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Adobe Lightroom CC 2015.8 AMD Ryzen 7 1700X & 1800X Performance

Written on March 3, 2017 by Matt Bach


Whenever a new generation of CPUs is launched, the main question everyone wants answered is how fast they are. In the case of AMD's Ryzen, there are also a lot of questions surrounding how they compare to the processors available from Intel. For quite a while now Intel has held a dominant position in nearly every computing market, but there is a lot of hype around Ryzen due to the fact that you can get eight CPU cores for half the cost of an Intel processor of the same size.

In this article, we will be looking at how the new AMD Ryzen 7 1700X and 1800X perform in Lightroom compared to Intel's top 4, 6, 8, and 10 core CPUs.

Update 3/9/2017: Added benchmark results for the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X (results in original article were placeholders)

If you want to skip over our individual benchmark results and go straight to the conclusion, feel free to jump ahead!

We also have a number of other articles looking at the performance of the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X & 1800X CPUs in other applications including:

Test Setup

To see how the new AMD Ryzen CPUs perform in Lightroom, we will be testing with the following hardware:

These test configurations include three different platforms along with six different CPU models. For Lightroom, we would typically recommend a high frequency quad core CPU (like the Core i7 7700K) since most tasks in Lightroom are not able to take advantage of a higher number of CPU cores. However, since the 1700X and 1800X have eight CPU cores, we also included in our testing a number of "High End" Core i7 CPUs from Intel with six to ten CPU cores.

The images and settings we used in our testing were:

Test Images

18MP (5184x3456)
Taken on a Canon EOS REBEL T3i

HDR settings

5x 18MP RAW (5184x3456)

Auto Align, Auto Tone, No Deghost

Panorama settings

11x 18MP RAW (5184x3456)
Merged to 187MP (48085x3898)

Spherical Projection, No Crop

Benchmark Results

Normally we would go through the results on a test by test basis, but this time the results were remarkably consistent across the various tests. Because of this, we are simply going to present the raw data and call out the few interesting cases:

Lightroom 2015.8 AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 1800X Benchmark Performance
Out of all the results, there are two two test that are worth calling out specifically. The first is exporting images where Ryzen was 10-11% faster than the Intel Core i7 7700K. However, if you are concerned about export times the "High End" Core i7 CPUs were anywhere from 40-60% faster than Ryzen so using one of those CPUs would likely be a much better choice.

The other interesting result is generating 1:1 previews. While the Core i7 7700K was 15-20% faster than the Ryzen CPUs for this task, Ryzen was actually around 5-7% faster than the "High End" Core i7 CPUs.


Lightroom CC 2015.8 AMD Ryzen 7 1700x 1800x Benchmark Performance

Since the results for exporting images was quite a bit different than the other Lightroom tasks we tested, we decided to separate our average CPU performance chart into two categories: exporting images and "everything else". From there, we normalized all our results to the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X to help give us a clear idea of how these new AMD CPUs compare to Intel's offerings.

Starting with "everything else", Ryzen compares decently against the eight and ten core CPUs coming in at just 5-10% slower. This gap widens a bit with the Core i7 6850K where Ryzen was 11-16% slower. Since the Ryzen CPUs we tested are only about $100-200 cheaper than the i7 6850K, that is a pretty large difference in performance. Even worse, if you compare Ryzen to the even more affordable Core i7 7700K, it falls further behind. Although the 7700K has half the CPU cores, it is about 25-30% faster than the Ryzen CPUs for these tasks.

Exporting images is the one area where Ryzen beats the Core i7 7700K, clocking in at about 10-11% faster. Interestingly, the difference between the two Ryzen CPUs was just a small 1% for this task so if you do decide to use Ryzen and primarily care about export times, you might as well save money and use the Ryzen 7 1700X. However, if you are concerned primarily about export times, the i7 6850K is about 40% faster at exporting images in addition to being 11-16% faster for everything else - all for only a small increase in price.

Overall, Ryzen is unfortunately not a great choice for Lightroom. If you are concerned about general Lightroom performance, the Intel Core i7 7700K is significantly faster for most tasks and only ~10% slower when exporting images. At the same time, if you do care about export times then the Intel Core i7 6850K is ~40% faster at exporting images along with being ~15% at everything else in Lightroom. Considering that Ryzen is also either slower or comparable to these two Intel CPU options in other programs like Photoshop, Intel CPUs are a pretty clear winner for photo editing and image processing workstations.

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Tags: Adobe, Lightroom, workstation

Thanks for the article and fast test of the new Ryzen CPU's.
After these test's i changed my mind from buying a R7 1700 (OC3,7) to a 7700K (OC4,5+). This should give way more bang for the bucks. And it seems like that the price of the 7700K ist dropping day in day out in the next few weeks. And let's say it: Thanks AMD for new competition in the CPU market.

Posted on 2017-03-05 15:17:17

You do know that if Adobe fixed their TOTAL SHIT multithread performance on theri software, the 7700K will perform like shit... I think it's a bad call to buy a 7700K for work like this.

Posted on 2017-03-05 18:03:16

Since nobody knows if/when adobe is going to improve their multicore performance, the 7700k is a solid option, since it's cheaper and performs better than ryzen cpu's. And even if adobe manages to significantly improve multicore performance, it's probably going to take some time from now, and if it takes something like 4 years to do so, most users who bought a 7700k today will be already considering buying a new cpu.

Posted on 2017-03-05 19:05:27

They probably won't, that's true, they are too lazy. All of their products should be using heavy multi threading already, 20 cores+. Shame really.

Posted on 2017-03-05 23:15:12

Not all applications *can* be well threaded. I don't know how Lightroom works under the hood, but when you have situations where each calculation depends on the results of the one before it then you can't really thread very well. I would think that for processing batches of images at a time they could do better, since each photo could be handled in its own thread, but for working on a single image some operations may simply not thread well. Not making excuses for Adobe specifically here, just explaining that the idea that "everything should use all the cores!" is not valid.

Posted on 2017-03-06 04:15:24
Jon Hellier

I am perplexed that 6850k and 6900k were 40-50% faster at exporting images than the 1700X given that exporting seems to benefit from more cores. Other reviews show the Ryzen CPUs being extremely good for encoding video (Cinebench). Could Ryzen's dual channel memory (Intel broadwell-e is quad channel) be the reason for its bad export performance?

Posted on 2017-03-05 23:47:13

Its really hard to know what makes the difference considering how different AMD's CPU architecture is from Intel's. It could be dual vs quad channel RAM (although if that was it I would expect even worse performance from the i7 7700K) or it could be Intel-specific software optimization (but then I would expect better 7700K performance). Or maybe it is the difference between the more typical L3 cache on AMD and "Smart Cache" on Intel or even the maturity of Hyperthreading on Intel.

Maybe one of AMD's engineers could figure out what makes the difference, but in the end what really matters is actual real-world performance. It is definitely an interesting question that I would love to know the answer to, though.

Posted on 2017-03-06 03:59:19
Papa Lazarou's Party Planner

By all accounts, it does seem that AMD might have been better off delaying the launch by a month. I gather there's no motherboards that will actually boot with the faster memory speeds supported so potentially leaving some percentage points on the boards. Plus the windows thread scheduler seems to be an issue at the moment; a lot of the gamer orientated reviews seem to be suggesting that for now it's better to disable multithreading. Figures as high as a 10% improvement to frame-rates are being suggested. If you're bored, it'd be interesting to see if that translates to Lightroom. Phoronix's Darktable-on-Linux benchmarks ought not to be a too dissimilar CPU challenge, and there the AMD chips come out looking rather better.

I'm surprised at just how poor the benefit of extra cores is to some of the tests, such as the DNG conversion or preview generation. Unless you're I/O or memory bandwidth limited, it seems to me that ought to be a embarrassingly parallel . And yet the gains are small or even a deficit. It's be interesting to see what the results would be if you were to script up parallel instances of Adobe's DNG converter to do the same 100 conversions.

Posted on 2017-03-06 21:54:39
Jon Hellier

If Ryzen is out of the question it now comes down to overclocked 7700k vs overclocked 6800k? Seems like the 6800k is the better choice if exporting a lot (I use Canon DPP to export RAW to 8 bit TIFF which currently takes 10 seconds per image on my i5-3570k system, and I do frequent single image exports).

Which test would be show exporting performance of Canon DPP (from RAW to 8 bit TIFF)? Would it be closely aligned with "RAW to DNG" or "RAW to JPG" ?

Posted on 2017-03-06 00:05:58

For exporting, I would look at the "Export 100 images" which was RAW to JPG. We've done some testing exporting to different formats (TIFF included) and we found that while the total time of course changed, the relative performance between different CPUs doesn't change a whole lot which is why we usually only test exporting to JPG.

As for the 6800K vs 7770K, it is hard to say for certain if you plan to overclock. However, if we assume that you would be able to overclock about the same amount for each CPU you could just take our results at face value since you are really talking about relative performance rather than raw number of seconds. I would suggest looking over out "How much faster is a modern workstation for Lightoom" article as well: https://www.pugetsystems.co... . Since our testing is the same between that article and this one, you could use the i7 3570K system in that article as a baseline to gauge relative performance. Basically, we saw a total export time of 162 seconds with the 3570K, 107.6 with the 7700K and 68.8 with the 6850K. Again assuming you can overclock all the CPUs roughly the same amount, based on the 10 second per image you are seeing with the 3570K you should see about 6.6 seconds with a 7700K and 4.25 seconds with the 6850K.

So I guess the decision you have to make is if the difference between 6.6 seconds with the 7700K and 4.25 seconds with the 6850K when you export a single image is worth giving up overall faster performance (and responsiveness) for everything else in Lightroom.

Posted on 2017-03-06 04:11:57
Jon Hellier

Thanks Matt. This is very useful. Another consideration is that when I eventually upgrade my camera to a higher megapixel count the exporting time will increase noticeably so a 2 second difference now could mean 4+ seconds in the future. But I am still thinking the faster IPC of the 7700k will make the computer feel snappier - resulting in time savings for everything other than the exporting phase.

Posted on 2017-03-07 02:31:43

You are right that the 7700k should feel overall snappier and is better for photo editing work in general. It will be very subtle in most cases, but if I was in your shoes I would personally go with the 7700k.

Posted on 2017-03-07 02:36:58
A Photographer

Everyone, AMD Ryzen is BRAND NEW architecture never seen before in a CPU. It's so fresh that it hasn't been fully optimized yet. Adobe & AMD work closely so we'll likely see improved performance in coming weeks.

Posted on 2017-03-06 00:31:38
Mike van Mierlo

9 months later I am still scratching my head at this poor performance on a ryzen 1700x with an rx580. its really bad

Posted on 2017-12-05 15:24:20
A Photographer

Did you update to the new Lightroom Classic?
Also, did you install Windows 10 Fall Creators Update?
Did you update your AMD Ryzen Chipset driver and Radeon driver (http://support.amd.com/en-u...

I'm getting great performance with the Lightroom Classic and my custom Windows 10 Pro workstation with AMD Ryzen 7 1800x and Radeon Pro WX 7100 GPU. Since the installation of the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has been pushing AMDx64-specific updates which seem to be improving stability & performance as well.

Posted on 2017-12-05 15:38:08

Do you recommend WX 7100 or Quadro P4000 for Lightroom/Photoshop/Premiere suite?

Posted on 2018-01-11 18:00:18
A Photographer

John, I haven't personally used P4000, but I came from the K4000 and migrated over to AMD for the WX 7100 and Ryzen 7 1800x. WX 7100 is obviously much faster than the K4000, but P4000 is going to be a lot closer to WX 7100 on paper. It really depends on if your work is going to be more CUDA dominant or OpenCL. If it's more OpenCL-heavy, I've found this generally is better supported & faster with AMD. CUDA is great, but still has limited app support.

If I were to guess based on pure specs, renders in Premiere might be a few seconds faster with the newer P4000, but in Photoshop, performance will be virtually the same. Some filters will be faster with the more affordable WX 7100 & some may work better with the P4000. After Effects will be virtually the same.

Lightroom still makes very little use of GPUs and is more dependent on your CPU and the type of harddrive you're running it on.

Performance per dollar, I feel WX 7100 offers a much better value - especially after the latest AMD Radeon Pro Adrenalin Edition driver which radically improved performance across the board!

Hope that helps!

Posted on 2018-01-11 18:39:06

Thank you so much for the faster response, what you said is exactly what I have been finding online and it is hard to find review on workstation cards in relationship to Adobe suites. People talk gaming or solidworks/maya which is beyond my needs.

All I need is 10-bit support to run my 10-bit monitors. Its true about GPU use on PS/LR that Adobe doesn't tap hope that changes.

You saved me $250 Thank you so much.

Posted on 2018-01-11 18:43:42
A Photographer

No problem at all! Be sure to install the new AMD Radeon Pro Adrenalin Edition Driver with it! I recommend the Adrenalin Edition (Non-Enterprise version).

Posted on 2018-01-11 18:49:22

As this was tested on Windows 10, would it be possible to test on Windows 7, or possibly when MS fix the scheduling bug which is hitting Ryzen performacne?

Posted on 2017-03-09 11:10:48

We aren't planning on testing with Windows 7 at this point since Windows 7 no longer has mainstream support from Microsoft and the existing supply has nearly dried up to the point that we soon won't be able to sell it on our workstations at all. Our current plan is to re-do our Ryzen testing sometime in May (probably) to give AMD time to get all their problems worked out with Microsoft and everyone else. That should be plenty of time for them to get everything fixed.

Posted on 2017-03-09 18:46:07

Perfect. Many thanks for that.

Posted on 2017-03-10 21:56:57
Tassos Tzezairlidis

Hi Matt, after many bios and drivers updates, Ryzen performance has increased overall. Would you be able to rerun the tests ?

Posted on 2017-06-18 16:43:08

Hey Tassos, sorry for taking a while to reply, but I've been working on a new article and wanted to wait until it was up. We have updated results looking at a range of CPUs in Lightroom including the Ryzen CPUs using the latest BIOS, drivers, and version of Lightroom: https://www.pugetsystems.co... .

Overall, Ryzen still isn't a good match for Lightroom even with the performance improvements. I don't know why exactly, but for some reason Lightroom seems to hate Ryzen. In the other applications we have tested (Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and After Effects) Ryzen does OK, but in Lightroom it is significantly slower than even the lower priced Intel CPUs.

Posted on 2017-07-06 18:35:25
Tech Admin

AMD and Microsoft report there are no scheduler issues with Ryzen. While Win7 boots just fine on Ryzen, MSFT announced you will not get Windows Updates if you do so. (seems petty to me) There are some memory bandwidth issues, but as noted that is more related to the DDR being used. Look for some near term BIOS updates from planar makers. Some game software was optimized for Intel products and until they get their hands on AMD, you see a loss of frames on some games. Not the end of the world, just requires some patience. Some applications are struggling with CCX performance where cache data has to be copied to support a context switch, again, not really a Ryzen issue per se, more about the some of the compile switches that were used when the program was written. AMD was more focused on IPC gain in Ryzen, and under developed in other areas which tend to be underutilized (like AVX). It may be a year or two before Ryzen II addresses all of its limitations, until then, we have the 32 core Naples to look forward too. Happy Compute!

Posted on 2017-03-20 21:32:03

I have issue with the testing method. All of the CPUs besides ryzen and 7700k are using 32gb of ram. Would this not explain, in part, the performance improvements? This would also increase the cost difference between Ryzen and an Intel processor with more than four cores in these particular systems.

Posted on 2017-03-21 18:27:27

Sorry, 128gb

Posted on 2017-03-21 18:28:53

None of our Lightroom testing should need more than ~20GB of RAM so the amount of memory in each system shouldn't cause any performance difference. Not enough RAM causes performance problem, but having extra doesn't really improve performance at all. It is kind of like how much storage you have available on an SSD - if you don't have enough that is a problem, but if you have a ton of empty space it doesn't make things go faster. In fact, if anything the 128GB of RAM will cause a slight performance decrease since it is ECC RAM which causes a very tiny decrease in performance.

Since Reg. ECC RAM is what we use in our X99 workstations that is what we wanted to test with. It's true we didn't have to have 128GB of RAM (we could have used 64GB) but we are finding more and more that our customers are starting to go above 64GB if they can. Not necessarily for Lightroom, but for Lightroom we also wouldn't recommend an X99 system in the first place - a Z270 system with a 7700K is going to be better overall.

Posted on 2017-03-21 18:43:09
Steven Kornreich

In regards to LightRoom performance does the GPU have any real impact on performance? From my understanding it doesn't can anyone comment on this?

Posted on 2017-03-26 14:45:29

It is supposed to help for things in the develop module, but from what I've heard it is a bit lackluster at the moment. Lots of reports that turning off GPU acceleration actually improves performance. I did hear from somewhere that the higher resolution your photos are, the more likely that GPU acceleration will help so that might be the source of the "it is bad" vs "it is awesome" opinions.

Posted on 2017-03-27 17:32:50
Brian J.

So I saw a video on YT (https://www.youtube.com/wat... showing the how different memory speeds effect Ryzen performance. Since this is a completely new platform that is still getting uefi/bios updates specifically addressing memory, would it be best to take out some of the memory? Instead of 64GBs @ 2400MHz maybe try 16 or 32GBs @ 3200 (or best speed possible). I have a Ryzen system and the same Prime X370 Pro board and when 4 Dimms are used memory speed is capped so why not try 2 Dimms?

Posted on 2017-03-28 16:34:57

RAM speed is something we get asked about semi-regularly, but to be honest we don't have any testing planned to cover it at the moment. The reason is that we have found higher frequency RAM to be much more susceptible to failure so even if higher frequency RAM is faster, we still probably wouldn't offer it. Right now, DDR4-2400 appears to be rock solid and even DDR4-2666 shouldn't be a problem, but going beyond that we feel is a bit of a risk. Of course, if you are building your own system it might not be a big deal since you are probably willing to do some memory diagnostics if you ever have a problem but for us, that isn't really something our typical customer wants to do in the middle of their workday.

As for more RAM vs faster RAM, i would say the most important thing is that you simply have enough. If Lightroom wants to use 18GB, but you only have 16GB that is going to be a big performance hit - much more of a hit than having faster RAM could ever cover. However, if LR needs 18GB and you are choosing between 32GB of higher frequency RAM vs 64GB of safer RAM then it is really just a call between more performance but higher risk of failure versus a bit lower performance but more reliable and safer long-term (less need for upgrades). I think that is really a call that each person has to make for themselves, but I personally would go with the higher capacity.

Posted on 2017-03-28 17:46:43
Brian J.

Thanks for the rapid and detailed response. Really glad to see you guys did this post too. I do hope that there is an overall followup in about 4-6 months after MS, Adobe, and mobo makers issue some updates. That is if there are reports of significant changes to reported performance...But at the very lease there is a baseline established now. I'll be sharing this among the community.

Posted on 2017-03-29 14:54:12
Pradhyumna Gupta

I did buy the AMD ryzen as the i7 7700k is much more expensive in India (at the time of writing this). I mainly intend to use the system for photo editing. What graphics card do you guys suggest? I dont have a ton of cash left for this and as I've been reading PS/LR don't rely much on the GPU. Would a mid-range GPU of 2gb be enough or would i need something much more powerful?

Posted on 2017-04-10 17:09:38

We generally recommend a GTX 1060 as a starting point on our systems, but if you are in a budget crunch something a bit lower should be fine. I would try to stick to a GTX 1050 or above if you can though.

Posted on 2017-04-10 18:33:52

Monopolies like Adobe do not really spend time on optimization. They don't have to. Some of their apps (Acrobat anyone?) are limited to 1 thread in critical functions. Even the 4 and 6 core performance advantage exists because it was easy to implement. 100cores is probably as fast as 8 cores. On a 12core system you have room for having other apps rendering in the background. That's the main benefit.

Posted on 2017-04-14 21:00:45

Adobe Lightroom, now with hardware-independent unusability.

Posted on 2017-04-15 01:45:01

Hmm, too bad there are no tests for changing the controls (white balance, noise reduction, etc) and for working with brushes - which is what I'm mostly concerned about. I wonder how much those results translate.

Posted on 2017-04-24 19:42:49

We've tried to figure out a good method to benchmark exactly that, but couldn't figure out a good way. Especially with brushes, if you move the brush too slow you won't see any difference between hardware. But if you move it too fast, LR lags out and the brush starts skipping around. To make it even more difficult, depending on the hardware the point where it starts skipping around changes. That in itself might be something we could benchmark (maybe), but LR gives almost no feedback for when things like that happen. So we basically would have to do a pixel checksum across a large area to see if things changed in the exact manner we expect. Unfortunately, in the trials I've done this is really inconsistent so it isn't really a reliable way to compare hardware.

I hear you that doing more testing in the development module would be great. Every time I do some LR testing I give another few techniques a try - hopefully one of these LR updates will introduce something that I can use to improve our testing even further.

Posted on 2017-05-01 17:25:03

Thanks for your response and explanation.

Hmm, that's a shame. I feel like the image scrolling might relate the most. But I also feels like the time I spend working in LR makes it gradually more sluggish, even when I still have many GB's of RAM free - so if that's actually the case, then testing that might be even more complicated.

But I appreciate your effort and still wish you best of luck in finding those new testing methods!

Posted on 2017-05-02 11:13:18

I'm curious if disabling SMT and/or using the High Performance (or Ryzen Balanced) power profiles would change the results? Especially the export benchmarks?

Posted on 2017-05-12 23:12:27

High performance mode is actually what we default to during benchmarks, but the difference between it and balanced shouldn't be much as long as the system isn't idle for too long.

SMT is something we tested across a bunch of software packages a few years ago and at the time we didn't see any significant differences. A few percent here or there but it was inconsistent whether on or off was better. Honestly, I would just leave it alone and not worry about it - you probably wouldn't notice a difference unless you got out a stopwatch and started timing things.

Posted on 2017-05-13 00:57:42

There was a new patch for Ryzen from Adobe in Premiere Pro that boosted the performance. Lightroom is maybe next. https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Posted on 2017-05-13 11:13:45
Daniel Cabral

What resolution were the previews made? What was the resolution of the monitor? I do know that 6-8 cores reveal better performance at higher resolutions. And yeah Lightroom need to improve their multi core performance. I have a lot of issues with my graphics hardware and laptop in general with Lightroom.

Posted on 2017-05-30 22:06:11

1:1 previews are full resolution, so 5184x3456 in our case. Smart previews are always 2560px on the longest side I believe, and ours ended up with a final resolution of 2560x1707.

Posted on 2017-05-31 17:30:10

Has there been any updates to LR CC that help Ryzen performance since this article was published?

Posted on 2017-08-10 16:38:17

There were some that we covered in our later article: https://www.pugetsystems.co... . Ryzen has seen about a 7% increase in performance since this article was published, but it looks like this is from general optimizations than anything AMD specific since Intel also saw performance gains. Especially with the launch of Skylake-X (which is also covered in the article I linked) Ryzen simply isn't a good choice for Lightroom. Intel is simply able to achieve much higher performance for similar or much lower cost.

Posted on 2017-08-10 21:57:35
Rodney Kodakmoment Turner

Great article. I was wondering will you guys be doing a follow up test with the new Lightroom Classic? I would like to see if the performance gains from both Intel and AMD.

Posted on 2017-10-22 04:38:29