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New AMD x86 Zen Blender Benchmarks Surface – Show Equal Performance To A 10-Core Intel Xeon E5 Chip

Usman Pirzada
Posted Nov 2, 2016
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A benchmark of AMD’s upcoming x86 Zen architecture has been spotted on Blenchmark.com (a relatively unknown aggregate database for Blender tests). The test was spotted by this redditor and shows some very impressive performance if we take the result at face value. Unfortunately, the processor has no identifying information along with it so it is impossible to determine which variant of AMD’s Zen processor the results represent.

New blender benchmark of an AMD Zen CPU spotted in the wild – possible Naples variant

AMD’s philosophy with the upcoming Zen architecture is one of complete uniformity. The company will be shipping variants that scale (initially) from 8 cores for Summit Ridge and up to 32 cores for the Naples processor. While the result is undoubtedly legitimate in nature, the lack of identifying information makes it very hard to judge the performance. To put it simply, it is very impressive performance for an 8 core but only decent performance for a 16 core and above.

The processor is listed as “AMD Engineering Sample” and is several positions above the Core i7 6900k – the octa-core processor the Summit Ridge variant was originally tested against. It manages the Blender run in 69 seconds – which is exactly the same performance as an Intel Xeon E5 2680 v2 processor. This is a chip that has 10 cores! It is marginally faster than the Xeon E5 2650 v2 – which is an 8 core processor. Both of these feature relatively low base clocks (as is usually the case with Xeon chips) of 2.8 Ghz and 2.6 Ghz respectively.

The test date is approximately the same time that the official demo for Zen was shown but since we have evidence of Naples being ready for testing quite a while before that, this does not prove anything. If this is indeed the 8 core chip, then its performance exceeds all expectations and blows away the competition. The only thing that will remain will be the price point and as you can expect a significant premium over AMD’s usual value philosophy.

On the other, if this represent a Naples variant, it fits more or less within the performance we were expecting. Since Intel has had a significant process advantage over AMD for quite some time now I do not expect Zen to beat Intel core for core, clock for clock. However, we do believe that the Sunnyvale manufacturer will give Intel very real competition in terms of performance per dollar – which is all that gamers are usually interested in.

It is my belief however (caution: opinion) that this particular result represents a server class chip, i.e. Naples. This is because the benchmark was conducted in Windows 2008 Server R2 64 bit edition – an odd choice for a desktop variant. One would expect the Summit Ridge CPU to be tested on the latest OS: Windows 10. Since we do not know the clocks at this point and engineering samples are usually clocked low, this does go on to show that AMD can make a very big comeback in the server sector (if the price point is right). I am not going to go into any further speculation regarding the results since our readers can take care of that themselves and will end on the following note:

AMD Zen Summit Ridge Processors To Be Branded As SR7, SR5, SR3 - Pricing Starts at $200 US, Enthusiast SR7 CPUs For X370 Arriving in Early 2017

In either case, it is very refreshing to see competitive performance from AMD chips after so long. Whether we are talking, raw performance on a premium or AMD’s well known performance per dollar trick – AMD’s compute side is back.

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