Hardware advice please

Hi all, fantastic forum. I have been using Blender on a highest spec iMac for the past year but find it is nowhere near powerful enough to cope with the work we need to produce as we have quite detailed scenes and models. So we have decided to have a custom built PC (rather than a Mac Pro as our budget is about £5000) that will cope with video rendering as well as still images. I would just like a little feedback on this build spec as to whether it would get us in the right direction and speed up our modelling and rendering significantly. To render a minute of 1080 video is taking way too many hours and by the time we are finished the product has been updated and the video out of date. Hopefully we can hook up the 2 iMacs we use via Crowd Renderer to speed up rendering a little more as well. Thanks in advance for any advice.

WS SKU: WS-1320A AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro Graphics Workstation

Full CPU Block Coverage All-In-One Liquid Cooling Solution

Dual Intel Gigabit RJ45 Network Ports

Dual Band 867Mbps Wireless AC Network & Bluetooth 4.2

Power Supply: 1500W ATX 80-Plus Platinum Certified Power Supply

1x Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX 3.0GHz Base, 4.2GHz Turbo, 64MB Cache, 250W TDP, 32

Cores/64 Threads

Memory: 64GB (4x 16GB) 3000MHz Quad Channel DDR4 Memory

2x Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti - 11GB GDDR6 Graphics Card (4352x Cores)

Hard Drive 1: 1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 PCIe x4 NVMe SSD - 3,500MBps Read, 3,300MBps Write,

600K/550K IOPs

Keyboard / Mouse: Logitech K120 Cabled Keyboard + 3Dconnexion CadMouse

Monitor 1: 27" Dell UltraSharp U2718Q Widescreen LED Monitor - 3840 x 2160

I built a £5k system at the beginning of this year and it’s still not fast enough…

I was advised to focus on single-thread performance since that is more applicable when editing.
Rendering was GPU - also 2 x 2080Ti’s.
I thus chose an i9-9900K (thanks Birdnamam) over the Threadripper.


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I think rendering is our bottle neck as we dont do to much editing since a lot of the models we have to work with originate in Solidworks and just need materials and some rigging as well as wires/cables etc. Would the i9’s be able to cope with rendering?

So, your main issue is gpu rendering with Cycles? Or video rendering? Which application are you using for video editing/rendering?

Love Threadripper, but not all applications can take advantage of all the cores… so definable more details on what software you are using would be needed.

here are some “ifs”

  • if pure Rendering - more GPU’s - slightly less CPU horsepower

  • if any simulations (smoke/water/fire/etc) then more CPU single threaded performance (though it has some threading, it is not optimized, and definitely not GPU centric right now)

  • if a “best of all”
    – CPU wise - as @johnn88uk mentioned, i9900k, or wait till after July 7th and go for Ryzen 3950 (16 core 32 thread desktop for 750usd) – pending independent testing that is :slight_smile: Current Threadripper 2990wx is not strong on single threaded performance unfortunately.
    – Definitely 2 (or more) RTX 2080TIs. Though blender currently doesn’t use the Tenser cores, per slot, it is the fastest “budget” GPU. Else look at Titans or Quators :slight_smile:
    – Network wise, I would also recommend 10GB nics and NAS to backup your production data.
    – Rest looks ok.

This one is going to be released in September

Well that is the funny part. Slides showed July 7th, and at the same time after the presentaiton they stated that ALL Ryzen CPus are going live on July 7th… so there is definitely some confusion on that.

If the 3950 is not available then the 3900 (12 core 24 thread) will be just as good (we hope :slight_smile: )

The new cpus are good, alright. I don’t know what the final verdict will be in the STP battle. With a rumored 10-15% increase in ipc, their turbo boost clocks (max 4.7GHz for the top 3950X) might not be enough to dethrone the 9900K, or the new 9900KS (all cores at 5GHz). We’ll wait and see.
There’s another drawback with all new platforms. It will take some time for the motherboard companies to address all the “childhood diseases”. It usually takes some months to have stable BIOS’s etc.
If @Dave_Maak can wait a few months, then the new Ryzen might be the best option. If not, a system based on a 9900K and a motherboard appropriate for gpu rendering (like the Asus z390 Pro WS) will still be perfect for the job.

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If rendering is your bottleneck, go with the Threadripper/Ryzen. They’re really good value for that.

The Intel chips may have better IPC, but you likely won’t notice that unless you’re playing a game and drop below the target framerate, or if you have some long-running task that is single-core bound.

Plus, if you apply all the Spectre/Meltdown security mitigations you might actually end up slower with the Intel chip.

Well if IPC of the Zen2 is even at 90% of 9900K, then Zen is ahead on 2x thread count.

Remember. we are talking about a 8c16t vs 16c32t CPU battle. Even with slightly slower clock speeds, in tasks like rendering where threads count, Intel has nothign to offer at this price range.

One thing we need to find out is the Turbo all core speed for Zen2. Seeing that base is 3.5Ghz. So lets give it benefit of doubt that 4Ghz all core turbo with 4.7Ghz turbo single core?

<warning - bad math ahead > LOL

And looking that SMT/Hyperthreading gives = 40% boost over single core.
Zen2 Assumptions:
Zen 2 IPC being just 90% of Intels And based on AMD’s comments close to 95%
All core turbo 4Ghz

9900KFCS = 8C * 5Gh * 1.4(HT) = 56 (or 40 if HT is disabled due to all the security patches… :frowning:)

Zen 2 = 16c * 4Ghz * 0.9(IPC) * 1.4(SMT) = 80
Zen 2 = 16c * 4Ghz * 0.95(IPC) * 1.4(SMT) = 85

So based on totally irellevant calculations, in rendering where all cores can be used, the new Zen2 would be close to 2x compute performance. (NOT directly indicative that rendering speeds would be 1/2 the time though)

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Thanks for the reply. I don’t have a doubt that the new Ryzen will be much better in multi threaded tasks. But that’s not my main concern when talking about Cycles. Most users go for Cycles gpu and that’s fully justified. So, one should aim at good STP mainly, at least the way I see it. If the STP king was a 6-core CPU I would pick it instead of a 12-core anytime, for a blender/Cycles workflow of course.
The reason I mentioned 9900ks is because I expect to see a slight increase in STP compared to the 9900k, despite the fact that the turbo boost is the same.
Now, if the workflow also includes a great deal of video editing/rendering then I am with you for the higher core count. Scaling is not great in these apps, but a 10-12 core cpu would be in the sweet spot.

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True Single Thread Performance is critical… So looking at current i9 9900k reviews, ryzen 2700k at Cinebench single thread

i9900k - 211
2700k - 177
3950x - 203 (based on 15% IPC boost). Just 4% behind Intel.

If that pans out. that is going to be nipping at Intels performance crown… Can’t wait for July 7th… dang it…

Full blow rendering performance, instead of my “guessing” to actual benches of Threadripper 2950x vs i9900k at default speeds.
Agent 327 benchmark

2950x - 673 seconds
i9 9900k - 1018 seconds…

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We are rendering animations using Blender and editing those with Premier Pro. We were using Keyshot but have since moved over to Blender. The work flow is along the lines of the design team produce product models in Solidworks which we then skin and rig in Blender which we then use to render brochure images and product videos/360 degree viewers. There are also a few parts, details, environments etc that require modelling in Blender too so we do a reasonable amount of modelling in it.

For my twopennyworth, I built a £5k machine last year with two Quadro P4000 8GB graphics cards but Blender (or Windows?) Only ever uses one of them. The second is barely touched. Means not far short of 20% of my budget could have been saved unless I’m missing something.

And do you have a deadline when you need to complete the purchase? (as in can you wait till after Ryzen 3xxx series reviews go live on July 7th?)

Ok, then there are 2 things we should know:

  1. Is it Cycles gpu or cpu rendering? Or hybrid maybe?
  2. As @Grzesiek said, what’s the deadline here? Are you in a rush setting up this rig?
    If the new Ryzen are an option here, then it will be safe to decide if the new rig is going to be built around a 3xxx cpu after ~2-3 months from now.

Hi folks, we went with the Threadripper 2990WX and after working on the PC for a month or two it has become painfully obvious that we need more power for editing/scene manipulation as our scenes are a bit heavy. Render speed is good enough with what we have, so I am wondering if we should be looking at a single core cpu instead to speed up the scene editing process? Which CPU would you recommend for pure editing speed rather than rendering…and will it affect the render speed much if we lose a bunch of cores? I am looking at something like the i9-9900k but is it a case of less but more powerful cores with higher clock speed for editing performance? Im led to believe Blender doesnt really make use of all the cores except during rendering.

You were warned about STP in previous posts. The 2990wx isn’t the best option for your workflow.
In my opinion, the best combo for heavy editing and GPU rendering in blender is still the 9900k paired with the Asus z399 Pro ws. After 2-3 months of real life use of the new Ryzen 3000 the facts show that the new CPUs don’t achieve the advertised turbo frequencies and are not easy to handle thermically. I’m still waiting for the 3950x to come out in order to see if things are improved, but still the STP champion is clearly the 9900k and its successor the upcoming 9900ks which will have an all core turbo boost of 5ghz.
If you need the best cpu for editing, modeling and simulation the 9900k is still slightly ahead.

PS I would personally wait a bit for the 3950x to come out and see its real life performance. If it’s fairly close to the 9900k, it would be the best combination of STP and rendering performance at the same time. It’s allegedly on par with the 2950x in rendering, but the STP should be much better due to its advertised 4.7ghz turbo. Let’s see if these features are as good as the rumours say.


If you have viewport performance issues, I would expect that is more an issue with the GPU.

As for the Threadripper, the 2990WX is … due to its design, slightly limited in single thread performance. Whatever the Zen2 Threadripper will be should resolve this significantly.

Wonder if you have the possibility of using someone elsees setup that has one of the Zen2 Ryzen 3xxx CPU,s or the intel 9900k and test on them.

Also can you provide more details on the type of scene you are workign on? As in complexity wise. Would love to test to see waht’s more critical, CPU or GPU.

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Thanks Birdnamam, sounds like I should look at the 9900k. My boss is keen to get this bottleneck resolved asap so I doubt he will wait for the 3950x to be tested and assessed.