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Dell Precision T5600: Two Eight-Core CPUs In A Workstation

Results: Autodesk 3ds Max And Maya

Autodesk 3ds Max 2014

Space Flyby

This is the 3ds Max test used for benchmarking CPUs here at Tom's Hardware. It's a fairly straightforward mental ray render with very little in the way of advanced settings. Thus, it finishes pretty quickly, even on our baseline machine. Dell's Precision T5600 winds up 2.24x faster than that system.

3ds Max: V-Ray

This is our Tom’s Hardware logo scene, which was originally created in LightWave 3D, imported into Max via FBX format, retextured, and then output with new settings in the popular V-Ray renderer from Chaos Group. Four frames are sampled from the animation to reflect a quartet of different frame content types. As you can see, they behave uniquely depending on the number of polygons in the scene, how much motion blur is applied, and whether the motion blur is linear. Dell shows up 4.3-4.6x faster than our baseline Xeon E3 box, thanks to its two eight-core CPUs and much higher memory bandwidth.

3ds Max: V-Ray RT

While I was messing around using V-Ray RT for another article, I did some digging in the 3ds Max settings and found that the color space wasn't set correctly for our benchmark, and the orientation of the light used to illuminate the car wasn't right, either. I also darkened up the tires, taking us from this:

To this:

It also affected our render times, though just slightly.

The update runs slightly slower on one machine and slightly faster on the other. Overall, Dell finishes 3.1x faster than the baseline box. That's pretty much the result we were expecting from a CUDA-accelerated workload shifting from Quadro 2000 to K5000. As a side effect, we're using a better render now, too.

3ds Max: iray

Our iray benchmark is a GPU-accelerated version of mental ray, using a scene provided by Autodesk. The Precision T5600 comes out 2.2x faster, which is a narrower victory than the other CUDA-based workload, presented above.

3ds Max DirectX Preview

This benchmark tests the performance of 3ds Max’s 3D display by playing back a preview of the entire THG Logo animation to our machine's RAM drive. It's a fairly accurate representation of 3ds Max's viewport, which is DirectX 11-based. While it benefits slightly from the T5600's faster GPU, it's largely bottlenecked by the process' single-threaded nature.

Autodesk Maya 2014

Maya: mental ray Rendering

Maya ships with mental ray as its renderer, and since our complex render test for 3ds Max is done in V-Ray, we're using mental ray in Maya. It’s the Tom's Hardware Logo scene again, retextured and with different settings (remember, these don't translate across apps). Autodesk's 2014 apps do come with an updated version of mental ray, but those features aren't being tested here. For example, it's now possible to offload your global illumination calculations onto the GPU, essentially generating a GI "pass" on the graphics card and using it in the software render. It's an interesting option to explore, though this benchmark is still entirely CPU-based.

The results are closer between these two machines than the other renders we've presented. The new version of mental ray seems to be much more efficient at calculating motion blur than its predecessor, more than halving the render time for frame 500. Faster render times on the same scene are always a good thing!

Maya: Playblast

Maya’s Playblast feature records a viewport to storage (or a RAM drive in our case) by grabbing the preview windows and spooling them out. Even with Maya 2014’s new DirectX 11 preview windows, the Playblast function is still so single-threaded that it limits the T5600's performance, allowing the baseline machine's higher-clocked Ivy Bridge-based processor to take a lead.