I thought I would post some comparative timings that might be of interest to some of you:
I had a spare (10 year old) server sitting round running Server 2008 (Vista) and equipped with 2 x Xeon X5272 processors running at 3.4GHz – this gives it a total of 4 cores.
On a Panoramic Render running at Retina resolution, the render took 2:55
I then re-ran the exact same render from my 3 year old Toshiba notebook using an i7 processor running at 2.5GHz also with 4 cores. The same render took 5:10 – significantly longer even considering the slower processor speed.
I don’t know if anyone has had a chance to try an AMD threadripper yet but I would suggest that anyone considering buying a new desktop should maybe consider getting a Xeon based system instead – you can pick up a refurbished single hex core Xeon system quite cheaply and there are even dual Xeon (4 and 6 core) units around – a dual 6 core Xeon would give you 12 cores to render with and from my experience, Panoramic render times would drop very significantly. I’d obviously be looking at getting the fastest processor speed I could afford.
The above server wasn’t really suitable for normal renders as the graphic card drivers were old and clunky but I saw similar timing improvements when switching to the photographic render mode.