CPU Performance, Short Form

For our motherboard reviews, we use our short form testing method. These tests usually focus on if a motherboard is using MultiCore Turbo (the feature used to have maximum turbo on at all times, giving a frequency advantage), or if there are slight gains to be had from tweaking the firmware. We put the memory settings at the CPU manufacturers suggested frequency, making it very easy to see which motherboards have MCT enabled by default.

Rendering - Blender 2.7b: 3D Creation Suite - link

A high profile rendering tool, Blender is open-source allowing for massive amounts of configurability, and is used by a number of high-profile animation studios worldwide. The organization recently released a Blender benchmark package, a couple of weeks after we had narrowed our Blender test for our new suite, however their test can take over an hour. For our results, we run one of the sub-tests in that suite through the command line - a standard ‘bmw27’ scene in CPU only mode, and measure the time to complete the render.

Rendering: Blender 2.79b

Rendering – POV-Ray 3.7.1: Ray Tracing - link

The Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer, or POV-Ray, is a freeware package for as the name suggests, ray tracing. It is a pure renderer, rather than modeling software, but the latest beta version contains a handy benchmark for stressing all processing threads on a platform. We have been using this test in motherboard reviews to test memory stability at various CPU speeds to good effect – if it passes the test, the IMC in the CPU is stable for a given CPU speed. As a CPU test, it runs for approximately 1-2 minutes on high-end platforms.

Rendering: POV-Ray 3.7.1 Benchmark

Compression – WinRAR 5.60b3: link

Our WinRAR test from 2013 is updated to the latest version of WinRAR at the start of 2014. We compress a set of 2867 files across 320 folders totaling 1.52 GB in size – 95% of these files are small typical website files, and the rest (90% of the size) are small 30-second 720p videos.

Encoding: WinRAR 5.60b3

Synthetic – 7-Zip v1805: link

Out of our compression/decompression tool tests, 7-zip is the most requested and comes with a built-in benchmark. For our test suite, we’ve pulled the latest version of the software and we run the benchmark from the command line, reporting the compression, decompression, and a combined score.

It is noted in this benchmark that the latest multi-die processors have very bi-modal performance between compression and decompression, performing well in one and badly in the other. There are also discussions around how the Windows Scheduler is implementing every thread. As we get more results, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Encoding: 7-Zip 1805 Combined

Neuron Simulation - DigiCortex v1.20: link

The newest benchmark in our suite is DigiCortex, a simulation of biologically plausible neural network circuits, and simulates activity of neurons and synapses. DigiCortex relies heavily on a mix of DRAM speed and computational throughput, indicating that systems which apply memory profiles properly should benefit and those that play fast and loose with overclocking settings might get some extra speed up. Results are taken during the steady-state period in a 32k neuron simulation and represented as a function of the ability to simulate in real time (1.000x equals real-time).

System: DigiCortex 1.20 (32k Neuron, 1.8B Synapse)


Test Bed Setup and Thermal Performance Gaming Performance
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  • Gonemad - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    "I'm one of the uncommon ones that just wants it to work, without lights."

    You are my hero.

    But I didn't take the jump, yet. I would settle with big Noctua fans and heatsinks or whatever the best air setups can provide... considering I live in a country where 95F ambient is commonly known as "a nippy summer" and 59F is known as "dead frozen winter".

    Yeah, I'm not after overclocking, just avoid thermal throttling is a win already.
  • surt - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    Would love to know more about your setup. I just want silence and would prefer my components be invisible (zero bling).
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    The main reason my current system is watercooled and the GPU in my next one definitely will be is lower fan noise. 120/140x25mm fans on a radiator are far quieter than 70/80x10mm fans on the GPU.

    Assuming I do a custom loop for the GPU cooler again (I've seen AIO water cooler to GPU adapters, but never looked into them) I'll probably do the CPU too just for completeness, even if I don't go with a zillion core count model that's hot enough to make it mandatory. (Depends what the market looks like in mid 2022.)
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, February 6, 2020 - link

    The argument for bigger, slower, and quieter fans at the radiator to reduce noise is a good one to be sure. There is really nothing quite like going from a totally passive, silent system to one that is packed with whirring fans. I'm not so sure its worth the cost of components in this specific build example which is mainly my point of criticism as there are lower cost options that reach the same goal, but I do agree that silence is certainly has value.
  • AshlayW - Thursday, February 6, 2020 - link

    It's called a hobby, hon. This site is also for PC hobbiests who enjoy this sort of thing.

    Protip: Untangle your jimmies.
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, February 6, 2020 - link

    Protip: Refer to yourself to your own protip.
  • Dug - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    I get why some people may want to overclock with watercooling, but at the end of the day it's way too much work, too many chances for leak, more maintenance, very expensive, heavy, and if you hate pump noise, then air cooling works really well without the hassle. Especially if you have the right case.
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    Is overclocking the CPU even worth while anymore? I am a Blender User and CUDA support for Nvidia GPU rendering has really changed my life. My RTX 2080 can render so much faster and unlike CPU rendering the fans barely get any louder. Renderings complete in about one third the time compared to my 9900K. My gaming is at 4K now also, so there is no CPU bottleneck that needs alleviating. At a time when everyone is water-cooling, I'm thinking that it's unnecessary, I'm going back to air cooling.
  • Slash3 - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    Any specific reasoning for the use of such old AGESA/BIOS versions? Your testbed lists them as having the ABBA release, which predates, and is not recommended for use by AMD on, the 3950X.

    The current releases are 2.10 for the Creator (January 22nd) and P1.70 for the Aqua (December 12th).
  • HideOut - Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - link

    You list a 3950x as the CPU but are linking to a 3700x. I assume the 3950 is what was used, but if you got the hookup on a $329 3950 please share the deets with us :D

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