It’s finally official, AMD is set to ship its long-teased “world’s first 64-core, 128-thread” CPU early next month. It’s a consumer unit, not a server unit. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X will be $4,000 and will ship on 7th February 2020. By all accounts AMD generally now has total supremacy in the marketplace, beating Intel by a mile on both price and speed in both the server and the consumer markets. Their new CPU would be like having a 128-thread render-farm under your desk, crunching on your CPU dependent rendering (i.e. from Vue XStream, Poser’s Firefly, Keyshot etc). I imagine it would also probably be rather handy for capturing and streaming HD video while you run demanding software.
Of course it would need your other PC components to be able to keep up with it, so you’d really want it in a new PC. Thus the most important question is, what’s the likely cost of that? I can’t immediately find anyone set to ship such a thing in February, but I suspect you’re probably looking at $7,000 for such a PC by summer 2020. That’s a hefty dent in your wallet, but it’s not an impossible sum for a small studio looking for a tax write-off. Yet if AMD can get some sort of 64-core into mass production and thus drop the price, it would be nice to imagine that a 64-core could be in a $4,999 content-maker workstation by late 2021.
The obvious step down appears to be the new $800 AMD Ryzen 3950X, at 16 cores and offering a mere 32 render threads. That’s for the CPU alone.
Below that is the $500 AMD Ryzen 3900X at 12 cores and 24 threads, again for the CPU alone. A somewhat future-proofed self-build list in summer 2019 used this CPU and quality components and topped out at $3,400. However I see that the same CPU is now in UK gaming rigs at around £1,300 all-in. I assume the graphics card in one of those would also make light work of iRay renders from DAZ Studio, though at that relatively cheap price it probably wouldn’t be capable of fast real-time ray-tracing.
Below that, in terms of pre-built PCs, the cheapest gaming PC with a AMD Ryzen 7 2700 (8 Cores, 16 render threads) can be had in the UK for around £480 from Fierce, but it may be just as cheap to custom-build up your own 3D-focused PC from a motherboard + CPU bundle. Note that 2700 is the energy-efficient 65w version, and the 2700x is the more power-hungry and slightly faster version. It’s apparently a trade-off there, slightly more power from the 2700x… but noiser fans. The 2700 is said on the Smith Micro forum to be in 2019 about the equivalent of 2 x Xeon X5690 CPUs (24 render threads) in a old refurbished workstation.
Avoid the pre-Ryzen AMD FX-8320 PC, which can be found at about the same price as the 2700’s. Supposedly “8-core” circa 2012, and nice to have at that point in time. But apparently the 8320 was really 8 threads-pretending-to-be-cores sitting in 4-cores, done via some fancy cache workarounds. So far as I can tell that means you won’t get it to show 16 render threads to the likes of Vue in 2020, since it’s wasn’t a real 8-core. However, if you can pick one up for £100 it could be used as a fairly fast render-node for Vue.
Carrara 8 is DAZ Studio's official 'big sister' software.
Carrara loads all DAZ and Poser characters and scenes,
and supports LuxRender for top-quality realistic rendering.