Intel Xeon w9 3495X and w9 3475X Review
It isn’t often that we have a product which is complete overkill for most of our benchmarks. We remember there have been a few in the lifespan of OC3D which shifted the performance so far forwards that the products we used to test it were wholly under-equipped to deal with it. The Intel Xeon W9 range are definitely two such products.
Admittedly the area that we expected them to be brilliant, 3D rendering, they definitely are. We often talk about how seeing Cinebench on a high core count CPU is a wonder to behold, and even we weren’t ready for exactly how quickly it could render the scene. It’s a feather in the cap of Maxon and their Cinema 4D architecture than the newest version of Cinebench, R23, had no problems at all maximising the performance available on the 112 thread Intel Xeon w9-3495X. Similarly the freeware Blender doesn’t have a hitch in it. On lesser processors we can set it running our 4K blend and go off to make a coffee, heck on some of the processors we test we could go out for dinner, but here it’s sub 4 minutes. You’d have to run to the kettle to not have any downtime.
The other key action you might need a processor with this number of cores is video encoding, and here our results were less impressive. Both the standalone x264 benchmark, and the Davinci Resolve powered Pugetbench seemed to not have a clue what to do with quite so many cores available to them and didn’t remotely return the kind of numbers we were expecting after seeing how Cinebench handled the Xeons. This is very much a case of hitting the upper limits of the expected core count, where the program is then more reliant upon raw clock speed to complete the task and clock speed, even with our overclocks, is not the strength of the Xeon W9 pairing.
Clearly gaming isn’t where the strong suit of the Xeons is. We wouldn’t expect it to be. Games are designed around consoles these days, and those have 8 core CPUs. Any more than that and the engine has no idea what to do, and relies upon clock speed. However, we thought that the heavy calculations behind both Factorio and Stellaris might be able to make the most of the enormous thread counts we had at our disposal, but that wasn’t the case.
All of which means that if you really need high core count processing for your business then you either need to live in the world of 3D rendering and the infrastructure there, or pay very close attention to the video encoder you’re using and whether it can reward you for the amount of threads you can offer, instead of expecting beefy clock speeds. It is worth pointing out that our overclock saw enormous gains on the Xeon w9-3475X in particular, which showed up how some benchmarks want clocks more than threads. Even 3DMARK’s CPU benchmark threw up its arms and gave up once it got past 16 threads. Then again it’s not really designed to run on these behemoths.
If you have the right requirements, and a fat wallet, then clearly the Intel Xeon W9 pairing can bring hitherto undreamt of speed to your workflow.