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TL;DR: 11th Gen Intel Core vs AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Processors for After Effects
Depending on your budget, the new 11th Gen Intel Core processors are either slightly faster or slightly slower than the AMD Ryzen CPUs depending on the type of workload. At the i5/i7 level, the Core i5 11600K and Core i7 11700K are a bit faster than the Ryzen 5600X and 5800X for RAM Preview and Rendering but fall behind quite a bit for Tracking tasks. The Core i9 11900K, on the other hand, performs about the same as the Core i7 11700K, making it a relatively poor value compared to either the 11700K or a similarly priced AMD Ryzen processor.
Overall, we would recommend going with the Intel 11th Gen CPUs if you don't do a lot of tracking, or the AMD Ryzen 5000 series if you do. Intel's advantage for RAM Preview and Rendering isn't that large, however, so if you are looking for the most balanced option, AMD is likely the best option at the moment.
Earlier this month, Intel announced their new 11th Gen Intel Core desktop processors (code-named "Rocket Lake"). These new processors are marketed as having substantially better per-core performance compared to their previous 10th Gen Core models, but the top-end model (the Core i9 11900K) has two fewer cores than the previous generation which may hamper performance in some applications.
In After Effects, we expect these new CPUs to do very well since Intel is boasting up to a 19% IPC (Instructions Per Clock) performance improvement over the previous generation which should considerably improve performance in these kinds of lightly threaded applications. The maximum number of cores has been reduced from 10 to 8 on the top-end Core i9 11900K, but since After Effects typically doesn't leverage very many CPU cores, that shouldn't be a major factor in this case. However, there is a new feature called multi-frame rendering that is currently in beta that should make core count significantly more important, in which case the loss of two cores could hurt the Core i9 11900K quite a bit.
If you want to read about what sets these CPUs apart in more detail, we recommend checking out our landing page for the 11th Gen Intel Core Processors.
In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new Intel Core i9 11900K, i7 11700K, and i5 11600K in After Effects compared to a range of CPUs including the Intel 10th Gen and AMD Ryzen 5000 Series processors. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, we also have other articles for Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, DaVinci Resolve, and several other applications available on our article listing page.
If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion.
Listed below are the specifications of the systems we will be using for our testing:
|11th Gen Intel Core Test Platform|
|CPU||Intel Core i9 11900K ($513)
Intel Core i7 11700K ($399)
Intel Core i5 11600K ($262)
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte Z490 Vision D|
|RAM||4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)|
|AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Test Platform|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 5950X ($799)
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X ($549)
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X ($449)
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X ($299)
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA|
|RAM||4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)|
*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of March 15, 2021
In order to see how the new 11th Gen Intel Core processors perform in After Effects, we will be comparing them not only to the previous 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs but also to AMD's Ryzen 5000 series. For the test itself, we will be using our PugetBench for After Effects V0.93.2 benchmark and After Effects 18.0. 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.
In addition to the current release version of After Effects, we also want to take a bit of a look at the current After Effects beta (18.1) since Adobe is starting to add support for a new feature called Multi-Frame Rendering (MFR). It is not available for all effects quite yet and only supports exporting at the moment, but it could make a big difference in how these CPUs perform. If you want more information on this upcoming feature, we recommend checking out our How Fast is the new Multi-Frame Rendering in After Effects 18.1 BETA? article.
As for the setup of our testing, there is a number of things we want to point out:
First, you will note is that we are using a Z490 motherboard for both the 10th and 11th Gen Intel CPUs. There is a newer Z590 chipset that is launching alongside the 11th Gen CPUs, but we, unfortunately, did not have access to a board early enough to make it into this article. We don't expect the chipset to make much of a performance difference, but we do plan on doing a set of Z490 vs Z590 tests in the near future to make sure our assumptions are correct.
Second, the power limit settings that the motherboard and CPU are using to determine what frequency to run the CPU at under load is extremely muddy with the 11th Gen CPUs. There is the Intel "stock" settings, but also what are essentially overclocked settings that allow the CPU to maintain higher turbo limits for longer periods of time in exchange for dramatically increased CPU power draw and temperatures. The idea is that these power limits allow systems that have sufficient cooling to run the CPU at faster speeds, but we still have a lot of work to do to determine exactly what power limits we feel are safe for our workstations. For now, we opted to stick with the default on the Gigabyte Z490 board we are using, which is to run with the higher power limits. This will give Intel a bit of a boost in terms of performance, however, which is worth keeping in mind when examining the results.
On the flip side, some of the 11th Gen CPUs also support a new technology called "Intel Thermal Velocity Boost" which allows the CPUs to run at a slightly higher clock speed than Turbo Boost 2.0 or Turbo Boost 3.0 (and yes, those are independent) based on the CPU temperature and power draw. This feature is still in beta, however, so we did not opt to use it in this round of testing. Just like Z590, we will be doing follow-up testing in the future to see if it will have any measurable impact on performance.
While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each test, we also like to provide the 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 in After Effects.
After Effects Performance Analysis
Intel has a good amount of ground to make up versus the AMD Ryzen CPUs, but with the IPC improvements Intel has made, and the fact that After Effects is currently only very lightly threaded, we expect to see some decent performance gains over the previous 10th Gen processors. Unfortunately, while the new processors are significantly faster than the previous generation, it isn't quite enough to unseat Ryzen as the king of After Effects performance.
Starting at the bottom of the SKU stack, the Intel Core i5 11600K is a bit less expensive than the AMD Ryzen 5600X and ended up being about 6% slower overall in After Effects. One thing to note is that most of this performance difference was actually from our tracking tests. For RAM Preview and Rendering, the 11600K was actually slightly faster than the 5600X. So, if you do a lot of tracking, the 5600X is likely worth the slightly higher cost, but if you don't, then the 11600K has a slight edge.
Going a step up to the Core i7 11700K, Intel falls behind AMD a little bit more. Here, the Ryzen 5800X is about 9% faster overall, in exchange for a 12% higher price tag over the 11700K. Again, however, AMD's advantage is almost entirely from our tracking tests. For RAM Preview and Rendering, the 11700K and 5800X performed almost exactly the same. Just like with the Core i5 11600K, we would recommend using AMD if you do a decent amount of tracking, or Intel if you do not.
Last up is the Core i9 11900K, which in our After Effects benchmark, ended up being only a few percent faster than the Core i7 11700K. Since it didn't score significantly higher than the 11700K, that also means that it doesn't fare all that well against the Ryzen 5800X or 5900X. One thing we will point out, however, is that there is still the "Intel Thermal Velocity Boost" feature for the 11900K that we did not include in this testing since it was still in beta. We don't expect it to make a huge difference, but it may be just enough to put the 11900K in the running against AMD.
Overall, this means that at the i5 and i7 level, Intel and AMD are about on par as far as value goes. The 11th Gen Intel CPUs are generally a bit better for RAM Preview and Rendering, but the AMD Ryzen CPUs are significantly faster for tracking. One thing that is interesting to look at is the gen-over-gen performance, where you can clearly see just how much ground Intel has made up with these new 11th Gen processors:
Versus the previous 10th Gen Intel Core processors, the i5 level by far saw the largest performance increase in After Effects with a massive 29% increase in performance. Intel has been advertising up to a 19% IPC improvement with the 11th Gen CPUs, which means that this huge increase is not only due to the IPC improvement, but other "behind the scenes" changes as well.
The Core i7 11700K is also significantly faster than the previous generation, coming in at about 13% faster than the Core i7 10700K. At the top end, the Core i9 11900K was a less impressive 6% faster than the Core i9 10900K in After Effects.
Early Look: How Might Multi-Frame Rendering Change Things?
Multi-Frame Rendering is a new feature that was just recently released in the beta build of After Effects but could have a huge impact on what CPU is best for After Effects. Please note that this feature is still in beta and still has a ton of development work planned. Not only can it only be used for exporting at the moment (not for live playback), but not all of the native effects support MFR quite yet. Adobe is keeping a list of what effects are supported in their online effects list, but even within our own benchmark, there are several compositions that flat out don't work well with MFR in its current state.
However, we are curious to see what our benchmark might show as far as relative CPU performance, so we decided to run the export (render) portion of the benchmark, and create a modified render score that only uses the compositions that we found in our
How Fast is the new Multi-Frame Rendering in After Effects 18.1 BETA? article to show a benefit with MFR enabled:
Once again, multi-frame rendering is still in beta and performance will change in the coming weeks and months. So, take these results worth a grain of salt because they will be different once MFR makes it to the release version of After Effects.
Probably the most interesting result from our testing is that the higher core count CPUs were not at the top of the chart – even relative to the other processors of the same family. Some of that is probably due to the fact that not all the effects our benchmark use support MFR, however, so that is extremely likely to change.
Still, even if we keep the Intel and AMD CPUs at the same core count, it looks like the AMD Ryzen 5000 series and the 11th Gen Intel Core processors are essentially on par with each other. With the exception of the i9 11900K, that is overall a win for Intel since they are typically a bit cheaper on a core-to-core basis.
It will be very interesting to see how this changes as multi-frame rendering is developed and eventually leaves beta. In addition, we do plan on making a few changes to our benchmark to make sure we have at least one test composition that is well optimized to take advantage of this feature in order to accurately show what kind of benefits higher core count CPUs may be able to give you depending on how your project is set up.
Are the 11th Gen Intel Core Processors Good for After Effects?
Depending on the task, the new 11th Gen Intel Core processors are either slightly faster or slightly slower than the AMD Ryzen CPUs. At the i5/i7 level, the Core i5 11600K and Core i7 11700K are a bit faster than the Ryzen 5600X and 5800X for RAM Preview and Rendering but fall behind by a solid ~20% for Tracking. The Core i9 11900K, on the other hand, performs about the same as the Core i7 11700K, making it a relatively poor value compared to either the 11700K or a similarly priced AMD Ryzen processor.
Overall, we would recommend going with the Intel 11th Gen CPUs if you don't do a lot of tracking, or the AMD Ryzen 5000 series if you do. Intel's advantage for RAM Preview and Rendering isn't that large, however, so if you are looking for the most balanced option, AMD is likely still the best option at the moment.
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 Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, and DaVinci Resolve), 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.