popular free tool Freemake Video Converter 4.0.4. It uses the FFmpeg library and is based on the x264 coder too, but features certain optimizations. We disable CUDA and DXVA for this test to create maximum load on the CPUs’ computing cores.

As expected, the speed of video transcoding in Freemake Video Converter is overall similar to the speed of the x264 coder. The six-core Ivy Bridge-E processors can show their best at this kind of load. Their predecessors with Sandy Bridge-E design look good, too. On the other hand, the results of the Core i7-4820K make it clear that the Haswell is far more progressive, making the Ivy Bridge-E series and the LGA2011 platform look outdated.

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