Ryzen 1700 for rendering
I've recently upgraded my render nodes to the 8 core Ryzen 1700.
In summary, this CPU offers outstanding value for 3D artists. It outperforms Intel offerings that are more than twice the price, using VRay as the consistent benchmark. It squeezes server level performance into a meager 65 watt TDP. For those who are interested I have my nodes at a stable 3.5 GHz with 1.25 volts coursing through them - a little higher than stock, but enough to net a 10% drop in render times.
Being a home office situation, I do not want massive cases clogging up my bedroom or living room - the solution has to be subtle, visually and audibly. With that brief, I settled years ago on the Silverstone ML04B case for my render nodes. This case supports Micro ATX motherboards, which offer 64GB of RAM, vs the Mini ATX limitation of 32GB (4 DIMMs vs. 2). The beauty of these nodes is that they are so compact they can be slid under our living room couch, where they are out of sight and earshot. I use timber chopping boards as a base stands for the systems, which helps with cooling, dust protection and lets them slide easily.
An important limitation with these cases is that they can only fit processor coolers up to 70mm in height, which in turn limits the acceptable ceiling of TDP to about 95w. Until recently this meant either quad-core parts, or the Intel Xeon 2640v4, which is a deca-core CPU running at the fairly lazy clock speed of 2.4ghz. Together with its' server grade motherboard, this configuration is 3 times the price of the Ryzen 1700, and about 5-10% slower.
It was with hungry eyes then, that I explored the Ryzen architecture to find it to be the perfect upgrade for my needs, and indeed, an ideal CPU for any artists who want maximum CPU bang for buck.
If you're interested in a small form factor render node build, the full specs of my render nodes are as follows;
Silverstone ML04B case
MSI B350M PRO-VDH AM4 Micro-ATX Motherboard
AMD Ryzen 7 1700 8-Core 3.0GHz CPU Processor + Wraith Spire Cooler (Overclocked to 3.5ghz)
Kingston HyperX FURY 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 2133MHz
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5" SATA III SSD
Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 2GB Silent Low Profile Video Card
2 x Fractal Design Silent Series R3 80mm Fan
Corsair CS450M 450W 80+ Gold Semi-Modular Power Supply
Windows 7 Professional *
* As a PS to this post, Microsoft have taken the rather aggressive liberty of denying Ryzen (or 7th generation Intel) owners access to Windows Updates on Windows 7. Despite their claims there is no technical reason to deny Ryzen architecture these updates (I can't speak for other processors). With a simple hack that you can find below, you can bypass this casuistry and get the updates that you rightfully paid for. You will observe that by merely bypassing the artificial limitation imposed by Microsoft, the updates work just as well for these processors as any they do for any other. That is to say, at least in the case of Ryzen, Microsoft are blatantly lying to their customers in order to push their new product on existing users.