Rendering, Encoding & Compression
Threaded workloads remain an uncontested strength of AMD's Zen-based processors and their hefty core counts. Many of these workloads stress the memory subsystem, which reduces the advantage of the Threadripper 2990WX’s hefty core count due to accesses from the remote memory controllers.
The Ryzen line-up dominates the multi-core Cinebench and POV-Ray tests, but the 2990WX only provides a 35% speed over the 2950X in the POV-Ray benchmark. In light of its 100% increase in cores, that doesn’t represent the best scaling possible. The 2990WX provides a 66% performance improvement in the Cinebench score.
Corona also scales well as the Threadripper 2990WX unleashes the full might of its 64 threads. Intel’s processors still hold the per-core advantage in the single core POV-Ray and Cinebench tests, but its easy to see that AMD’s multi-die design can help offset that advantage with extra cores in threaded workloads.
Encoding & Compression
Our threaded compression and decompression tests work directly from system memory, removing storage throughput from the equation. This workload benefits heavily from threading, but either memory throughput or poor software scaling is holding the 29990WX back from realizing
its potential in the compression test. Threadripper 2950X, which comes with two die outfitted with directly-attached memory controllers, offers a nice boost over its predecessor at stock settings. The Core i9-7980XE reigns supreme in this test, which could be due to its single monolithic die and mesh architecture that facilitates much higher bandwidth to the cores. In contrast, the decompression test highlights the 2990WX’s devastating performance when the cores are properly fed.
y-cruncher, a single- and multi-threaded program that computes pi using AVX instructions, is a great test to measure Threadripper 2’s AVX performance. Intel’s Core i9 employs two 256-bit AVX FMA units per core that operate in parallel, whereas Ryzen's Zen architecture divides 256-bit AVX operations across two FMA units per core. That means the 2990WX’s two extra die bring much more AVX performance to the table, provided you can feed the data-hungry AVX operations. The 2990WX nears the top of the chart, but scaling is sub-optimal compared to the 2950X, which has half the AVX units. This could again fall back on poor memory subsystem performance, which hinders some applications.
That same story plays out in Handbrake. AMD said during its briefings that Handbrake is cache dependent and doesn’t utilize cores fully, thus yielding a smaller performance boost than expected. The Handbrake x265 test, which uses a heavier distribution of AVX instructions than the H264 test, yields a minimal performance advantage for the 2990WX compared to the 2950X. We think that memory access plays a larger role in this result than sub-optimal software scaling.
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