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Adobe After Effects: Intel Core i9 12900KS Performance

Written on April 5, 2022 by Matt Bach
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TL;DR: Intel Core i9 12900KS performance in After Effects

For most users looking for a consumer-level processor, Intel holds a firm lead over AMD for After Effects performance, which the new Core i9 12900KS only furthers. Compared to the i9 12900K, the new i9 12900KS is 5% faster in After Effects, which makes it a solid 23% faster than any of the AMD Ryzen CPUs.

There are some instances where the AMD Ryzen 5950X manages to edge out over the 12900K and 12900KS, but that is primarily only in extremely heavy compositions. If your work includes these types of projects, however, you would likely want to jump up to either an AMD Threadripper (Pro) or Intel Xeon W platform. Having enough RAM is critical for applications like After Effects, and since the consumer Intel Core and AMD Ryzen platforms only support up to 128GB of RAM, they often are not the right choice for that level of project.

Introduction

When Intel launched their 12th Gen Intel Core desktop processors (code-named "Alder Lake") in November of 2021, they showed a terrific performance improvement over previous generations. They also made some significant changes to how their CPUs fundamentally worked, primarily through their hybrid architecture which utilizes a mix of Performance and Efficient-cores.

Since then, the wider availability of DDR5 memory and improvements in thread scheduling have allowed them to expand their performance lead over AMD in a number of workflows. And today, Intel is launching yet another model to their 12th Intel Core lineup: the Intel Core i9 12900KS.

Intel Core i9 12900KS for Adobe After Effects

On paper, the 12900KS appears to simply be a higher binned version of the Core i9 12900K. It has the same number of cores and the same cache, but the frequency is slightly higher. The exact amount depends on which kind of core is being used as well as what type of Turbo, but at most we are looking at about a 6% increase in Turbo frequency.

To handle the higher frequency, the 12900KS has a slightly higher base power draw of 150W versus the 125W of the 12900K. Interestingly, the maximum Turbo power is the same at 241W, which means that it may not actually run much hotter under heavy load situations.

The last difference is, of course, the price. With an MSRP of $739, the 12900KS is $140 more expensive than the 12900K. This is still a bit below the $799 MSRP of the AMD Ryzen 5950X, but it certainly brings Intel and AMD closer in terms of pricing at the top of their consumer CPU lines.

CPU Model Core i9 12900K Core i9 12900KS
Total Cores/Threads 16/24 16/24
Performance Cores 8 8
Efficient Cores 8 8
Max Turbo Frequency 5.2 GHz 5.5 GHz
P-Core Max Turbo Frequency 5.1 GHz 5.2 GHz
E-Core Max Turbo Frequency 3.9 GHz 4.0 GHz
Cache 30 MB 30 MB
Processor Base Power 125 W 150 W
Maximum Turbo Power 241 W 241 W
MSRP $599 $739

In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new Intel Core i9 12900KS compared to the 12900K, as well as the AMD Ryzen 5900X and 5950X. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, you can check out the summary of all our testing results - and links to more detailed analysis - in our Intel Core i9 12900KS Review Roundup article.

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Test Setup

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

12th Gen Intel Core Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 12900KS 8+8 Core ($739)
Intel Core i9 12900K 8+8 Core ($589)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12A
Motherboard Asus ProArt Z690-Creator WiFi
RAM 2x DDR5-4800 32GB (64GB total)
AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16 Core ($799)
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12 Core ($549)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
Shared Hardware & Software
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB
Hard Drive Samsung 980 Pro 2TB
Software Windows 11 Pro 64-bit (2009)
Adobe After Effects 22.2.1
PugetBench for After Effects

*Latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware as of March 31st, 2022

In order to see how the new Intel Core i9 12900KS performs in After Effects, we will be comparing it to the Core i9 12900K, AMD Ryzen 5900X, and AMD Ryzen 5950X. For the test itself, we will be using our PugetBench for After Effects benchmark and the latest 22.2.1 version of After Effects. Our benchmark 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.

As for the test platforms, we want to point out that due to the wider availability of DDR5 RAM, all our testing is now using DDR5 on any platform that supports it (currently just Intel Z690). We try to stay within spec for memory speed whenever possible, which is why we are using 2x32GB of DDR5-4800 RAM on the Intel platform. While the move from DDR4 to DDR5 can improve performance by a decent margin, the speed of the RAM doesn't make a big difference in most content creation applications. If you want to read more about the impact of DDR5 RAM speed, we recommend checking out our Impact of DDR5 Speed on Content Creation Performance article.

Benchmark Results

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.

Intel Core i9 12900KS After Effects benchmark performance

After Effects Overall Performance Analysis

  • Intel Core i9 12900KS After Effects Benchmark Overall Score
  • Intel Core i9 12900KS After Effects Benchmark RAM Preview Score
  • Intel Core i9 12900KS After Effects Benchmark Render Score
  • Intel Core i9 12900KS After Effects Benchmark Tracking Score

CPU performance in After Effects is interesting to look at right now, since the recent 22.x version dramatically changed how After Effects works under the hood due to a new feature called "Multi-Frame Rendering" (or MFR). This new feature dramatically improves After Effects' ability to utilize multiple CPU cores, resulting in huge performance gains across the board.

Despite MFR improving the multi-threading capabilities of After Effects, most workflows still need a solid balance between CPU core count and per-core performance. And this shows in our Overall Score as the 12th Gen Intel Core processors have a decent lead over AMD's Ryzen line even though AMD has a higher total core count (at least, in terms of full performance cores).

With the new Intel Core i9 12900KS, Intel only furthers their lead over the competition. Compared to the Core i9 12900K, the 12900KS is about 5% faster overall, which puts it at about 23% faster than the slightly more expensive AMD Ryzen 5950X. 5% may not sound like much, but that is actually more than what we found when going from the Core i7 12700K to the Core i9 12900K in our Adobe After Effects: 12th Gen Intel Core vs AMD Ryzen 5000 Series article. So, while still relatively small, this is about what we expect in After Effects when going up a step in terms of CPU model.

One thing we do want to point out is that our benchmark tests a wide range of workloads in After Effects in order to show what the majority of users could expect as far as performance goes. However, with the new multi-frame rendering feature, there are certain situations where the higher core count of the AMD Ryzen CPUs can make them a better choice.

Multi-Frame Rendering Performance Analysis

Intel Core i9 12900KS After Effects Benchmark Multi-Core Score

In the latest versions of our benchmark, we added a new "Multi-Core Score" that is calculated from the tests that are best able to utilize the new multi-frame rendering (MFR) feature in After Effects. MFR has dramatically improved performance across the board, but this test in particular is able to see up to a 4.7x increase in performance on higher core count CPUs versus the old single-frame rendering mode.

This is a very complex project, however, and is the kind of thing that only the top After Effects users will ever do in the real world. In fact, you could argue that it doesn't matter for the CPUs we are testing since most people doing this type of project are going to want more RAM than the 128GB these platforms are capable of. Because of this, the "Overall Score" is likely a better indicator of what kind of performance the average user would see in their day-to-day work.

For the sake of completeness, the Core i9 12900KS did very well compared to the Core i9 12900K, coming in at around 9% faster for these tests. That isn't quite enough to catch up to the AMD Ryzen 5950X, but it closes the gap considerably between Intel and AMD for this kind of heavy-duty After Effects project.

Is the Intel Core i9 12900KS Processor Good for After Effects?

For most users looking for a consumer-level processor, Intel holds a firm lead over AMD for After Effects performance, which the new Core i9 12900KS only furthers. Compared to the i9 12900K, the new i9 12900KS is 5% faster in After Effects, which makes it a solid 23% faster than any of the AMD Ryzen CPUs.

There are some instances where the AMD Ryzen 5950X manages to edge out over the 12900K and 12900KS, but that is primarily only in extremely heavy compositions. If your work includes these types of projects, however, you would likely want to jump up to either an AMD Threadripper (Pro) or Intel Xeon W platform. Having enough RAM is critical for applications like After Effects, and since the consumer Intel Core and AMD Ryzen platforms only support up to 128GB of RAM, they often are not the right choice for that level of project.

If you are looking for a CPU in the sub-$1000 range, the Intel Core i9 12900KS is a very solid option. The MSRP of $739 is certainly higher than any other Intel consumer CPU currently on the market, but it is less than the $799 MSRP of the AMD Ryzen 5950X. And for most users, they will find that the 12900KS is significantly faster for the majority of their workflow. The real question is if it is worth investing in over the less expensive Core i9 12900K, but that is something only you can answer for yourself. A 5% performance gain may not sound like much, but if you are working in After Effects every day, it can very quickly add up.

Going into our testing, we were a bit worried about the higher base power draw of the 12900KS, but throughout our testing, we didn't notice any issues. Our standard 120mm Noctua heatsink was still more than enough to keep this CPU cool, and there was no noticeable increase in fan noise.

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 a number of other applications that can be found in our Intel Core i9 12900KS Review Roundup article), 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.

Computer System

Looking for an After Effects Workstation?

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

Configure a System!

Labs technician talking with customer

Labs Consultation Service

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

Find Out More!
Tags: AMD Ryzen 5000-series, 5900X, 5950X, Intel 12th Gen, i9 12900K, 12900KS, After Effects
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