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Adobe After Effects - Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance

Written on July 29, 2021 by Matt Bach
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TL;DR: Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance in After Effects

Overall, whether or not the new Xeon W-3300 series processors are good for After Effects depends heavily on what Windows power profile you use. In the default "Balanced" profile, Intel falls far behind the AMD Threadripper Pro processors - with AMD often out-performing Intel by 65% or more. Switching to the "High Performance" power profile, however, brings the Xeon processors almost exactly in line with AMD. In this case, there is minimal difference between most of the CPUs we tested (since AE is currently a lightly threaded application), and the two fastest CPUs from Intel and AMD actually ended up with the same overall score.

Most After Effects users are likely to opt for a more modest platform like the Intel 11th Gen, AMD Ryzen, or AMD Threadripper lines, but if you need massive amounts of RAM, Xeon W and Threadripper Pro are the two best options at the moment. Between the two, we have to give the edge to Threadripper Pro - at least until Intel fixes the performance issues with the default power profile.

Introduction

Intel has long been a staple in the world of workstation computing, but when AMD released their 3rd generation Threadripper line in late 2019 (and more recently Threadripper Pro), they took over the performance crown for a number of workflows. With the launch of the new Xeon W-3300 series, however, Intel is looking to retake its position as uncontested top dog in the workstation space.

The Intel Xeon W-3300 series of processors include a number of advantages over the previous W-3200 line, including an increase in max core count, 64 lanes of PCI-E Gen 4.0, 8 channel DDR4-3200 memory (up to 4TB max), and up to an 18% increase in IPC (instructions per clock). Threadripper Pro still has the advantage in terms of total core count (64 vs 38) and PCI-E Gen 4.0 lanes (128 vs 64), but these changes - plus a number of other improvements - should make the Xeon W-3300 series a significant upgrade over the previous generation.

If you want to read about what sets the Xeon W-3300 series apart in more detail, we recommend checking out our landing page for Intel Xeon W-3300 Processors.

Intel Xeon W-3300 Processors for After Effects

In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new Intel Xeon W-3300 series CPUs in After Effects compared to AMD's Threadripper Pro line. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, we also have other articles for Photoshop, DaVinci Resolve Studio, Premiere Pro, and several other applications available on our article listing page.

One very important thing to note is that we will be performing our testing with both the default "Balanced" Windows power profile, as well as the "High Performance" profile. In the course of our testing, we discovered that the Xeon W-3300 processors can sometimes give significantly lower performance on the default Windows power profile, so we thought it was important to show results for both profiles.

We will be leading with the "Balanced" profile results as that is what most systems will likely be using by default, but since changing the power profile is extremely easy, we will look at the performance with both power profiles.

If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion.

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Test Setup

Listed below are the specifications of the systems we will be using for our testing:

Intel Xeon W-3300 Test Platform
CPU Intel Xeon W-3375 38 Core ($4,499)
Intel Xeon W-3365 32 Core ($3,699)
Intel Xeon W-3345 24 Core ($2,499)
Intel Xeon W-3335 16 Core ($1,299)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12DX i4
Motherboard Supermicro X12SPA-TF
RAM 8x DDR4-3200 16GB Reg. ECC (128GB total)
AMD Threadripper PRO 3000 Test Platform
CPU AMD TR Pro 3995WX 64 Core ($5,489)
AMD TR Pro 3975WX 32 Core ($2,749)
AMD TR Pro 3955WX 16 Core ($1,149)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3
Motherboard Asus Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WIFI
RAM 8x DDR4-3200 16GB Reg. ECC (128GB total)
Shared PC Hardware/Software
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB
Hard Drive Samsung 980 Pro 2TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Ver. 2009)
Adobe After Effects (Ver. 18.4)
PugetBench for After Effects (Ver. 0.93.2)

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of July 20th, 2021

To see how well the Xeon W-3300 CPUs perform, we are primarily going to be comparing them to the AMD Threadripper Pro processors. For the test itself, we will be using our PugetBench for After Effects V0.93.2 benchmark and After Effects 18.4. This benchmark version includes the ability to upload the results to our online database, so if you want to know how your own system compares, you can download and run the benchmark yourself.

Raw Benchmark Results

While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each test, we also like to provide individual results for you to examine. If there is a specific task that is a hindrance to your workflow, examining the raw results for that task is going to be much more applicable than the scores that our benchmark calculated.

Feel free to skip to the next sections for our analysis of these results to get a wider view of how each configuration performs.

After Effects Performance Analysis (Balanced Power Profile)

As noted in the introduction of this article, we found that the Xeon W-3300 series processors often gave vastly different benchmark results depending on which Windows power profile we used. But to start off, we want to look at the performance with the default "Balanced" power profile.

With the default power profile, the new Xeon W-3300 CPUs see a hefty performance penalty compared to what we will see in the next section when we switch to the "High Performance" profile. Lower core count CPUs tend to do best in After Effects (at least, until the new Multi-Frame Rendering feature is fully released), and comparing the 16 core models, AMD has a solid 65% performance lead overall. The lead is a bit smaller for RAM Preview and Rendering (40-45%), but larger for Tracking where the Threadripper Pro 3955WX 16 core is almost 2x faster than the fastest Intel Xeon W-3300 processor (the Xeon W-3335 16 core).

To put this into perspective, the Intel Xeon W-3300 results are all at least 30% lower in terms of overall performance in After Effects than what we saw with even the modest Intel Core i5 10600K 6 core processor in our Adobe After Effects: 11th Gen Intel Core vs AMD Ryzen 5000 Series testing. Luckily for Intel, it is easy enough to change the Windows power profile, so let's also take a look at what the performance is like if you were to switch to the "High Performance" power profile:

After Effects Performance Analysis (High Performance Power Profile)

Switching to the "High Performance" profile nets a huge performance improvement for the Intel Xeon W-3300 processors. It varies a small amount depending on the model, but on average the performance jumped by a massive 60-80% compared to the "Balanced" power profile. The AMD Threadripper Pro CPUs, on the other hand, actually showed a slight drop in performance when we changed the power profile.

This means that if you are willing to adjust the Windows power profile, the Intel Xeon W-3300 CPUs recover a lot of ground, and at the higher core counts, actually jump past AMD by a small amount. Overall, however, what the "High Performance" profile does is allow most of the CPUs we tested (with the exception of the AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX 64 Core) to perform within a few percent of each other. Intel Xeon W-3300 takes a small lead for rendering, but AMD Threadripper Pro is slightly faster for tracking.

How well do the Intel Xeon W-3300 CPUs perform in After Effects?

Overall, whether or not the new Xeon W-3300 series processors are good for After Effects depends heavily on what Windows power profile you use. In the default "Balanced" profile, Intel falls far behind the AMD Threadripper Pro processors - with AMD often out-performing Intel by 65% or more. Switching to the "High Performance" power profile, however, brings the Xeon processors almost exactly in line with AMD. In this case, there is minimal difference between most of the CPUs we tested (since AE is currently a lightly threaded application), and the two fastest CPUs from Intel and AMD actually ended up with the same overall score.

Most After Effects users are likely to opt for a more modest platform like the Intel 11th Gen, AMD Ryzen, or AMD Threadripper lines, but if you need massive amounts of RAM, Xeon W and Threadripper Pro are the two best options at the moment. Between the two, we have to give the edge to Threadripper Pro - at least until Intel fixes the performance issues with the default power profile. Xeon W-3300 does fine if you switch to the "High Performance" power profile, but having to change settings like that isn't a great experience and is something that can be easy for many end users to miss. Not to mention that it will raise the idle power consumption, heat, and noise of the system.

Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for After Effects and that performance will vary widely in different applications. If your workflow includes other software packages (we have similar articles for Photoshop, DaVinci Resolve Studio, Premiere Pro, and more), you need to consider how the system will perform in those applications as well. Be sure to check our list of Hardware Articles to keep up to date on how all of these software packages - and more - perform with the latest CPUs.

Looking for an After Effects Workstation?

Puget Systems offers a range of poweful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

Configure a System!

Labs Consultation Service

Our Labs team is available to provide in-depth hardware recommendations based on your workflow.

Find Out More!
Tags: AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3000 Series, 3955WX, 3975WX, 3995WX, W-3375, W-3365, W-3345, W-3335, Intel Xeon W-3300, After Effects