REVIEW: Chill­blast Fu­sion Ryzen Ren­der VR Pro WX 7100

The in­tro­duc­tion of AMD’S Ryzen pro­ces­sors make eight-core com­put­ing a lot more af­ford­able for 3D artists

3D Artist - - CONTENTS - Orestis Bastounis

Orestis Bastounis takes this new build through its paces

The resur­gence of AMD CPUS as a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to In­tel is per­haps 2017’s big­gest PC hard­ware news. And this Chill­blast Fu­son Ryzen is the first AMD sys­tem to grace the pages of 3D Artist in years.

Ryzen uses the new ‘Zen’ ar­chi­tec­ture, bring­ing per­for­mance up to a level that is gen­uinely com­pet­i­tive with In­tel chips in gam­ing and pro­duc­tiv­ity ap­pli­ca­tions, ac­com­pa­nied with a pric­ing strat­egy that vastly un­der­cuts the com­pe­ti­tion. Ryzen com­petes with Core i7 pro­ces­sors in four to eight-core con­fig­u­ra­tions, with the more high-end Thread­rip­per chips go­ing up against In­tel Xeons in eight, 12 and 16-core pack­ages. All Ryzen pro­ces­sors sup­port two threads per CPU core, and the line-up runs with DDR4 mem­ory, quad-chan­nel in the case of the Thread­rip­per part.

This is all great news for artists, be­cause CPU per­for­mance af­fects ren­der­ing times across the board, work­ing with the GPU to var­i­ous ex­tents depend­ing on the pro­gram. The Chill­blast Fu­sion Ryzen packs the Ryzen 1800X CPU, an eight-core, 16-thread part, with a 3.6GHZ base clock and 4.0GHZ boosted fre­quency.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the Fu­sion Ryzen comes packed with all the same im­pres­sive com­po­nent and build qual­ity that we’ve be­come used to see­ing from Chill­blast, in­clud­ing a stun­ning SSD, a 240GB Sam­sung 960 Pro, an Asus Prime B350M Ryzen moth­er­board, a Cor­sair Hy­dro H60 CPU Cooler, a 750W FSP power sup­ply, 16GB of sys­tem mem­ory and a 2TB hard disk. Housed in a Frac­tal De­sign De­fine Mini C case, the tower is a rel­a­tively svelte build. In­side, it’s no sur­prise to dis­cover that the com­po­nents and ca­bles are given plenty of air­flow from a neat and tidy PC build.

Graph­ics are han­dled by AMD’S Radeon Pro WX 7100 card, a card that sits some­where be­tween a Quadro P2000 and P4000 in per­for­mance terms.

The sys­tem costs a penny un­der £2,000 (in­clud­ing VAT). Although that’s not pocket change, it’s a lot more af­ford­able than the prices many eight-core 3D work­sta­tions reach. Chill­blast in­formed us that an up­grade to an In­tel Core i7-7820x CPU, the most pow­er­ful In­tel eight-core pro­ces­sor, would add £500 to the price (in­clud­ing the ad­di­tional cost in­curred with an X299 moth­er­board).

Choos­ing be­tween AMD and In­tel is a de­ci­sion prospec­tive PC buy­ers have had to make for decades. The an­swer has al­ways come down to the num­bers – bench­mark per­for­mance ver­sus cost, a cal­cu­la­tion that has tra­di­tion­ally been favourable to AMD, but per­haps less so in re­cent his­tory. With the launch of Ryzen though, our tests showed this af­ford­able eight-core pro­ces­sor to be more than ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing the se­ri­ous ren­der­ing grunt artists re­quire.

3ds Max 2015 was the first test we ran, with the Un­der­wa­ter demo com­plet­ing in six min­utes 45 sec­onds at 1080p. It’s roughly half the time the old quad-core Core i7-4790k took. Specview­perf scores showed the WX 7100 to hold its own as well, with a strong Ca­tia-04 re­sult of 102.99, and 71.41 in Maya-04, round­ing off a gen­er­ally great all-round per­for­mance from this work­sta­tion.

Cinebench 15 spat out a CPU score of 1630, slightly be­hind the 1798 at­tained by In­tel’s ten-core Core i7-6950x we cov­ered ear­lier this year. Although we can’t di­rectly com­pare sys­tems, we’re fairly cer­tain the Ryzen 1800X does not quite meet the sin­gle-thread or multi-threaded per­for­mance lev­els of In­tel’s cur­rent high-end Core i7 eight-core pro­ces­sors. But with any multi-threaded soft­ware, hav­ing eight CPU cores is a fan­tas­tic ben­e­fit, that can make a se­ri­ous dent in ren­der­ing times. With Ryzen, you get those ben­e­fits in a sys­tem that costs £500 less than In­tel’s.

The de­ci­sion is per­haps not about whether to spend the ex­tra and go with In­tel’s eight-core of­fer­ing, but whether it’s worth even con­sid­er­ing a quad-core sys­tem for 3D work any more, given the ad­van­tages of­fered by Ryzen. While the bench­mark re­sults aren’t show­ing Ryzen com­pletely trash­ing In­tel on all fronts, it’s clear that if you use multi-threaded soft­ware, the Ryzen 1800X is a more sen­si­ble choice than any quad-core pro­ces­sor, with­out break­ing the bank, and this is per­haps the key point.

Un­til now, the high­est lev­els of multi-core per­for­mance also car­ried the high­est prices, but AMD is se­ri­ously shak­ing up this sit­u­a­tion with its new prod­ucts. This ad­van­tage is likely to be even more sig­nif­i­cant with Thread­rip­per’s 16 cores go­ing up against some of the prici­est CPU prod­ucts In­tel sells.

This af­ford­able eight-core pro­ces­sor [is] more than ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing the ren­der­ing grunt artists re­quire

BOT­TOM RIGHT Chill­blast’s work­sta­tions never dis­ap­point, and this one de­liv­ers a qual­ity cooler, PSU, fast M.2 stor­age and great build qual­ity

BOT­TOM LEFT The WX 7100 per­formed well, although we did no­tice it be­comes a bit noisy when un­der heavy GPU load

MAIN In­tel might still have the up­per hand, but Ryzen is mak­ing the op­tion of eight-core pro­ces­sors avail­able to a much wider au­di­ence

BE­LOW If an eight-core Ryzen is this good, we can’t wait to see AMD’S 16-core chips

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