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3D modeling and rendering

Cinebench rendering
The Cinebench benchmark is based on Maxon's Cinema 4D rendering engine. It's multithreaded and comes with a 64-bit executable. This test runs with just a single thread and then with as many threads as CPU cores (or threads, in CPUs with multiple hardware threads per core) are available.

Chalk up another one for the Athlon II X4 635 over the Core i3-530.

POV-Ray rendering
We're using the latest beta version of POV-Ray 3.7 that includes native multithreading and 64-bit support.

This seems like an appropriate place to stop and marvel at the way render times have dropped since the Pentium 4 670. The chess2.pov scene is handled in fully parallelized fashion, so our multi-core processors crunch through it pretty quickly—as little as a tenth of the time required by the Pentium 4 670.

Still, although PC hardware gets faster over time, software often gets slower. If you go look at our review from back in the day, the Pentium 4 670 rendered this same scene in 309 seconds using a single thread. Now it's taken over 600 seconds to do it with POV-Ray 3.7. Just to make sure we didn't have a configuration problem, I installed an old version of POV-Ray 3.6.1 64-bit from March, 2005 on our LGA775 test system. Lo and behold, the P4 670 completed the render in about the same time we'd measured way back when. POV-Ray's renderer has surely gained features in the interim, but it's not nearly as quick as it once was.

3ds max modeling and rendering

The first 3ds max test measures 3D modeling speed, not rendering, so it's a bit of a different animal. As you'll note, the P4 670 doesn't get so badly creamed here as elsewhere, partly because the graphics card is a speed limiter in this test.

Valve VRAD map compilation
This next test processes a map from Half-Life 2 using Valve's VRAD lighting tool. Valve uses VRAD to pre-compute lighting that goes into games like Half-Life 2.

Almost regardless of which rendering software you choose, the Athlon II X4's four real cores and their relatively strong floating-point math ability put the X4 635 ahead of the Core i3-530.